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Is your rent really supposed to be that high?

 

Leasing is a key financial decision, so it is fair to assume that tenants analyze the viability of the decision to enter into a lease, thoroughly. However, once the lease is signed and the rented premises are occupied and operational, many tenants are taken by surprise as they find their rental costs ending up being significantly more than what was expected. This blog post discusses the possible reasons for such discrepancies. 

One of the first things to check is if your base rent calculations are accurate. If there are errors in your base rent calculations, they can get embedded in your rent roll, pushing your rent higher year-after-year, inaccurately. Some areas to check in this regard are-

Square footage calculations

 Leased space or square footage plays an important role because it forms the base for most of the charges levied upon the tenant. Even a few square feet here and there can make a huge difference when base rent, CAM charges, and other operating expenses are calculated on a per-square-foot basis. Learn more in this blog post. 

CPI calculations

If your rent rises are linked to the CPI, then you need to ensure the CPI calculations made for your lease are accurate. You need to be aware of the CPI adjustments and apply them correctly to your rent roll. 

Rent commencement date, pro-rata rent, and term calculations

Another area to scrutinize is the rent commencement date. A lot of hinges upon your rent commencement date, including calculations related to your lease tenure. If your rent commencement dates are incorrect, or the terms and pro-rated rent are calculated wrong, you may be paying more than what you actually owe. 

You can avoid unpleasant surprises related to your rent amounts by deploying the services of an experienced lease administration firm that helps you stay on top of your lease portfolio management. Regular lease audits and lease administration services go a long way in identifying errors in your rent roll and helping you save significantly on rent.  

RE BackOffice is a strategic partner providing scalable, affordable and accurate lease abstraction, comprehensive lease administration and accounting services to optimize your lease portfolio and related processes. Please contact us today to learn more. 

Why entrust your lease audits to experts?

 

With organizations looking to cut additional costs and curtail seemingly unwanted operating expenses, lease audit is gaining a lot of popularity as a tool that helps them accomplish this goal from the real estate perspective. In our blog this week we discuss why you should entrust the task of auditing your lease expenses to experts.

Lease audits involve a thorough perusal of the invoices raised by your Landlord in light of your lease agreement to determine if you actually owe those charges and if yes, then to ensure the amount you are being invoiced for is accurate. You will be essentially challenging your Landlord based on the information from the lease audit. Hence it is important that your lease audit is thorough and accurate. Any claims made in the lease audit also needs to be backed up with strong evidence supporting the claim. Without that, even legitimate claims may not be honored by your Landlord. 

Secondly, when you reach out to your Landlord with the findings of your lease audit, you need to be tactful and also be able to negotiate effectively. The Landlord also needs to be able to trust your lease audit firm in the sense that they will keep any information regarding a settlement confidential. Landlords may hesitate to agree with lease audit findings if they fear that the audit firm may then reach out to other tenants of the Landlord in the premises offering a lease audit service. Outsourcing your lease audits to a reputed and trusted vendor who offers lease audit services will go a long way in ensuring your lease audits and consequent negotiations happen smoothly. 

A poorly done lease audit can cost you your relationship with your Landlord. A trusted lease audit firm can help maintain your relationship with your Landlord better. Using the services of a professional lease auditor enhances your chances of getting your claims honored.

RE BackOffice is a strategic partner providing scalable, affordable and accurate lease abstraction, end-to-end lease administration, lease audit and accounting services to optimize your lease portfolio and related processes. Please contact us today to learn more. 

How well do you know your rent roll?

 

Rent rolls are one of the most important aspects of your lease. It wouldn’t be incorrect to say the rent roll is a key financial data point of your lease and forms the crux of your lease contract. But, how well do you know your rent roll? Understanding your rent structure clearly is very important as it can help you negotiate renewals better, save significant amount of money by identifying inaccuracies in rent calculations and also help you drive better real estate-related business decisions. Our blog this week discusses the key aspects of the rent roll that you should be aware of. 

What is your rent structure?

All tenants know their rent structures, no doubt, but what about the details? You should be aware of escalation clauses in your lease. What is your rent escalation tied to? Is it a direct, simple escalation by a predetermined amount or percentage, is it pegged to an economic indicator like the CPI, or is it based on your revenue, such as a percentage of your sales (most common in retail leases)? Understanding the rent escalation clause helps you analyze the feasibility of your lease.

What constitutes your Common Area Maintenance (CAM) charges?

If your lease is a net lease, then CAM charges will definitely be a core component of your rent roll. The thing about CAM charges is that it includes multiple headers and complicated calculations, which leave room for errors and even interpretation. You need to be aware of the various components of your CAM charges and how they are computed for you as per your lease. For example, what happens if you moved into a fairly empty building that’s only gradually filling up? How is the CAM divided among the existing tenants including you, until the time there’s 100% occupancy? What will be the repercussions on your CAM charges as new tenants are signed up.

When it comes to rent-roll calculations, the onus is always on the tenant to identify errors, if any, and report them to the landlord. So, it is essential that as a tenant, you pay keen attention to the core rent roll components such as rent escalation calculations and CAM charges allocation. Overlooking any errors in these calculations will cause them to become a part of the base calculations for the next lease year and as a tenant, this can cost you a lot. Plus, most leases place a timeframe within which such discrepancies should be reported to the landlord. Failing to do so on time may be construed as acceptance by the tenant to make the payments. 

You can avoid such scenarios by having clear, concise and accurate abstracts of your leases that simplify complex lease terms for you without diluting their essence. Solid lease abstracts can help you understand your rent roll and related components clearly. Two other very important elements in this regard are regular lease audits and a thorough lease administration process that will help you identify the gaps and act at the right time. 

RE BackOffice is a strategic partner providing scalable, affordable and accurate lease abstraction, end-to-end lease administration, lease audit and accounting services to optimize your lease portfolio and related processes. Please contact us today to learn more.

Making your lease administration process more cost-efficient, scalable and flexible

Staying on top of your lease portfolio management should always be a priority. If your lease portfolio is not up-to-date, it will be more difficult for you to catch up with all the data later. You will be staring at a backlog of leases to manage, a lot of lease audits to be completed and there will also be delays in your recovery of dues. Staying on top of your lease portfolio will certainly be beneficial in the long run and can give you a considerable competitive advantage. But, what if your current lease administration team is already overwhelmed? Is adding a new lease administration resource advisable?

Well, it depends. If you are looking to grow your lease administration function by adding in-house resources you need to be prepared for the following:

Finding the right resource and ensuring they are ready to hit the floor will take some time

The hiring process will take time. Lease administration is a critical business function and you want to make sure the person you hire is qualified and capable enough to handle your lease administration process effectively. Even if you do find the right person there’s always a company/process-specific learning curve that has to be conquered before they are ‘floor-ready’. 

Hiring in-house lease administrators can increase your HR expenses significantly

Hiring full-time lease portfolio managers or lease administrators can add to your HR expenses significantly. Adding employees means incurring additional costs related to training, medical, 401(k), and other employee costs.  

Consider outsourcing your lease administration function to enjoy more cost-efficiency, scalability and flexibility with respect to your lease administration process

You can overcome these challenges by outsourcing your lease portfolio management to a trusted lease administration services provider that has a proven track record. Outsourcing lease administration services help you become more efficient by eliminating training and HR related expenses and save on lease agreement interpretation and translation costs.  It also gives you the flexibility to scale up or down as you wish. When you hire a lease administrator in-house to manage your lease portfolio, you are essentially stuck with them, irrespective of your lease portfolio management needs. You have to continue paying them whether you have enough work for them, or not. But, with outsourced lease administration services, you have full control and flexibility to navigate your lease administration needs. 

Outsourcing lease administration function makes sure that you don’t miss critical timelines due to resource shortages and get timely access to important lease data that helps drive key strategic decisions–even if you are short on resources.

RE BackOffice is a strategic partner providing scalable, affordable and accurate lease abstraction, end-to-end lease administration and accounting services to optimize your lease portfolio and related processes. Please contact us today to learn more.

Mixed Lease Abstraction Model: The best of both worlds

 

Lease abstraction is a critical function of the lease portfolio management process. It is the foundation upon which the entire lease portfolio management process rests. Accurate, succinct and informative lease abstracts help you make the right financial decisions regarding your real estate investments. 

Over the years, the lease abstraction function has evolved to match the  advancements in the commercial real estate portfolio management process. One huge leap in this regard has been the migration to the Cloud. The jump from creating and storing lease abstracts in spreadsheet format on local drives and servers to Cloud-based lease abstraction platforms that offer any-time access to important lease data along with meaningful reports that can be generated in a few minutes, has been so far, the biggest and most-widely adopted change in the lease abstraction industry. 

Another trend in the last few years is the automation of lease abstraction. Artificial intelligence (AI) based lease abstraction is growing in popularity. Are you considering AI-based lease abstraction too? Then here are a few pros and cons that you should know of. 

It may be faster

As AI based lease abstraction deploys technology to extract and summarize key data from the lease, the turnaround time for the lease abstracts may be lesser compared to those abstracted manually.

It may be more cost-effective

AI-based lease abstraction may be cheaper as it is automated and there is minimal involvement of human resource. Plus, as discussed above, AI reduces the turnaround time per abstract, allowing the vendor to enjoy the economies of scale that come with larger output capabilities, which may be passed on to you. 

You can expect a greater degree of standardization

AI-based lease abstraction may offer a greater degree of standardization when it comes to clauses as it is machine based vis-a-vis having your leases abstracted by a team of lease abstractors, where each of them may have a different way of summarizing them. 

But, what about accuracy?

When it comes to lease abstracts accuracy is key, leaving no margin for errors. One of the biggest challenges of automating lease abstraction is the inability of AI-based lease abstraction processes to guarantee 100% accuracy. AI based lease abstraction software programs cannot function like calculators, giving you the right output every time. This is because each lease is unique and there is great variation in the lease language. Plus, leases sometimes go back so many years that not all documents related to a single lease are of the same format and quality. There may be multiple addendums, amendments, handwritten correspondence (which even the best of AI tools may not be able to decipher), emails, notices, etc. 

Overcoming accuracy issues by choosing a mixed lease abstraction model

You can overcome the accuracy challenges by opting for a mixed lease abstraction model, where your vendor may pass the leases through an AI-based lease abstraction software and then have a team of experienced lease analysts verify the abstract against the original lease documents. This sort of a ‘quality analysis’ will ensure

  • No critical lease data is missed out
  • Any OCR errors are identified and rectified
  • The abstract stays true to the original lease language and interpretation

A mixed lease abstraction model brings you the best of both worlds. You benefit from the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of AI based lease abstraction and also from the expertise, experience and knowledge of a trained lease analyst. 

RE BackOffice is a strategic partner providing scalable, affordable and accurate lease abstraction, end-to-end lease administration and accounting services to optimize your lease portfolio and related processes. Please contact us today to learn more.

The importance of ongoing lease management

 

If lease portfolio management were to be compared to anything, it wouldn’t be wrong to say it is a marathon. But, a lot of organizations tend to treat it like a sprint race. The only time leases get the attention they deserve is at the time they are signed. When a new lease is signed, organizations make the effort to get it abstracted and entered into their lease portfolio management systems and more often than not it stays put there until termination or renewal comes up. However, this can result in significant economic losses. Let’s look at why consistent, ongoing lease management is important.

You may be overpaying

One of the most important reasons as to why you should be reviewing and updating your lease portfolio is to identify any inconsistencies in CAM expense billing, rent hikes and other operating expenses that the Landlord may be imposing on you. 

You may miss out on various benefits that are not obvious

If you don’t service your leases regularly, you run the risk of overlooking important dates and options that could be beneficial to you. Examples include notice periods for termination, renewal, expansion and the right of first refusal. Keeping an eye on these dates and executing your options at the right time can help you get a good deal on your existing leases.

Repetitive errors may be causing you losses

If your initial abstract has errors, or if you don’t reconcile your operating expense, CAM charges, rent increase and other payments periodically, you run the risk of letting the errors embed into your leases. In cases where the rent/operating or CAM charges increase based on the preceding years’ value, you will erroneously end up paying a lot more than you should.  

You may be miss taking advantage of critical dates and clauses

If you don’t service your leases regularly, you run the risk of overlooking important dates and options that could be beneficial to you.

At some level organizations are aware of the importance of ongoing lease maintenance, but fall behind on their lease portfolio management due to lack of resources. In such scenarios, an experienced and trusted lease administration vendor can help. They can work independently or support your existing lease administration resources to help you stay on top of your lease portfolio management requirements. Plus, their expertise can add value to your internal lease administration process. 

RE BackOffice is a strategic partner providing end-to-end lease administration and accounting services, including lease audits. We offer scalable, affordable and accurate lease accounting and administration services to optimize your lease portfolio and related processes. Please contact us today to learn more