Beyond the feudal mind – new ways of thinking about property leases

Beyond the feudal mind - new ways of thinking about property leasesThe great majority of us still have some pretty old fashioned ways of thinking about property.

Just the very words landlord and tenant come from a bygone era when we stop to think about it. It was a time of feudal land ownership when there really were lords with peasant tenants who were completely subservient to them.

Language is a powerful thing, and using these words today always implies a power structure. In the subconscious mind it very quickly sets up property owners and those businesses leasing space from them as adversaries doing battle over leases, terms and conditions.

Perhaps it is time we gave up on these old fashioned terms and ways of thinking to collaborate for solutions for all in business.

Smart thinking businesses today, whether property owners and investors or businesses leasing property, be it retail, office or industrial, are looking for new and lasting solutions.

With volatile markets that forever cycle through supply and demand in favour of property owners or those leasing premises alternately, it occurs to me that it would be smart to negotiate win-win deals rather than compromise-compromise deals.

It is rare, but I know of a few in the property lease game who are thinking about the long term. With a glut of space, it is a buyers market and tougher for property owners. But I know of some companies leasing space who are thinking beyond their immediate advantage to strike a deal that will work for both property owner and tenant alike when the market cycles again in favour of the owner.

Smart businesses are looking to build relationships as well as deals, so that both will win through thick and thin.

Maybe too it is time to stop thinking about how much we can screw out of the other side by starting negotiations with ridiculously high or low offers. Let’s get real about value and return, and what’s needed to give both land owners and commercial lease holders a return on their investment.

Good negotiation is not about taking sides, it is about deal making rather than matchmaking.

In the words of a wise property lease portfolio holder I know, “We want a deal we can both live with for a long time.”

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