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Entries Tagged as 'General'

Geithner – Commercial Real Estate to be problem for a long time

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In a joint congressional committee hearing today U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that he expects commercial real estate to be a national problem for a long time with no quick fix.  He also said that the economy can withstand the continuing commercial real estate challenges.

On Oct. 29 (Bloomberg) he said commercial real estate woes won’t set off a new banking crisis, in remarks to the Economic Club of Chicago.

“I don’t think so,” Geithner said, when asked whether commercial real estate could set off another banking meltdown. “That’s a problem the economy can manage through even though it’s going to be still exceptionally difficult.”

My thoughts are that until job creation gets started, commercial real estate will stay in the doldrums even if the stock market is booming.

Related to job creation, Mr Geithner stated in today's hearing that he would like to see TARP money provided to smaller banks specifically for loans to small business to encourage job growth.  The problem he sees slowing this down is the negative perception the public has with banks accepting TARP money.

To me that would be a simple fix... use the funds, but call it something else.


The Ultimate Real Estate Blog Directory

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If you are looking for information on real estate, Alltop has a listing of the all the top real estate blogs.  It is a great resource.  We are happy to be included, too.


General , Office Space

Regus Profits up 25% in 2008


Despite the recession Regus profits rose 25% according to a recent article at in 2008.  Regus, headquartered in the UK, is the largest provider of executive suite space in the world with over 950 location with a total of over 171,000 work stations in 75 countries.

Mark Dixon, the chief executive, said the company's BusinessWorld division, which provides temporary workspace worldwide for business people who work without a permanent office, made more money last month than in the whole of 2008. He said BusinessWorld now has more than 180,000 members across the world.

Mr Dixon said the recession has caused a "fundamental change" in how businesses operate, with even FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 companies using its offices in an attempt to slash operating costs. The company said it has also witnessed a huge increase in demand for a new range of "recession busting" products, including video conference facilities.

He said the recession has been the "catalyst" in irreversibly changing businesses approach to flexible working. However, he added that the company is not "immune" to the global economic downturn and said "2009 will be a difficult year"


Executive Suites , General , Office Space

To Guarantee or not to Guarantee a lease?

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I ran into a brief discussion on Twitter as to how to sign a lease (they have to be brief with a 140 character limit). Should you use your company name or personal name on the office lease?  I found these responses at Business Seek, a small business weblog:

"NO you use your tax ID number EIN. You fill paperwork out in name of corp. and you sign as president. Only need to include personal info if you make personal guarantee."

"Any time you do business you HAVE to treat yourself as an employee, you NEVER personally guarantee anything. this way the company goes under you as the President unless gross negligence on your part like you left with the cash are not liable for the expenses of the company. "

Both good advice, but both pretty naive especially when it comes to small businesses. It is unusual when a landlord does not require a personal guarantee no matter what your business structure unless the term is a month to month and there is enough of a deposit to cover any midnight moves. If you were to never personally guarantee a lease or rental for a small business, there would a very limited choice of alternatives.

Trick of the Trade

What we try to do is place a ceiling on that personal guarantee.  An example of this would be to guarantee up to 3 months worth of rental. This would be enough to cover any landlord expenses related to their cost of your acquisition, such as brokerage fees. If there are any significant tenant improvements involved, some sort of amortized guarantee could be created where the amount of the guarantee is reduced over the term of the lease. You'd probably still need to add some period of rent on top of this, but you could also negotiate to amortize reduction in this over the term of the lease. A lease guarantee is a liability that you should show on your personal financial statements. So try to minimize them as much as possible.


General , Lease Negotiations , Office Space , Twitter

Protecting your Business

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I found an interesting article from monitoring my Twitter account, @officefinder, that is important for both office space tenants and office tenant reps to be aware of. While most good office tenant reps, like the ones you will find on OfficeFinder, are aware of the need for protecting the tenant with solid , Non-Disturbance and Attornment office lease clauses, many tenants are clueless. As the economic crisis in commercial properties deepens, which it will, many unsuspecting tenants may find themselves in a pickle.

How to Protect Your Lease So You Don't Risk Loss If Your Landlord Defaults on the Mortgage, And Other Tips to Help Your Business Survive and Thrive During The Current Economic Crisis.

Los Angeles (PRWEB) February 23, 2009 -- Many tenants are facing a huge risk and they don't even know it. If their landlord cannot pay the mortgage, they could face losing their lease, even though they paid their rent. Los Angeles attorney Erin Tenner helps business owners protect their leases from loss due to foreclosure by negotiating agreements with mortgage lenders that will allow the tenant to stay in the property if the landlord defaults on the mortgage.

"The agreement benefits landlords too because it includes a provision allowing the landlord to collect rent directly from the tenant in the event of a default by the landowner" says attorney Tenner. The agreement is known as a Subordination, Non-Disturbance and Attornment Agreement. Without such an agreement any lender who took the land as security for a loan will generally have the right to terminate the lease if the loan pre-dates the lease.

Here are some other recommendations provided by Attorney Tenner to protect business owners during this economic crisis:

1. Protect Your Assets. Whether you are buying an entire business or just a few assets from a business that has folded, make sure you are buying them free and clear of liens and encumbrances, including tax liens. Certain liens will "follow the assets" unless they are released. That means you could lose the assets you bought if the lienholder forecloses. Liens are often public records.

2. Negotiate For Better Terms. A win-win is always possible in negotiations if you find out the needs of the person with whom you are negotiating. Make sure you are dealing with a person who has the authority to make decisions and ask a lot of questions. Especially in times like these, there are many ways to sweeten the pot for yourself and for those you are dealing with.

3. Think Outside The Box. Do not limit yourself to what everyone else does. Think outside the box when it comes to negotiations. For example, if you are asked to provide a personal guaranty, carve out exceptions for your house and your car, limit the length of time the guaranty will continue, or have another entity you own provide the guaranty.

4. Protect Your Corporation's Limited Liability. If you own a corporation, make sure you do not inadvertently destroy the limit on liability provided by the corporate existence. Do not run personal expenses through your corporation. Do not make distributions to shareholders if you do not have the earnings to support it. Make sure that corporate shareholders elect the correct number of directors at least annually and that directors elect officers at least annually. Make sure directors authorize decisions outside the ordinary course of business.

Erin Tenner is a partner at TennerJohnson LLP and a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Business Law Section. She can be reached at 818-707-8410 or toll free at 888-501-0040. © Law Offices of Erin K. Tenner, a professional corporation 2009.

General , Lease Negotiations , Office Space , Twitter