“I know the Landlord, he’s incredibly nice. We get on so well. The agent is really helpful too.”
How many times do I hear that?
My response to that is: I don’t doubt it. I know lots of very nice landlords too, not to mention their equally helpful agents. I’ve been both but is that a reason to approach negotiation of the terms that will go in a lease (called ‘Heads of Terms’) any differently?
The client and I are doing this on behalf of the company in whose best interests we are required to act. If we don’t thoroughly negotiate the ‘Heads of Terms’, confirmed in writing, we might be in for some surprises later, wasting hard earned cash and even putting the success of the company at risk.
Of course, we can negotiate ‘Heads of Terms’ in a civilised atmosphere of mutual respect and collaboration but let’s not kid ourselves; the process of agreeing terms is fundamentally an adversarial one. We shouldn’t be diverted from our key objectives by existing relationships.
Let’s focus on the needs of the business as expressed in the business plan, as if the landlord is a complete stranger. One day, if circumstances change, he might be.
If we follow this course, our property strategy will guide us towards the ‘Heads of Terms’ we are seeking and we will send a comprehensive agreement to the lawyers that works for the business – and there you have it, a lease that works for the business with no surprises!