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“Today, smaller tenants are in a position to negotiate better lease rates at a shorter term,” says Greg Azayev, executive managing director and principal broker at Stelth Commercial Group.Credit: Frank Boston/Adobe Stock

When Alina Clark was ready to approach her office landlord with a conversation about renegotiating the rent, she knew that mentioning the economic havoc wrought by the pandemic wouldn’t work. So the co-founder of CocoDoc, a software development company based in the Los Angeles area, tackled the problem in a different way.

“It’s easier to get cuts on things like maintenance costs and utilities, instead of the base rent,” she says. “We easily got a rent reduction by focusing on those instead of the base rent.” It also helped that she assured the landlord the company was going to stay for the long term. “The fact that we were willing to commit for five years was one of the major considerations when renegotiating the lease agreement,” Clark says.

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