Who Pays for Tenant Improvements?

who pays for tenant improvementsWhen considering the type of tenant improvement best for a particular commercial space, you must consider several factors, such as budget and time frame. You’ll also want to note special considerations like sound regulations or air circulation where applicable. As you negotiate lease terms, you’ll want to work with a local commercial broker to understand the laws and regulations that impact your location and dictate what can and cannot be done concerning tenant improvements.

Tenant improvements should always adhere to safety regulations and lease agreements between landlord and tenant so that either party can receive full legal protection from any potential dispute that might arise down the line.

What are Tenant Improvements?

Tenant improvements refer to the modifications made to a leased commercial space for the benefit of, and customized for, a tenant. It’s important to note that normal wear and tear maintenance and repairs do not usually qualify as tenant improvements. Tenant improvements are not to be confused with ‘fitting out’ – a modification made by landlords for their benefit or those of other tenants.

What Counts as a Tenant Improvement?

Tenant improvements are changes that can involve installing new fixtures, painting or wallpapering, changing flooring and carpeting, and upgrading appliances or fixtures in kitchens and bathrooms. They may include some structural changes, such as adding walls or windows. Other examples of potential improvements include replacing countertops or sinks, adding air conditioning systems, expanding an existing space into two separate rooms, or replacing old lighting fixtures with modern ones.

Ultimately, tenant improvements enable business owners to design commercial property to reflect branding. Retail space will require a different floor layout than an office space. Tenant improvements allow a tenant to customize an unfinished shell space while protecting the commercial property owner from unexpected costs.

What is a Tenant Improvement Allowance?

The tenant improvement allowance (TI allowance) is a payment from the building owner to cover the improvement costs associated with remodeling the premises by a lessee. In addition to covering construction-related expenses, some landlords may also agree to include permit, legal, and architectural fees in the TI allowance after negotiation.

What Does a Tenant Improvement Allowance Not Cover?

Tenant improvement allowances do not typically cover the furniture or moving fees incurred by tenants before or during their stay on the property. Start-up costs other than those directly related to property improvements are also not part of tenant improvement allowances. Before proceeding with property improvements, both parties must understand what a leasehold improvement agreement covers.

Who Pays for Tenant Improvements?

Landlords typically pay for improvements in commercial leases using a tenant improvement allowance. The TI allowance is an upfront sum outlined in the lease agreement that covers the costs of additional construction or retrofits needed to make the space suitable for its new purpose. If it turns out that these costs are more than what was estimated and given as an allowance, then it is up to the tenant to cover the price difference. When negotiating a lease agreement, tenants and landlords may agree on a TI allowance expressed in terms of a dollar amount or per-square-foot rate.

Pros & Cons of Commercial Tenant Improvements

To ensure the most successful outcome, consider the pros and cons of commercial tenant improvements. One of the main advantages of receiving a tenant improvement allowance is that it gives tenants more control over the project than they would have with a commercial build-out or turnkey agreement, so they can reduce cost overruns and hold contractors accountable for any quality issues that arise during the renovation. The potential drawback is the time and money required to find a contractor who meets their specific needs and budgets.

On the other hand, choosing a commercial build-out or turnkey agreement eliminates many of the headaches associated with selecting and managing contractors. Tenants don’t have to find insurance for workers or deal with any other contractual obligations related to renovations. Giving up this control can be risky since any issues aren’t under their management. It’s best to weigh both options carefully before making your final decision in order to find the approach best suited to your specific situation.

Fitting Out vs. Tenant Improvement

Fitting out and tenant improvement are two essential aspects of investing in property. Fitting out describes the process of transforming raw space into a usable area for a specific use, usually involving the installation of fixtures and fittings and any additional modifications according to the business’s needs. Fitting out might include things like IT infrastructure or septic systems.

Tenant improvement is a broader concept that covers making wider improvements to existing facilities or adding supplementary features like landscaping or parking lots. Since this requires more extensive work than fitting out, finding contractors willing to take on these projects can be costly and complicated. In some cases, landlords will rent out raw spaces until somebody comes along who is willing to pay extra money upfront so that they can move in earlier than otherwise would have been possible.

When you’re ready to rent out your commercial property, you’ll want to consider adding a tenant improvement allowance to your lease. For perspective on the Brevard County, FL trends with commercial property leases, contact Ullian Realty. Our team will guide you through selecting the best lease for you and your tenants.