How to successfully sublet office spaces?
Photo by Annie Spratt
As a business owner, you always consider optimizing or reducing costs? Office space costs represent a big part of your fixed costs?
If you own an apartment or a house, you have a spare room and it seems logic to rent it out. Well, it is the same for office spaces.
You sublease a room, a desk, a floor. Flexibility in office space is the future for businesses. Employees travel more or work remotely and they need a working environment. That is where their employers will consider rent office space without strong, long term lease or rent.
The solution is to find a sublease, more flexible and cheaper.
Why sublet or sublease office space?
You have available space unused and you are not planning to use it in the near future. Another situation, you are a growing company or startup, you would like to rent one office but you know you will not need in the next months most of the surface or the desks till you have grown.
Then, you should sublet or sublease it. Sometimes you can make extra revenues out it for the time being.
Guide to sublet or to sublease an office space
In this guide, you will find out how to plan, promote and manage the sublet of your office space.
Sublet or Sublease, definition and difference
The definition of sublet / sublease is to rent or lease a part or a whole property to another person; it means theres is already a rental or lease active. Sublet is more common in British English and sublease is more American English. They also have synonyms like underlet or underlease, less common.
Steps to sublet an office space
1. Validate if you can sublet office space?
Often, the business owners oversee this important point to clarify before starting the process of subletting.
Are you allowed to sublet or to sublease in your office space?
In deed, some long term lease or rentals, even landlords will not allow you to sublease all or a part of the office. So, check before. Review your rental agreements, the contract or the lease conditions. This is definitely the first action to do before even working on the promotion of the sublet.
If the possibility to sublet is not mentioned in the conditions, you are facing two options:
- ask and agree with your landlord if you can sublet in the office space
- go ahead without the agreement of your landlord
The first option is the most logical option. You want to keep a good relationship with your landlord and you have a good relationship with her or him. This is in deed the right one.
Though, landlords are not always liking it. That is where the second option comes in game. For that you have to be sure that the landlord will not be a problem. Even without clear agreement, subleasing a desk or a room is at your own risks. So consider it well before. Talking with your landlord is a peaceful solution to maintain good relationship.
On top, you have to check if it is legal in your country or county to sublet or to sublease your office space. This is important: some countries do not allow the sublet in rentals. Better check before starting the process.
2. Get the conditions ready
Once you clarified your situation for subletting, you can start thinking of the conditions and the preparation.
The space you sublet
First, start to think what you would like to sublet: a desk, a room, a part of the office. There, you have to think in term of operation:
- How will it work with the tenant?
- What will the tenant need?
- How will the tenant access the premises?
- What does the tenant need to know about the premises?
If you sublet a desk, the tenant expects a proper desk table, with a chair, a lamp, a proper environment. They will need an internet connection with Wi-Fi or Ethernet cable. For internet, it would be better to open a second Wlan network, so they can connect to a different wifi than your employees.
Maybe they will need to isolate from your team. Creating an island of desks of external workers in the office space is a good solution to give proper conditions for your tenants.
It is like renting a room on AirBnB, you need to give an own space to your tenant. The experience of your tenant is important. Recommendations can help you to find the next tenant.
The rental condition
If it is a sublet, you have to plan the contract almost like a normal rental by taking in consideration your own rental.
Important to define the conditions for subletting:
- What? Desk, room, access to meeting room, kitchen, bathroom?
- How much? Per hour, per day, per week, per month, per quarter, per semester, per year, currency?
- How you receive the payment? Bank transfer, other?
- How long will be the relationship?
- What do you give the tenant to access the office? Keys, cards, chip, code?
- What if one of you would like to cancel the contract? How do you proceed?
You must list all what will be a connection between you and the tenant. In some countries, you can find standard sublease contract online. If you have an attorney or lawyer, you can ask them to prepare it. This is not a simple contract. You must have clarified all the conditions and the requirements to have a legal situation.
3. Prepare the description and promote
Collect the conditions and present them to make the description easy to understand. Make sure that in a few seconds a potential candidate will understand what you offer. An unclear description will bring you leads that are not worth it and you will lose time at the end.
Write a personal description
You are not a real estate agency for whom it is simply a task to write a description. Write it with your own word and a personal touch. Write in words and sentences by following the structure:
- what you offer,
- in which conditions,
- who you are and what your company is doing,
- where it is and the advantage of the area,
- contact details (how you can be reach).
At the end, you would like to have tenants that are similar to you or that might bring positive energy into your office and your team.
Keep the description personal, simple and short but write one.
For the conclusion, invite to get in touch. Sometimes, people forget this part and a quick sentence can change the conversion rate of your listing.
The important role of photos
Photos are the door to the space you would like to sublease. First, make sure it is a sunny day. Never, ever present night pictures. People works mostly in the day, not at night. Your tenant wants to know what is the night relation in the workspace.
An office full of light will bring you more leads. People are more and more sensible to this aspect. So make sure to present daylight pictures. Daylight is warm and welcoming. If you turn on white, neon lights to get more light, turn on a lamp with a light bulb shining a yellow light, it will give a warmer feeling to the room.
1 or 2 pictures will not be enough. Start with 2 to 6 pictures of what the tenant will pay for. If possible, write description what it is. Get 1 to 2 pictures of nice details; it is like revealing part of a secret and keeping another part. You always want to know more. Potential candidates will check pictures first and a quick description will motivate them to read further your offer. Present also 3 to 6 pictures of the environment: the premises, the kitchen, the reception, the street, the cool area around the location, sitting areas, lounge or other advantages or features.
Clean and make order on the pictures. No mess allowed on the pictures.
List your conditions and present them. Share them in your community, on social medias, in local classified ads website or directly here: OfficesforStartups.com.
4. Manage leads & visits
The promotion of your ad is going well and you are getting your first leads or requests.
Do not delay to answer: write or call back. Maximum 24h for answering. If no answer at the call, leave a writing message. The new generation are so used to get a fast answer or access to what they need. So answer fast. You don’t have the time to answer? Put someone in charge for answering.
The potential candidates have other options. So you want to be one of the options they will consider. If they have questions, answer clearly and simply, in a professional way.
In the first contact, it is bit like a first contact with a potential recruit. Make friends and see how they are. In this first contact, be ready to suggest two times when the candidate can come and check the office. It should be time when you are available, with no time constraints.
Visits: be ready and all clean
At the visit, be punctual. Make sure they are punctual. Punctuality at the visit is always a good sign. You will know if they will pay on time too.
Present yourself, the company. Show what they want to sublet. Explain again the conditions. The tenant reads different offers and often forget the conditions. Don’t be upset and explain the conditions.
Show what they will enjoy in the office space and basic features like bathroom, kitchen or lounges. Everything that is different to other offices should be shown at the end. The best for the end.
The office should be well cleaned and in order. You want to give the best impression.
5. Sign a sublease contract
After the visit, make a follow-up one or two days later. Give a call or write a message. You need to know if you have to keep on searching or the candidate is interested. Get a concrete feedback to know where you go.
You might have to answer the last requests or questions. Negotiate the conditions and agree with the tenant, like the start or end day. Once you land a common accord, you can get the contract ready and organize a meeting for the signature.
For the signature, plan a nice atmosphere, a welcome drink or coffee and everything the tenant needs to know about the place. Set up an appointment in the same day for the handover of the keys, cards or codes.
After the beginning of the rental, make some regular checkups on the tenants to see how they do.
Do you have suggestions, comments or questions? Please leave a comment here down!