Hiring A Real Estate Attorney or Tenant Broker

What exactly is a tenant broker? Do I need one? If you are a prospective tenant looking for commercial office space in Chicago, these questions are probably top of mind. In short, the answer is yes, you need one. Why? They work to represent you and best of all, you don’t pay for this service.

Is a tenant broker different from a real estate attorney? Do I need both? Again, the short answer is, yes. A real estate attorney is concerned with reviewing the clauses in a lease contract to determine whether they are fair and to ensure that the landlord is not taking advantage of you as a potential tenant. Yet, unlike a tenant broker, a real estate attorney may not have as good a feel for the market, such as knowing the different types of commercial spaces available, the going market prices for space in Chicago, or even the inside scoop such as which landlords to stay away from.

Let’s look at an example to illustrate this better. When your attorney reviews a lease, he may find a clause that he feels is unfair to the tenant or doesn’t take the tenant’s needs into consideration. He would then make a recommendation to the landlord to reword the clause. Yet it is actually the tenant broker who has a better understanding of the market and is in a better position to determine where the tenant stands with a particular landlord in terms of negotiating power. For example, given the current market conditions, is it realistic to remove a particular clause? Does this landlord know that the space is in high demand and that there is a probably a waiting list of other potential tenants?

The tenant broker will have a better feel for these kinds of questions but the attorney will have the legal eye. So in the end, the best possible solution for you as a tenant is to find a tenant broker and leasing attorney that will be able to communicate and work well with each other. Of course it would be ideal to find two professionals who have had experience working together in the past. If they can provide references and describe their previous dealings, even better.

Any time we discuss legal representation it is important to note this information should not be considered legal council. Finding adequate legal representation falls on your shoulders for better or worse. In any case, ask around and get feedback from trusted colleagues about who they have worked with in the past.