Many Commercial Landlords Working Things Out with Tenants

Recovering from the pandemic is one of those easy to say but much harder to do things. While there are stories of commercial evictions for back rent and inflexibility by landlords negotiating new leases, there are also tales of landlords who are working to ensure their tenants avert evictions and survive to see what comes next.

One such company is Premier Properties in Palo Alto, Calif. As reported locally, residents can walk down any of Palo Alto’s main commercial corridors, and one will likely pass by a building managed by Premier Properties. Since 1985, the Palo Alto commercial real estate brokerage firm has steadily expanded its footprint throughout the city where it now manages about 100 properties.

Jon Goldman and Brad Ehikian, co-presidents who took over Premier Properties in 2011, say operating the company like a family business has been key to its success.

“Most of our clients are local families,” Goldman said. “We don’t work for big-time, out-of-state Fortune 500 companies. Our clients are local families who depend on us.”

Facing the worst crisis for commercial real estate in Palo Alto since the dot-com bust and the 2008 recession, Goldman and Ehikian worked to ensure that no evictions occurred during the pandemic. Instead, the company turned to a variety of creative arrangements to keep tenants in place.

Goldman said Premier Properties emphasized working with their tenants, trying to renegotiate leases based on their unique circumstances, whether that be restructuring a lease that charges rent based on a percentage of sales or providing a business looking to extend its lease with a good rate.

Goldman emphasized early in the pandemic that Premier Properties wouldn’t threaten its tenants to pay rent.

The two co-presidents said that by guiding negotiations between landlords and tenants, large amounts of rent — ranging in the millions of dollars — were waived, and the company was able to avert collection activities and lawsuits.

Ehikian said the pandemic has been painful for any property-management firm that depends on commission fees. The goal of Premier Properties has been to move forward and figure out how to help businesses get back on track, going far beyond lease issues.

As we frequently say, legal disputes are EVERYWHERE. But if you stop to look around, so are good commercial landlords like Premier Properties. Landlord/tenant matters can be tricky. So when those things negatively impact YOU and/or YOUR business, call in your good guy business litigator, Dean Sperling to resolve YOUR matter with YOUR best interests in mind!

More on the case: