Why Is It So Hard for Tenants to Find Space in Brooklyn?


The tight market, of course, is the greatest obstacle to finding Kings Count Space. It offers just a handful of choices for each specific requirement. Yet, there are several other major hurdles landlords unnecessarily impose on tenants that inhibit the growth of the market, general business development and the Brooklyn economy.

Today’s modern tenant needs lease flexibility. Dumbo was built by doing one- to three-year leases, providing open plan space and allowing tenants to come and go. This is tough on, for example, Court Street but landlords should try to work out a way to sign three-year deals, which would greatly increase their leasing velocity.

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Brooklyn landlords issue the most outrageous landlord leases–Manhattan tenants, lawyers and brokers are dumbfounded. For example, one large landlord wanted my client to take responsibility for hazardous waste that comes from his–the landlord’s–own neighboring tenants. This is an example of true 1950s thinking.

Owners also issue draconian leases yet spend weeks and months ‘backing off’ them. Just issue a decent lease with five to ten things you can give up and stop negotiating the lease. It saves time and money.

Then there’s the problem of showing awful space. Owners don’t realize that standards have improved. Tenants see a space that is a dirty wreck full of old furniture and react very badly. Clean up your product and get it ready to go. Tenants don’t have time to wait; landlords need to make it look like they care and that they act quickly.

Yet another challenged can be reduced to that famous Cool Hand Luke line, “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” Owners don’t return calls or emails, they don’t answer questions, and they put out vague information. Some owners won’t quote rental amounts, scaring prospective tenants, while others take forever to respond to proposals or questions.

Our borough has certainly come a long way and it is much better than 15 years ago, when I started here.

But let’s do better. Don’t move. Improve.