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BOMA-Enemy of the Common Folk (aka Building Tenants)

By Jason Hughes

It should come as no surprise who BOMA answers to; after all, it’s short for Building Owners and Managers Association. But it’s almost become comical, (if it weren’t so painfully expensive to corporate tenants everywhere), how every few years BOMA figures out creative new ways to “grow” already existing buildings. Yep—they actually grow (at least in all senses other than physically).

Virtually every office lease includes language that stipulates that landlords will “measure” the building space using “BOMA Standards.” By having a third-party measure the space, people tend to think it must be fair. Instead, it’s ridiculously abusive to tenants—and foolish logic to the remainder of the population (landlords excluded).

For example, this past September, BOMA decided that all office building terraces and balconies, including building rooftops that are “finished,” are now defined as “rentable” space—meaning you now have to pay for it. Additionally, vertical penetrations between floors (air conditioning ducting, etc.) are also “rentable space”—as they are now considered “Building Services Space.” Of course! “That makes total sense!” said nobody ever—except landlords!

It’s outrageous that we are in a world where tenants, who are the ultimate customers, continue to have BOMA and their landlord clients pull all the strings. How do they get away with this? They’ve created collective bargaining with BOMA and the large real estate brokerage companies who all rally around to defend them—as that’s how they feed their kin.

What can you do?

What can you do to defend yourself? Join ACT (Association for Commercial Tenants)—a nonprofit based in Los Angeles specifically created to protect corporate tenant’s rights. The idea is that if we can create an anti-BOMA organization filled with like-minded companies who are tired of annual increases in square foot measurements for the same space—and other benefits that ONLY help landlords—then a united voice can stand together for a common cause. Maybe then tenants can feel that THEY are the customer given their rent pays for EVERYTHING when it comes to commercial real estate and all the providers who trickle down the feeding line. ACT gives tenants a seat at the table and is a champion of the underdog. It is time to let your voice be heard!

Jason Hughes is chairman, CEO, and owner of Hughes Marino, an award-winning commercial real estate company with offices across the nation. A pioneer in the field of tenant representation, Jason has exclusively represented tenants and buyers for more than 25 years. He writes about topics in commercial real estate from a tenant’s perspective on his blog, Downtown Dirt. Contact Jason at 1-844-662-6635 or jason@hughesmarino.com to learn more.



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