This section is from the book "Practical Real Estate Methods For Broker, Operator & Owner", by Thirty Experts. Also available from Amazon: Practical Real Estate Methods for Broker, Operator, Owner.
New buildings are now constructed without ordinary partitions. Offices are rented from floor plans, and the requirements of a tenant are generally expressed in square feet. The tenant and manager then work out on the floor plans the layout of separate offices, and the partitions are put in. Here, if the manager is wise in his own generation, he will guide the tenant away from peculiar arrangements which would be totally un-suited to any other tenant, and induce the prospective occupant to accept as nearly a normal division of his space as is possible. This frequently saves the ripping out and rebuilding of partitions at the expiration of the first lease. In most cases, tenants are entirely unable to judge real effects from floor plans, and the agent must, from long experience, be able to guide them as to sensible arrangements which do not sacrifice light, air or convenience. To get at this, he must frequently study the sort of business the tenant is to conduct and show him how best to plan for it. The happiness or satisfaction of a tenant is a valuable asset, and it is better to take pains to make him comfortable than to tell him repeatedly afterwards, "Well, it's what you yourself wanted."
The methods of securing tenants for buildings have changed very materially in the past few years owing to the practice of taking over leases. In the old days, an office building manager kept records of when leases were to expire and went after these tenants, to induce them to move to his property, about three months before the expirations. Nowadays, however, the mere fact that a man has a one or two year lease doesn't count. The agents go after him - provided he is desirable - and offer to take his old lease off his hands if he will move to the new building. The owners of the new building figure that if they do not-get the tenant the space will be vacant for a time anyhow. If, however, they succeed in disposing of the old lease they have taken over, it is so much profit. For the filling of an office adds but little to maintenance cost. If they do not get rid of the transferred lease, they are no worse off than they would be anyhow, and they have in their building a tenant who will bring in real rent in a year or two. Moreover, the rapid filling up of the building is desirable because, until the most desirable space is let, they cannot get the regular rate for less desirable space. Still, this policy of taking over leases has introduced much confusion in office property. An agent may have his building filled with leases with two or three years to run and feel that many will renew. A new building opens, grabs his tenants and leaves him in the necessity of looking out for a new set. Moreover, in some cases the representatives of a new building, particularly if it is out of the renting season, may make concessions to get rid of the transferred lease which seriously affect rental standards in the old building.