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What’s Next for Commercial Landlords in the Washington DC Area?


As most school districts in the Washington DC area brace themselves for an all-online beginning to the coming school year, workers and employers are adjusting to a new normal.  Perhaps the pandemic is making us appreciate in person socializing; you may have even perfected some new recipes that will taste even better when you can share them at an in-person social gathering.  No one misses commuting to DC from the suburbs, though, and it is becoming increasingly likely that working from home arrangements are here to stay in industries where most businesses activities can be accomplished online.  Where does this leave landlords and real estate investors, though?  What should you do if you rent out residential units, and your tenants will be working from home for the foreseeable future?  You may be facing an even bigger quandary if you own a commercial or mixed-use property where your commercial tenants have signed lease agreements that are valid for several years.  In either case, a Washington DC real estate business lawyer can help you make the best business decisions now that the age of telecommuting is here to stay.

The Twilight of the Office Building?

According to an editorial by Andrea Felsted of Bloomberg, the market value of commercial real estate properties is in a tailspin in many of the world’s biggest cities.  She predicts that a substantial portion of the workers who commuted to office jobs before the pandemic but have been working from home since the pandemic began will never return to full-time hours on site.  This means that many commercial tenants are now stuck with lots of office space that they do not need and cannot pay for.

What should you, as the owner of a commercial property, do if you are in this situation?  The best short-term solution is to minimize the financial losses to all parties involved.  If your tenants want to stay for the duration of their lease, be flexible with payment scheduled, even if they have to defer part of the amount until after the lease term ends.  If one of you wants to end the lease early, then negotiate terms for dong so that are fair to everyone.  As far as long-term strategies, consider renovating your building so that it includes smaller units to be used as offices, or consider turning some or all of it into residential units.

Are Residential Landlords the New Commercial Landlords?

In the near future, when people rent apartments, the apartment’s value as a work environment will be one of its most important features.  If you own a residential investment property or are thinking of buying one, think of the units as home offices, not just as homes.  Every unit should have a room that can be used as an office, and it should be sufficiently quiet, even if most of the adult and child residents are present in the building throughout the workday.

Let Us Help You Today

A real estate lawyer can help you focus on long-term solutions during these challenging economic times.  Contact the Washington DC real estate attorneys at Tobin O’Connor Concino P.C. for help today.




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