Inclusion and Accessibility in Office Buildings

Office Buildings and The American Disabilities Act

In the United States, nearly one in five people suffer from some sort of disability. This means that the vast majority of workplaces have disabled persons on their team.

The American Disabilities Act (ADA) requires companies to comply with certain guidelines, but these days expectations outpace the law. Companies are pulling out all the stops to accommodate those with disabilities, and one of the ways they’re doing this is by ensuring office space is accessible and inclusive.

Here are a few ways to ensure your building will suit every company’s needs:

Have an Accessibility Expert to Audit Your Building

Getting a professional to evaluate your building is usually a good first step. An assessor can tell you what you need to change to be both ethical and competitive in the real estate market. They can also help you determine which changes will get you the highest return on investment as a building owner – after all, the ultimate goal is profit.

Have an expert audit your building regularly, as regulations and standards change often and you might not be up to speed. When it comes to accessibility, outside support is key.

Prioritize Facility Access

This is the element of accessible workspaces you have the most control over, so be sure to prioritize it. From accessible parking spaces to proper lighting to unobstructed paths and ramps, there are plenty of ways you can make the last few minutes of an employee’s commute hassle-free.

Inside, avoid putting steps to divide levels of the same floor, and ensure there is an elevator in multi-storey buildings. Passageways must be wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair or other mobility aid. Counters, switches, and doorknobs should be low enough for both employees and clients to reach. If you already have built-in offices or cubicles, make sure the square footage is sufficient for a wheelchair to move around with ease.

Ask Your Tenants for Feedback

Ask your current tenants for feedback on the accessibility of your building. What improvements would they like to see? Offering spaces that lend to inclusivity boost your overall competitiveness.

By making accessibility features an integral part of the space, building owners can play a role in normalizing inclusivity in the workplace. While there are some features that are non-negotiable, flexible, customizable spaces are key to marketing a building.

Our South Florida commercial real estate attorney can also offer feedback on the accessibility features you should – or are legally required to – include in your building. To learn more about our services, give us a call today at (954) 779-7009.

It’s evident that one of the most significant office trends of the 21st century is just beginning to unravel. Employee wellbeing is no longer a trivial workplace “bonus,” it’s become the new standard. It is essential to creating an effective, productive, and happy team. This office design trend used to be seen as a lofty benchmark, it is now expected by the emerging workforce.

Why Consider Employee Wellbeing in your Commercial Investments?

Ensuring your property investment lends to a physically and mentally work environment is important for all parties involved. From building owners to company management to employees, all serve to benefit from designing buildings and workspaces that prioritize wellbeing.

Employee retention, as well as the recruitment of new staff, is directly affected by the workplace environment. Generally speaking, if employees are happy, they’re likely to stay longer. New recruits, many of whom joined the workforce when wellbeing was already common, have already developed this expectation.

A growing sense of – and obligation to demonstrate – corporate responsibility has also given way to increased standards of wellbeing in the workplace.

Finally, it has been shown to financially benefit the company, for a variety of reasons. Excellent environmental conditions tend to attract great employees, reduce staff turnover and boost productivity through improved physical and mental health.

How to Design Your Building for Workplace Wellbeing

Back in the day, workplace wellbeing might have meant replacing uncomfortable chairs and giving your eyes a break from the screen. Now, however, the standard for office wellbeing is much higher. Here are a few ways to ensure your office building meets 21st-century standards of workplace wellbeing:

If you’re looking to invest in or build office spaces, hire our South Florida commercial real estate attorney services to help you along the way. From building design to dotting the I’s and crossing the t’s, an attorney can help as both your consultant and paper filer.

Are Physical Retail Spaces Coming Back?

It’s true what they say: the pendulum always swings back. And, believe it or not, physical retail spaces may already be on that trajectory.

Brick-and-mortar stores that reigned for decades have slowly been closing their doors across the U.S. It’s becoming evident that retail in the traditional sense can no longer, but that doesn’t mean the storefront is dead. Studies predict a turn in this trend – one that will change but not phase out the commercial retail real estate landscape.

Here are some of the reasons why things may be looking up for commercial retail real estate:

E-commerce Is Becoming More Difficult

E-commerce is generally becoming more competitive. Certainly, there is a battle waging at the multinational level (for example, between Walmart and Amazon), but competition is growing among smaller, independent retailers, too. This means higher advertising costs on social media and more labor involved in selling your brand or product. With quantity and quality available these days, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. On top of this, the rise of shipping costs – UPS, for one, is restructuring their price model – is a burden on vendors across the board.

Higher Vacancy Are Causing Lower Prices

While the rise in newspapered storefronts may seem daunting, it could actually be an opportunity for buyers. Because of the increased inventory, and therefore reduced value, this shift in the supply-demand may actually breathe new life into commercial retail real estate. Investors and entrepreneurs see this period as a previously unavailable opportunity to purchase real estate or start a business. South Florida real estate lawyers continue to work with retail building buyers determine the best investment opportunities in the area.

Retailers Are Getting Smarter

At the same time, retailers are getting smarter. Businesses are starting to realize that single-channel sales won’t cut it. In the case of the multinationals, this means might mean opening more or different retail locations as well as selling online. This might be best exemplified by Amazon who recently begun to open its physical retail spaces for books, devices, and other popular merchandise.

While it’s unlikely brick-and-mortar will ever dominate in the same way it used it, there are sure-fire signs of incremental recovery that could offer promising opportunities for prospective investors. If you’re considering investing while the average property price is growing at a slower rate, hire a Fort Lauderdale real estate attorney at Schecter Law at (954) 779-7009 to help you navigate the process.

 

A real estate attorney can be a blessing for anyone looking to buy or sell a property.

Whether it’s an oceanside condominium, family home, commercial building, or vacant land, you’re bound to need some legal advice along the way.

Real estate lawyers can help you at many steps of the process – and it can be a long one. Finding the right property – or buyer for the property you own – is really just a foot in the door. Once in, the negotiations, inspections, and paperwork can make for a laborious transaction.

Fortunately, a South Florida real estate lawyer can help you navigate it. A lawyer will work with you and your real estate agent to ensure the sale goes as smoothly as possible.

The role of a lawyer in real estate

One of the most important aspects of a real estate attorney’s job is, put simply, paperwork. The lawyer can help prepare documents, such as purchase agreements, title transfers, and mortgage applications, among others. They can also help you review and understand documents from the other party.

But that’s definitely not all they do. Lawyers often manage closing arrangements and negotiations. They can help you conduct authority searches and environmental inspections, and help you analyze appraisals, which are important in verifying the property’s fair market value.

If you’re looking to purchase an investment property, such as a rental home, condo building, or office complex in South Florida, a Fort Lauderdale commercial real estate attorney is a necessity. Profit-generating real estate has a whole different set of hurdles to overcome. Lawyers in this field have knowledge in law, real estate, and business – a trifecta of experience essential to a successful transaction. They can help you wade through the vocabulary, negotiate, and even sort out your financing.

In any type of transaction, real estate lawyers can offer professional and objective third-party counsel on the purchase or sale.

Who needs a real estate lawyer?

A South Florida real estate lawyer can be extremely useful to any type of homebuyer. Whether you’re buying your first home or buying a second property in the sunny south, a real estate attorney is a necessity. While purchase documents are often required to be prepared by a lawyer, this is not the only step in which their services are useful. First-time buyers and those buying property for commercial use are especially at risk of running into legal challenges.

For more information on the home-buying process, and we how we can help make yours smooth, get in touch with Mark Schecter at Schecter Law today at (954) 779-7009.

The commercial real estate sector in South Florida is huge right now.

Between a bustling economy, growing population and more, South Florida is one of the finest spots to invest in, across multiple commercial sectors and niches.

The three reasons below can shed any kind of doubt you may have about the booming South Florida real estate market.

More Demand

Miami ranks eighth in the country in business growth and 18th for wage growth, with both beating the national average by around 1-2%.

From about 2012 to 2016, Miami’s population grew 8%. Broward County is projected to have a 1.8 percent growth rate by the end of 2018, from approximately 1.89 million to 1.98 million.

The city has weathered some major obstacles and the still population is increasing. Population growth is directly correlated with economic growth – that means more retail outlets, more office space demands, and greater demand for multifamily properties.

This population increase applies to the luxury multifamily market as well, encouraging more and more buys by the water. People are moving to South Florida, and this isn’t expected to stop any time soon.

Florida Taxes

Florida has always been a favorable place to be for taxes, and the latest tax cuts have only made it better. Florida is consistently ranked as one of the best states in the country for taxes. A recent Politicfact report states that Florida has the second lowest state taxes per capita in the country (1).

Florida also famously boasts its no personal income tax status. Entrepreneurs of all kinds continue flocking to the state for its favorable tax organization and its encouraging business atmosphere.

High Yields

Compared to many other parts of the country, and even Florida, Miami and the surrounding regions feature some really impressive yields. Investors consistently received 10% or more in 2016, and that trend has continued (2). High yields can be found all the way from South Miami and up to Orlando.

South Florida is a highly-desirable market. Few places in the country boast as consistent of yields, as steady as a population increase, and as safe of a tax haven. It’s just the kind of place smart real estate investors need to go.

Learn more about the benefits of investing in South Florida by speaking with a Fort Lauderdale commercial real estate attorney at Schecter Law today. You can reach us at (954) 779-7009.

  1. https://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2017/apr/13/rick-scott/yes-florida-has-second-lowest-state-taxes-capita-d/
  2. https://www.mmgequitypartners.com/south-florida-commercial-real-estate/

 

The major issues that affect the real estate industry change on a regular basis. The below concerns have been affecting both commercial and residential real estate recently are expected to continue to do so into 2019.

Before you conduct any transaction, it’s recommended to meet with a Florida commercial real estate attorney to discuss how these concerns might affect your deal and what affect, if any, they might have on the specific neighborhood and property you plan on investing in.

Rising Interest Rates

With continually rising interest rates, a wide range of effects can occur on commercial real estate markets. Some may be good in certain cases, for example, those who own rental properties might see a higher demand as a result of buyer hesitancy to obtain a mortgage. In other cases, retail spending can decline if consumers are more likely to save their money rather than indulge in impulse purchases due to higher credit card interest rates.

Mortgage rates are affected by more than the fed, so the effect of rising fed rates doesn’t always translate to higher mortgage rates. The effects of rising interest rates are sometimes are hard to determine and largely vary from one region to another. But it’s certainly something to think about as you plan your next commercial real estate investment.

Environmental and Weather Concerns

In Florida and other states, environmental concerns are a major consideration, especially with the unpredictability of hurricanes, flooding, and even sea level changes. With many types of commercial real estate investments being for the long-term, it’s essential to consider how environmental concerns will play a role in your investment.

Does the property you are investing in meet minimum flooding prevention building criteria? Is the area you are considering susceptible to hurricanes, and would any downtime from one affect your operation significantly? These are just a few questions to consider.

Housing Supply Issues

One circumstance that has favored commercial developers and investors in recent years has been a significant housing undersupply, including in many parts of South Florida and other rapidly growing regions.

This has driven both the rental and condo/townhouse market. Even older and outdated properties can be attractive for investors if they are located in key job markets and can meet rising demand. There’s no sign of demand slowing down either as the economy continues to remain strong and population levels increase in major metropolitan regions.

To learn more about how these and other factors might impact your next commercial real estate project in South Florida, call Mark Schecter, a leading commercial real estate attorney in Florida at (954) 779-7009.

As you deal with your next commercial real estate transaction, there is an almost endless number of legal issues that may arise during negotiations, at closing, or afterward. Working with a South Florida commercial real estate attorney is a must when dealing with any of the common legal scenarios below:

Zoning and Land Use

Proper due diligence will help you avoid most zoning and land use issues. When you rush into a deal, the possibility of an unforeseen zoning issue is always present, and it can be highly detrimental to your goals. Your attorney can assist with ensuring your property can be utilized the way you intend, obtain local permits for your business or any new construction, and handle other tasks related to zoning.

Assumption of Liability

Multiple due diligence steps are necessary to guarantee a successful commercial real estate transaction and ensure that you assume no liability from the prior owner. For example, there may be preexisting environmental hazards that you may be liable for once you acquire the property. This can cost a substantial and unexpected amount, however you can shift the financial liability to the prior owner with a properly structured purchase agreement.

Title Defects

A commercial real estate attorney in South Florida can handle your title search, and it is often recommended. Title defects can bring any transaction to a halt, and a thorough search is necessary to ensure that any hidden defects are uncovered. An expert attorney will be able to guarantee a clear and defect-free title prior to your closing. A worst case scenario is having to deal with title defects after you have committed to buying a commercial property.

Reps and Warranties

Representations are factual statements while warranties are promises of indemnity for false statements. Generally, buyers of commercial real estate will want a contract that is full of as many reps and warranties as possible that verify income, expenses, the condition of the building and more. However, sellers will often want to negotiate a contract that contains few if any reps and warranties, or selling the property ‘as is.’

Every situation is different, and that’s why meeting with a commercial real estate attorney in South Florida is of the utmost importance when dealing with any of these and the myriad other legal issues that may arise.

Contact Schecter Law today at (954) 779-7009 with any questions you may have about commercial real estate legal issues.

As a potential tenant, negotiating most commercial real estate leases is always worthwhile rather than accepting the initial terms that are given.

Considering the fact that the lease is one of the top expenses for any business, the effort spent on negotiating more favorable terms or lower costs will go a long way.

Below are some tips for negotiating your next lease, which is often easier with the assistance of a Florida commercial real estate lawyer:

Tip #1 – Look at comparable rents

It may seem obvious, but it’s essential to look at rents for comparable spaces in whichever city you are considering. This will help you find the best deal possible.

You will also want to consider your other costs, such as your share of insurance, maintenance and property taxes if it is a single, double or triple net lease.

Your attorney can help you identify exactly what costs you will be liable for and help you determine whether it is a favorable deal or not.

Tip #2 – Consider the length of the lease

Every business will have very different goals when it comes to their preferred lease term and the potential changes to their space that may occur in the next 1-3 years.

It’s essential to have a long-term plan in place prior to lease negotiations so that the most ideal term and flexibility options can be decided.

Established businesses may prefer a longer lease term which can typically result in lower negotiated costs, while startups or high growth companies may desire more flexibility and thus a shorter term.

Tip #3 – Determine the ideal lease structure

Lease structures can vary widely in commercial real estate due to the vast variety of different business circumstances that are encountered. Deciding between a single, double, triple, gross or percentage lease can be tricky, with many potential benefits and disadvantages to each option.

With triple net leases, the costs for maintenance, taxes and insurance are passed through to the tenant. Although this type of lease can be common in certain industries, tenant negotiations are still advisable. Potential monthly costs can be capped for tenant among other cost protections.

A double or single net lease passes on fewer of these costs but may have a higher monthly rent, while a gross lease passes none of these costs onto the tenant but rather includes them in the rent.

The wide range of scenarios that can be encountered during lease negotiations often necessitates a meeting with a commercial real estate lawyer in Florida. If you are currently negotiating a lease, contact Schecter Law today at (954) 779-7009.

For an investment as significant and large as real property, zoning and land use is one of many crucial considerations. Although it is more relevant for commercial acquisitions, residential real estate investors may also have zoning concerns regarding upgrades, new construction restrictions, etc.

A real estate in lawyer in Florida can serve as a valuable source of advice regarding zoning issues for any given property. Before you decide to move too far into any deal, you will want to take care of some preliminary zoning research on your own or with the help of your attorney, and not just rely on what the seller is saying.

Check current zoning restrictions

You should be fully aware of any current zoning restrictions to help you plan your utilization of the property. Local zoning laws will restrict how you can use the property from a business standpoint.

In addition, both federal and local zoning laws cover a wide range of other areas including parking requirements and availability, accessibility for disabled people, signage, size of the building, exit requirements, safety and health regulations and more.  

As you can see there are many complex areas to cover, and an attorney can assist with researching or advising on any of them to help you determine whether or not a property will meet your goals.

Are there additional restrictions?

There may be other restrictions in how you can develop or design your property. For example, it may be located in a historic area with strict development regulations. In other cases, it may have wetlands or floodplain restrictions that prevent alterations that would affect the topography of the land.

The area may have wildlife or endangered species restrictions. Your attorney can help you with researching these special scenarios so that you have a more comprehensive picture on every restriction before you decide to invest.

Consider the future

How will the surrounding area develop to help your business grow? Will you be able to add to the property in the future when your business grows? Will there be new businesses launching nearby that will add or take away from your investment?

Get familiar with local development plans and what’s going on in the area around you. It all has an impact for any real property investment. Investing in a bustling neighborhood where the local government or developers are spending large resources can significantly contribute to the appreciation of several types of commercial property investments.

Learn more about local zoning by speaking to a Florida real estate lawyer at Schecter Law today by calling (954)-779-7009.

Most commercial real estate landlords require the lessee to provide a personal guarantee as a way to secure themselves against the potential of a future default.

Although this is a common request, effort should be spent to negotiate any personal guarantee and other lease terms with the assistance of a Fort Lauderdale commercial real estate attorney.

This way, tenants can be sure they are entering a favorable contract and that there are no major issues that could make them liable for more than necessary in the future.

What is a personal guarantee?

A personal guarantee makes you personally liable for the costs associated with a default on your commercial lease. It will require you to pay for those costs out of pocket with your own assets. There will be a time and dollar amount limit on the term of the personal guarantee and other terms which can be negotiated.

Why do landlords want a personal guarantee?

Landlords request these because many businesses end up failing within 5 years or less. Because of the fact that many commercial leases are 3-5 years or longer and because of the large costs associated with finding a new tenant, landlords want the certainty that their tenants won’t default.

If a tenant does go out of business or defaults, they want financial reimbursement, and that’s where the personal guarantee ensures that any debts are paid. Aside from long established corporations with stable financials, most tenants will be required to sign a personal guarantee, but there is plenty of room for negotiation, like any term of a lease.

Negotiating a personal guarantee

Before signing any lease, make sure you fully read it and understand each of the terms and your obligation. You can negotiate with the landlord to limit your personal liability as a part of the personal guarantee.

Other potential things to include may be a term limit for the personal guarantee, for example if you sign a 5-year lease and prove yourself for the first 3 or 4 years, you may be able to request that it expires at that point. In other cases, you may be able to substitute a letter of credit for a personal guarantee which would then be used in the case that you default.

There are many other things to consider as you prepare to sign your next lease. Speak with a commercial real estate attorney in Fort Lauderdale at Schecter Law today with any questions by calling (954)-779-7009.