When is the best time to renegotiate my lease?

When is the best time to renegotiate my lease is a complex question. As with any decision regarding your lease including renegotiating a commercial lease; seek council with a qualified real estate attorney who specializes in commercial leases. We’ve observed certain guidelines, although it’s important to note that these are not universally accepted standards, as I believe no such standard exists.

The recommended timeframe for beginning negotiations is 3 years from the expiration of the lease. If there is an option to renew the lease (“Option Period”), you would want to consider 3 years from the last day to exercise the option. For instance, if your lease expires in December 2030, and your last day to exercise option is 6 months before in June 2030. You start negotiating in June 2027. This way, you have three full years to figure things out. Having a lease abstract is crucial for grasping these timeframes.

Why three years to renegotiate my lease?

A consensus has emerged among our clients, highlighting a three-year period as the sweet spot for reevaluating lease agreements. This timeframe is not random but is rooted in several compelling reasons that benefit both parties involved. Here’s why a three-year timeline is crucial for commercial leases, informed by insights from industry practices and client experiences.

The Strategic Advantage of a Three-Year Timeline

  • Uncertainty for the landlord.
    For landlords, a three-year timeline offers a comfortable forecast period to navigate market trends effectively. This period allows them to accumulate sufficient lease agreements and comparable market data (comps) to make well-informed decisions regarding their properties. Engaging in lease discussions three years in advance demonstrates a tenant’s thoughtful and informed approach towards the viability of their location. Landlords, much like anyone else, aim to avoid risks and uncertainties. This strategic planning phase ensures both parties can work towards common goals with confidence.
  • County, City, State, and Zoning Considerations
    Dealing with municipal regulations involves many complexities. These include county and city laws as well as state and zoning requirements. Such complexities make it clear that additional planning time is necessary. It’s crucial to anticipate and overcome bureaucratic hurdles. This ensures a smooth transition for businesses planning to move or renovate. Adding an extra year to the planning process helps deal with these challenges. This extra time can mean the difference between a seamless move and unexpected downtime. The downtime could be due to permitting or licensing issues.
  • 1-2 years to find a new location.
    Before you even begin the negotiation process you need to start searching for alternative locations. This takes time and it gives you and idea of what’s available in the area.
  • Build out cost
    Embarking on lease negotiations or renewals with a three-year lead time allows landlords to recognize a tenant’s diligence and serious intent. This planning is particularly crucial when considering the significant costs associated with building out or renovating commercial spaces. If the build out time is low, then you can reduce the 3 years to a 2-year timeframe.
  • Intentionality
    Beginning the talks early allows the landlord to understand you are being intelligent in your decision, and intentional in your due diligence. This isn’t a bluff; you are trying to do what’s best for business and the landlord.

Innovative Strategies for QSR and Fast Casual Restaurants

Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) and Fast Casual dining establishments have shown remarkable agility in using the three year planning window. Our multi-brand franchisee clients, in particular, have employed smart strategies for relocation, including brand switching with minimal downtime and concurrent development of new sites in anticipation of existing lease expirations. This proactive approach not only minimizes operational disruptions but also strategically positions businesses for future expansions.

The Role of Inventory Logistics in Retail

For retailers, inventory logistics is another critical aspect to consider within the three-year planning framework. Efficient inventory management is vital for reducing losses and making sure a smooth transition to new locations or business models. Early discussions around lease renewals or terminations allow retailers to plan their inventory strategy effectively. Aligning it with business objectives and market demands increases their ability to execute a move.


When should I renegotiate my lease? Adopting a three-year timeline for commercial lease discussions offers a strategic advantage, and encouraging an active, informed, and beneficial relationship between tenants and landlords. This approach not only addresses the uncertainties in the real estate market but also supports effective planning for municipal, financial, and logistical considerations. By adopting this schedule, businesses can understand the complexities of commercial leasing with greater confidence and strategic thinking.