If your organization has an existing lease with more than a year or so remaining on the term, you may want to consider approaching your landlord with an offer to restructure the lease. Nonprofit organizations are looking to reduce costs in the current economic environment, and restructuring an existing lease may be one way to do that.

Organizations of all types should periodically review their existing space to determine if it is time to expand, downsize or use their space more efficiently. While most landlords do not want to accept additional space in a down market, there may be some financial benefit to doing so. If, for example, your creditworthy organization has four years left on its lease of 100,000 square feet but you really only need 75,000 square feet, you can approach your landlord about restructuring the lease to reduce the space while extending the term by another few years. Having a guaranteed income stream for an additional five years might be enough incentive for your landlord to accept a small portion of your existing space in exchange. By committing to an extension of your current lease term, your organization can avoid carrying unused or underused space or investing the time and costs involved in subletting the excess space.

Even if your existing square footage is adequate, you may want to restructure the lease to obtain a tenant improvement allowance (to refurbish existing space) in exchange for a lease extension or other concessions your landlord may seek.