PurposeDespite the growing diversity of lease structures in different global economies, the existing literature related to property service charge mechanisms has been largely confined to the UK property market. This study aims to examine tenants’ perceptions, experiences and satisfaction with being responsible for service charges in New Zealand, where major office submarkets are dominated by alternative forms of leases with different service charge responsibilities.Design/methodology/approachThe study uses a structured survey of 107 major tenants of New Zealand’s listed property trust-owned properties located in Auckland (where net leases dominate) and Wellington (where gross leases dominate) complemented by ten in-depth interviews with senior property managers of tenant organisations. The collected data were analysed using various statistical tests and thematic analysis.FindingsThe results identify that tenants who are directly responsible for service charges are significantly more dissatisfied with their operating expenses (OPEX) responsibilities than tenants who do not have direct service charge responsibilities. They are dissatisfied with the interpreting, budgeting, calculating, accounting, allocating and auditing processes in the service charge management process. Tenants who are directly responsible for service charges are significantly more dissatisfied with the operation and maintenance procedures of their buildings and have weaker relationship strengths with landlords. Tenant perceptions of being responsible for service charges vary with their power relationship with the landlord, lease expectations and priorities, financial constraints, willingness to take part in the management of the premises and trust in the landlord.Originality/valueThis research highlights the importance of understanding the complexity of service charge mechanisms in countries where there are no regulations or codes of practice governing them and their impact on tenant leasing behaviours, experiences and satisfaction. Here, the importance of developing more widely applicable codes of practice representing countries with different lease environments is highlighted. The findings also emphasise the importance of understanding the dynamics of key market agents that actively create lease environments and how they interact and behave within these contexts.
Journal of Corporate Real Estate – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 3, 2018
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