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What is a Leasing Agent?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 16, 2024
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A leasing agent, or commercial leasing agent, works for the landlords of shopping centers or office buildings to find tenants. He or she earns a commission for finding tenants and usually handles all aspects of leases. Excellent negotiating skills and the ability to recognize a qualified tenant are crucial characteristics of a good agent.

Landlords expect the leasing agent to rent their properties to responsible commercial tenants for a fair price. They require a fair return on investment (ROI), while tenants require a fair rent and the right location for their business. The agent is hired to serve the landlord, so the tenants must take responsibility for ensuring that the location and terms of the lease meet all of their requirements.

A prospective commercial tenant should ask what the total rent is for utilities, as well as if there are any other fees. The prospective tenant should consider details such as air conditioning, noise level, zoning regulations, and availability of parking. Room for company growth should be considered to be sure the space will be large enough so the company will not be forced to move again too soon.

The leasing agent must find out as much information from the prospective tenants as possible to ensure a good fit for the landlord's property. Both the agent and the prospective tenant should be sure and informed about the leasing decision. Neither party should be made to feel rushed and the lease is not legally binding unless it is signed by both the tenant and the landlord.

The agent usually has a meeting with the prospective tenants to communicate the terms of the property lease such as the amount of rent and any regulations. When, and if, an agreement is reached, a copy of the lease is sent to the prospective tenants requesting a signature so that the landlord can then sign the lease agreement.

Real estate experience is helpful in becoming a leasing agent, but knowledge of each particular property up for lease is absolutely essential. Many people in this job receive a salary plus commission, but this may depend on whether the position is temporary, part-time, casual, or on a contract basis as opposed to full time. Some post secondary education is usually preferred. The commission is usually based on a percentage of the monthly rent the new tenant will pay.

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Discussion Comments
By anon969247 — On Sep 08, 2014

Can anyone (non license employee) discuss and have tenants sign a lease in Texas? Or does the property manager have to be present?

By anon325658 — On Mar 17, 2013

Can the landlord have an agent sign on his behalf?

By anon280276 — On Jul 16, 2012

@anon36652: Yes, I assume when you say signature that you are referring to having initialed all the pages and signed in the designated areas. The lease only needs your name and signature to be considered valid.

Once you leave the office, the manager will sign all the appropriate pages and this is just to verify the lease and input it into the system. They are probably asking you to find someone to take over your space, which can be difficult.

Your best bet is to send them a certified letter from a lawyer or attorney to more or less scare them out of letting you out of your lease.

By anon54971 — On Dec 03, 2009

Anon5854: I used to work for a commercial Realtor at a well known firm in Georgia. You cannot lease commercial nor can you sell commercial/residential property in Georgia and take a profit from an individual.

You cannot act as a Realtor, if you know a buyer and then know a seller you cannot get a percentage from them. The only way you can lease commercial property or sell commercial/residential property in Georgia is if you are a developer and actually own the land/building.

However, to act as a Realtor without a license is illegal in the state. To gain profit from a buyer and seller is illegal, if you are not the seller. I know a man who did it and I tried to warn him. He is now being personally sued and facing jail time.

By anon36652 — On Jul 13, 2009

I signed a lease agreement for an apartment in Riverside Ca so I can go to college, but I found free living arrangements with a relative. My lease does not start till September. When I signed the agreement it was only my signature, the manager or Landlord never signed any paperwork and the copies they gave me only have my signature, is this still a legal binding contract.

By anon34638 — On Jun 25, 2009

i'm buying a business but my credit is poor. what do i do? who can i get to cosign the lease for me? is there some company i can hire to cosign?

By rameeti — On Nov 25, 2008

Is a leasing agent obligated to release the name, address, etc. of the owner to the lessee when the lessee requests it? I have a previous lessee that has not had his security deposit returned to him and needs to file a small claims court action but does not have the owners name.

By anon19306 — On Oct 09, 2008

I'm in CA, I'm 22 and work for a residential leasing and property mgmt co. in SF (I'm not entirely new to this, but still wet behind the years. It takes time, knowledge and good people skills to be good at this). You CAN make a living, but it takes time to get to that point and develop a client-base and get referrals. a realtor and a Real Estate Salesperson/Agent are two different things. To be associated with the NAR (Nat'l Assoc. of Realtors) or CAR (California Assoc. of Realtors), or "REALTOR" with the special "R" logo has specific requirements and fees and one must promise to maintain certain standards of quality/ethics in all business dealings (which one should have regardless!). The other title (agent/salesperson) is the fact that you're licensed by the state. The other affiliation makes you look good, puts you in touch with other professionals, and keeps you updated on what's going on in the real estate world; but its not necessary to sign up with them. The way it works in my office is this: The property owner signs an agreement that we will charge them a fee of (typically) 60% of the first month's rent for finding qualified tenants. We advertise, show the place, and screen tenants (running credit and eviction checks). Once we have all the info, we create a lease, present all info to owner and get the final OK. If all is a go, we take all the funds (first months rent plus deposit) into our trust account, let funds clear, deduct our fee, and mail the owner the info packet with all the tenant info and signed lease and the remaining funds. We handle everything through the move in and its a very enjoyable business to be in. In order to act on behalf of an owner in the state of california you must be a licensed agent unless you have temporarily been given power of attorney if the owner is sick or out of town (but it can only be temporary, not indefinite). Getting your license isn't too costly nor too difficult, you just have to study what will be on the test and not get too worried. I passed on the first try! (and I was the youngest one in the room, dressed in sweats and totally cool about it... everyone else was talking to themselves trying to remember answers to questions and they freaked me out! I was the first one out of the room! I was so glad when i got that letter 2 weeks later... Good luck guys!

By garyharpersr — On Sep 11, 2008

I want to be able to start a business just leasing houses for landlords, do I need to have any special license?

By anon17285 — On Aug 26, 2008

help. if you acted as a leasing agent would you collect your commission (if you were commission based) monthly from landlord or at the end of a contract? or at the beginning? any thoughts? KD

By anon8436 — On Feb 13, 2008

In florida, you do have to have a real estate license to rent property, to lease property you don't, it's very confusing, also, above it was stated a real estate sales associate and a realtor are the same things, when in fact they are two completely different things, you can be a real estate sales associate and not be a realtor, but you can't be a realtor without being a sales associate, basically if you are a realtor, all it means is that your broker is a member of the NAR (National Association of Realtors), it's is nothing more than an association, and you have no more right than an associate with or without the membership

By anon5854 — On Dec 08, 2007

In GA, do you have to have a real estate license to lease commercial space and if not can you legally take a commission for finding a prospect?

By pressbox22 — On Jul 22, 2007

In Florida, does a leasing agent have to be licensed as Florida Sales Associate (Realtor) since they are negotiating leases?

By anon1395 — On May 29, 2007

I am new to the idea of being a leasing agent and wanted to know if I have to pay money to get a license and go to classes etc. Also, can a leasing agent make a decent living? I hope this questions is not to much. Thank you.

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