The service charges for a commercial property average €3.50-7.50/sqm/month, and include security services, cleaning, maintenance, electricity, heating/cooling and costs related to the common spaces, said Brigitte Schmitt (photo), Head of Property Management at DTZ Echinox.

“In shopping centers the tenants have a big advantage as costs for security, cleaning, electricity, maintenance of the common spaces are paid partly by the landlord and the tenants. Cost reductions at each of these positions could be obtained by 20 – 30% - this being also the reduction that could be obtained compared to the prices two years ago regarding individual contracts”, said Brigitte Schmitt.

These cost cutting measures have coincided with drops in occupancy rates and flattening rents.

Owners have to walk a fine line between maintaining the quality of service and cutting back on cleaning, security, marketing – but not to institute cost cutting measures that might adversely affect the property.

“Postponing small landscaping and renovation jobs is a short term measure that pays off quickly. Some participants on the market reduced the operating hours at their centers – which is a drastic measure and should be thought of very wisely as customers her are used to the existing opening hours”, Head of Property Management of DTZ Echinox pointed out.