Maybe the government regulation as practised by cronyist goverments. Seriously, I don't think that a hypothetical government enforcing standards for square feet measurement would create a huge barrier to entry into the property business.
You'd prefer it to be legal if your gallon of gas only actually contained 3/4 of a gallon?
Govt gets more involved as the amount of money goes up.
The NYC govt doesn't much care about a small deli. It gets seriously involved if you're developing a whole block, or trying to build a wal mart.
"Most barriers to entry are created by government regulation."
I did not say:
"Most government regulation creates barriers to entry."
But I think it suffers a different kind of barrier to entry. It's an unsexy line of business, and for people who want to own property it has to compete with mindshare for the far more familiar field of residential property management. So you don't see the average Joe thinking he can buy an office building and make it profitable--what does Joe know about office buildings, compared to houses and apartments?
I'd see really high-grade dishonesty in the entertainment industry, the gambling industry, in defense contracting or oil and extractive industries.
These are the industries that occur to me who wield monopoly power and/or buy governments.
Sometimes I hope that companies like YC will disrupt the higher educational system in the US.
Going through YC is a much more strait forward process than education. The process is essentially join YC and work your ass off to make yourself a job.
This makes a lot more sense to me than, pay a bunch of money for college, learn a bunch of random junk, get a degree after a set period of time, then show that degree to people who will hopefully be impressed and possibly give you a job.
HE is a place where you go to interact with people and ideas fundamentally different from what you know, receive mentoring on how to consider such ideas, and how to create those ideas on your own. It does not claim to make you a smarter individual, and its value is largely dependent on your own drive to make the experience a success. In essence, it is exactly the same as YCombinator - even in the obfuscated and oft frustrating admissions processes, which is what I believe the article refers to.
If you want a white collar job in the US, you must go to college. Yes, there are some outliers, but having a degree is damn close to a hard requirement.
Pretending that is no longer true and indulging the liberal arts fantasy just makes the problem worse. There are too many kids who come out of college with debt and a degree in not having people take them seriously.
Regardless, this bad recession has dramatically underscored the value of college experience as an important thing for someone who places even a mild value on lifestyle security. Or to put it another way, it is a huge risk to bet that in the future, college experience will stop being seen as important. You might be right. But if you aren't, and you experience misfortune, your expectations are going to be much better with a college degree to wave around than without.
The Bachelors is required simply because it's an easy screening mechanism; the colleges have already whittled the list down to a more manageable size for the manager to go through. It used to mean that a person had an interest in learning beyond what was required, which was nice for jobs. Now it's just that their parents/friends/teachers have told them to go.
Really I'm saying simply that people are expecting and demanding the wrong things out of a liberal arts (traditional definition) degree. Most of the time what they'd really want is a vocational degree, or at least something more similar to what the English do with law school, where you enter directly out of high school.
Now we only need legislation to mandate this.
The comparison to higher education is apt. Prices at community colleges (and many universities) are set in dollars per credit hour. Credit hours, though, aren't the same as clock hours. I taught a three credit hour class that met three times weekly and lasted fifty minutes a session. The school, naturally, advertised this discrepancy well in advance of taking payment. (I do wonder whether there's any case law about that.)
It seems that office managers are setting prices in dollars per real-estate square foot, which is a different unit of measure from the commonly understood measure of area. Maybe they should advertise "real-estate square feet of office space" instead of "square feet of office space" to eliminate the confusion that comes from overloading that phrase?
(Whether this sort of linguistic imprecision and flux is a good idea is a separate argument, to be sure. This sort of shenanigans increases the burden-- and therefore the cost-- for people trying to purchase a good or service.)
Yes, it does appear plain that this "common spaces" business is a fig leaf that covers annual rent increases. And yes, that's dishonest. But it's of no practical import, since every tenant knows their rent is going up one way or another once their lease expires.
We're really making a big deal over whether "rent increase" is called "rent increase" or not.
 Well ok, I would measure the area myself to find that the area actually differed from what I was paying for.
If a landlord raises the rent on a 400 square foot space, they're simply asking more money for it the same space. If a tenant wants to pay that price for 400 square feet, that's his choice.
On the other hand, if the landlord claims it's 420 square feet, no matter how much he charges per square foot, the tenant is paying for something that simply doesn't exist.
I get the semantic dishonesty, but not the practical issue.
In practice, though, total moot point: the last time I looked for office space (earlier this year), the first agent I called sent me scaled floor plans for over 100 places. There were rsf numbers to go with them, but the dimensions of every office were right there.
Lying about the objectively measurable characteristics of your product is wrong.
"Take your fork and jab the steak with it. Don't jab it so hard that it gets stuck in the steak, though. Keep tendorizing the steak until it is like pudding. Make sure it stays together, though."
Sorry I managed to offend you, but you work in a field that tends towards grey areas, so maybe invest in some thicker skin. (Hey, look at my field!)
(Non-SEOs may not realize, but health is in the top five categories for search volume on some networks.)
I find it offensive because you're wrong and the people here are modding you up. I'm not crying into my soup or anything.
Thanks for your caring comment though.
Besides, who rents based on a sqft number? You always visit and work out the space before signing. It's not eBay!
Probably in this case it would be enough to require inclusion of quotient between exclusive and total space in all advertisements and agreements.
There should be some bounds on advertisement. Can commercial lie about facts? Can it promote alcohol? Can it promote medication without obligatory warning?
This is currently an inefficient market, and more information would substantially improve it. And objectively measuring square feet is not particularly difficult or expensive.
What will probably happen is, eventually the misrepresentation of square footage will get so egregious that there will be a movement by commercial renters toward some sort of third-party measurement. The landlords will go along, because they want to rent their office space.
The first complication with this suggestion is that in cases of exploitation of information asymmetries like this, you don't know what you don't know. It's nice that this issue is getting a little public scrutiny here now, but one has to wonder how long it's been going on? And getting an issue like this more widely recognized, to a point where demand for transparency would be self-sustaining, is likely to require a lot of someone's time an effort to bootstrap. If a subset of buyer/leasers were to take this on openly, real estate owners would almost certainly seek to punish them directly, in addition to mounting their own counter-education campaign >>> politicization. Alternately, some third party might sense a commercial opportunity here, e.g., to provide public education and neutral measurement services -- but that's the same sort of business model that makes "trial lawyers" so popular...
It's unrealistic to assume that commercial renters are going to be broadly responsive to individual demands for transparency before the overwhelming majority of real estate seekers permanently embrace transparency as a make-or-break requirement for buy/lease decisions.