In commercial property management don’t let your tenants get out of control. Stay close to your tenants and ahead of their intentions. The tenants in your managed properties are the lifeblood of the income and the property performance.
So many times I see property managers get very busy with ever more properties and more tenants; this is usually the result of agency success or fee growth requirements. Unfortunately when this happens the first thing to suffer is the manager’s ability to get the job done and keep on top of tenant issues and relations.
Here are some of the things that happen when you forget or disconnect with your tenants:
- The existing tenants will start to talk amongst themselves. This can be a bit like an out of control ‘freight train’. It gathers speed and then crashes at the end of the line.
- When the tenants stop talking to you, then you know you are in for a difficult time. Soon they will be talking direct to the landlord and major property issues will be well out of control.
- Small lease issues such as rent reviews, options, renovations, and inspections, will be all that harder to negotiate.
- They will start to talk to other real estate agents about their leasing needs
- The vacancy factor in the property will rise as tenants move or relocate elsewhere
- The permitted use of the premises is likely to be ‘stretched’ beyond what is allowed
- Rent and other lease commitments will be slow to be paid.
The tenants in a property expect to know you and for you to know them. When you think about it, they cannot talk to anyone else about the property without going to the landlord direct and that is not what you want.
In medium properties with lots of tenants, all of the tenant communications will need to be well managed and controlled. Systems will help you do that.
Here are some ideas to help this process and build a good tenant communication system in commercial or retail property management:
- Communicate with all of your tenants weekly in a retail property and fortnightly in an office or industrial property. Yes, I know this will stretch the workload, but a simple telephone call is easy to do.
- Meet with the tenants monthly on site so you can keep current lease issues moving ahead, and you can then also keep minutes the meetings for future reference.
- Stay well ahead of critical dates and other lease issues. Raise the rent reviews, options, lease expires, and renovation issues early.
- Negotiate professionally and keep records of everything that happens between the tenant, the landlord, and yourself.
- Inspect the premises frequently to ensure that you know what is going on inside the building or the premises themselves.
These simple rules will help you build a better property management portfolio for your agency and the landlords that you serve.