It is no secret that commercial and retail property managers can get very busy across a wide array of matters relating to tenants, clients, and property activity. The larger the property, the greater the potential issue. The best property managers are excellent managers of their portfolio workloads and tasks. That doesn’t mean of course that the job is ‘stress-free’ even for the best people. Pressures always exist.
Without some form of control and organisation, a property manager can get ‘overloaded’ with the ordinary things that may not matter too much. The ‘important stuff’ then gets left behind or will not be done in a timely way. Ultimately, the client gets the ‘raw end’ of the service solution and the performance of the property declines.
Know Your Role as a Property Manager
Think about this. The role of a commercial or retail property manager is mainly to control the physical and financial functions of a managed property and to improve asset performance over time. ‘Stresses’ can change the balance. There is no point managing something if it is not being improved and optimised for the client.
This workload problem is not an isolated problem. There are too many underperforming and or overloaded property managers around. They can find it hard to provide the essential controls and strategies that their properties and clients deserve. Solutions are needed for professional services to evolve and strengthen.
The Property Management Control Points
What can you do? Get a workload or service problems like this under control. There are some things to do here. Some of the main ones for starters are:
- Concise reporting – develop a set of landlord monthly reports that are comprehensive, accurate, and timely. It is commonly the case that most professional property management software programs will produce the reports quite easily; you simply must know how to use them. It is then a matter of the report checking and assessment before providing financials to the client each month. Also, track any recommendations made to the client and what instructions may have evolved from that.
- Communication to tenants and landlords – keep a record of all communications and conversations with these people. Matters relating to leases and occupancy can take days if not weeks to resolve. Keep good communication records so people will not later claim ‘misunderstandings’.
- Inspections of the property – this should be a regular event and comprehensively documented. Keep records of all inspections and control the overall processes in an accurate way. Use checklists. Provide clear details to the client of recent inspection findings and recommendations.
- Optimising maintenance activities – plan the property maintenance over time and do so by Keep a track on spending and progress of maintenance each month. Have the landlord approve the budget before the year starts.
- Financial management – this will include income and expenditure as well as capital items. Ultimately it pays to have some accurate budget to work to and target. Comments and adjustments can then be made each month and quarter as the year progresses.
- Reduction of arrears – there will be arrears across the tenant mix in most properties, and the larger the property, the more complex the problem. Check the arrears every morning, when first getting to the office.
- Lease and critical date management – a computerised diary system of all the critical dates in the leases will help you significantly here. Stay ahead of all lease date issues. Review the list each week and look outward to the next 12 months for upcoming events and dates.
- Risk reduction – risk can be many different things across both financial and physical matters. Keep accurate ‘day records’ of property events, calls, contacts, meetings, and injury events. If something could be a matter of risk, then fix it early. Building and property compliance will be part of the risk assessment process; you may need an engineer to review the property every six months for changing risk elements.
- Vacancy leasing – watch the lease expiry dates and monitor the intentions of the tenants when it comes to occupancy. A ‘tenant retention plan’ will help you reduce the threat of occupancy.
These are the basics of property management control. You can do more things with this. Ultimately, a property manager that is in control of their properties and their clients is a valuable person to have on the team. Ensure that the ‘checks and balances’ and support structures are there to allow the property managers and the overall division to thrive.