When you manage commercial or retail investment property, there are some things that must feature in your daily action plan. When this is done correctly you will stay away from many common problems and you will have the properties that you manage well under control.
One of the big challenges in commercial property management is setting up a system that keeps you in front of the property issues and hence allows the property to perform well.
In some commercial real estate agencies, the property managers are ‘fully loaded’ when it comes to the numbers of properties that they manage, and on that basis it is really hard for them to keep ahead of current issues. The problem is not so much how many properties that they manage, but the numbers of tenants that exist in each and the complexity of each reporting and control requirement for each landlord. Let’s assume you do not have that problem, and if you do, then you know how to handle it.
So let’s return to the issue of focus in your daily property management job. Here are some big issues that must be controlled in some system that supports current and future activity.
- The leases in the property are high on the list of priorities. You must know the essential terms and conditions of all the leases and just what the critical dates are. The fact of the matter is that no two leases are the same. You must regard each lease as unique and special. For this very reason, and when you take on a new lease or tenant, you must read through the lease comprehensively and pick up all the key dates and actions that are required of the landlord and the tenant. From that point onwards, the dates must be responded to correctly and in a timely way. When a property manager is overloaded, these are the first things that get forgotten, and that is where mistakes are made. The damage is not easy to repair so be careful here.
- Beyond leases there will be other documents associated with the tenant. They can be side agreements and licenses of many types. Importantly you should ask questions from the very start of any management to ensure that you have all these extra documents covered and understood.
- Tenant relations should be maintained productively and positively at all times. That will include attention to detail so that disagreements and disputes are kept to a minimum. Keep in contact with all of your tenants on a regular basis.
- Every landlord will have special requirements of reporting and control. They will also have factors related to approvals and documentation. Make sure that you know what they are and implement those requirements. The monthly reports to and for the landlords of a property are really important.
- Maintenance issues and failures will happen frequently in any property. Ensure that you have all the records and rules to back up your actions and responses in any maintenance event. When a maintenance failure occurs, response is really important. Follow up all repairs after the process to ensure that they were done to the right standard and in the right way.
- Legalities and liabilities are a real concern in commercial property management. Tenants love to sue someone (you and or the landlord) when something goes wrong. The also like to avoid paying rent at any opportunity. For this very reason, the actions and focus of the property manager should allow for all current factors of risk and liability. You cannot make mistakes that expose the tenant to injury and the landlord to liability.
All of these issues are very important in your commercial property management career and job. There are others that you can add to the property management process and the list. Importantly you are implementing a system that keeps you ahead of property issues and events for the landlord.