Screening and Qualifying Commercial Tenants Today

In commercial or retail property today, you should have some systems to help you qualify the tenants that you are working with.  Don’t be too eager to hand out property information without understanding who you’re talking to, and exactly what they are looking for when it comes to a new property or lease requirement.

Given that you may specialize in different property types and locations, you can have a questionnaire designed for tenant qualification.  You can also have different questionnaires for different property types.  Certainly there is a significant difference between office, industrial, and retail property.

Most property enquiries today will come to you through the Internet, the e-mail, or across the telephone.  You cannot start the qualification process until you get to talk to the people concerned.  So any e-mail or Internet listing should encourage the person to call you.  Up until that time, only provide generic and general information about the property.  You may even choose to withhold certain information until you can get to know about and meet with the relative parties.

Here are some tips to help you with the tenant qualification process:

  1. At the first point of contact, get the details of the person that you are talking to.  That will include Email, mobile telephone, address, and identity.  If any of this information is withheld, you should also similarly hold back property information.
  2. Understand how the person has connected with you and why that would be the case.  Have they seen a signboard?  Have they seen a property?  Have they spoken to other people?  When you know the answers to these questions, you can relate to the information that will need to be provided.
  3. They will have certain criteria that relate to property choice and selection.  Question them about the improvements, location, rental, lease terms and conditions, plus services and amenities.
  4. They may have a current business location which will give you valuable information about property usage.  Understand the timing requirements of any move from one property to the next property.
  5. The leasing process can be quite specific, and your client the landlord may have certain critical terms and conditions to be incorporated into any lease negotiation.  Ensure that you have fully understood the final leasing requirements that the client will negotiate through.
  6. Understand the zoning of the property and how the permitted use within the lease will integrate into the property or zoning limitations.  The lease document will need to accurately reflect property usage and control the tenant in occupancy.
  7. The tenant will have certain business requirements relating to staff, car parking, customers, property usage, hours of access, and configuration.  They may also have limitations on rental budgets, outgoings, and lease conditions.  Make sure that their requirements of match the prevailing market conditions.  The lease that you negotiate should be in parity with the existing market conditions.
  8. Don’t take the tenant to the property until such time as they have been fully qualified.  Understand if they have been talking to any other agents or brokers locally.  This can add further complexity to any negotiations that may follow from the inspection.

You can add to this list based on the property type and the local area.  The establishment of a checklist for the property type will help you greatly when it comes to tenant qualification processes.

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