In commercial property management, tenant communication is critical on an array of things. Every day there will be issues in and around the managed property that will impact occupancy and or building use. The greater the number of buildings that you manage, the more complex the problem. (NB – you can get plenty of shopping center management tips here in Snapshot)
So, what are the targets with this? You want the tenants to connect with you when they need help and or when things are changing or uncertain in and around the property. You could say that it is part of the risk management strategy for the property overall.
The larger properties (shopping centers and office towers) achieve this communication strategy with a tenant services manager (TSM); that person is appointed to keep up the flow of information with tenants and all occupants. The role is a good idea, particularly if you have lots of tenants in the building, and or the property is complex.
Roles and Duties
Here are some elements of the tenant services manager role and how it can work:
- Meet and greet – a good tenant services manager will be known by many tenants across the entire property. They will be the ‘go to person’ when things are needed from a tenant’s perspective. They will be out in the property every day walking around, and as part of that connecting with all tenants in a controlled process. Observations can be made with tenancies and things can be monitored. Notes can be made of tenant or presentation issues; premises problems can be actioned early.
- Security and risk – they can keep a focus on property security zones, doors, alarms, cameras, locks, security passes, and keys within the master key system. The TSM can manage the entire key system in the building in conjunction with the Security Guards and or Patrol personnel.
- Regular tenant meetings and inspections – as a rule, most tenants in a commercial or retail property should be communicated with weekly, and met with quarterly (or more frequently if there are current issues). The meetings and contact records can be kept and referred to as part of the tenant retention plan in the property.
- Introduction of new tenants to the property – when a new tenant moves into a property, there are lots of things to tell them about the asset, and help them with. For starters, there are directory board and signage issues, security, air conditioning, lighting, and fit out planning matters. The TSM can help with all of that. The TSM can introduce the new tenant to others in the proximity of the premises; this is relevant in cases of retail shops.
- Lease compliance – every lease will have special terms and conditions to be monitored and checked. For example, breach matters, refurbishment upgrades, property presentation, and waste disposal are to name just a few. The TSM must understand how to read and interpret a lease and the legal situations that evolve from that.
- Regular tenancy inspections – all tenancy and premises inspections can be recorded and documented. That process helps with lease matters and problem events.
- Make good arrangements at end of lease – at the end of a lease, the TSM is the best person to do the ‘make good’ inspection, given they should know the tenant well and also the requirements of the lease and the premises. They can inspect, take photographs, create follow-ups, and work with the tenant to achieve desired outcomes at the end of lease.
So, these things are valuable in the property management process of any large office tower or retail shopping center. The tenant services manager can take these things and compile a report each month about the property, the tenants, and the leases; that report can be given to the landlord. The TSM is a valuable part of your property management team.