Because of the nature of commercial properties, tenant issues can often require extra work compared to residential ones. Every property manager knows that, whether their property is an office building, apartment complex, or something else entirely, you can be sure that somewhere along the line someone living there will do something they shouldn’t. And this is why it’s important to get the right help when you need it.
1. Know the Law
You’re not a lawyer, and neither are most of your tenants. If you or one of them finds out that someone has broken the law, it’s important for everyone involved to understand their rights and responsibilities under said laws. Sometimes your tenants might be required to do something about an issue that’s not their fault, or they might be able to sue someone else. Either way, the right legal help can make sure everyone is in compliance with what needs to be done.
2. Get Suitable Software
Managing commercial properties often offers more data, and in many cases requires more data, than residential ones. You could make do with spreadsheets or even hand-written logs (you wouldn’t be the first manager who chose this path), but ultimately it’s important to make sure you can access everything quickly when necessary.
Programs designed for this can give you an instant overview of pretty much anything you need for any given tenant. If you’re having trouble keeping up with everything you need to know, commercial property management software is the right tool for the job. It can help keep track of who’s paying what, when, and why, and can help you schedule visits to make sure the tenants and their possessions are safe and sound.
Technological advances in this space mean that you can get the right programs to fit pretty much any situation. There are even mobile apps available, which means you don’t have to be at your desk to access the information you need.
3. Communicate With Your Tenants
It sounds obvious, but good communication between you and your tenants is the best way to minimize conflict. If you have a good relationship with everyone who lives in your properties, chances are they’ll come to you first if something needs fixing or if they have an issue that needs resolving.
Publicizing office hours is one of the simplest ways to make sure people know when they can come to you without being seen as interrupting your time. If you have an approachable personality, the tenants might even take to stopping by for a chat or to ask about your day. Tenants who know you care will be less likely to cause problems in the first place, and these kinds of open lines of communication can help nip issues in the bud before they grow.
Make sure everyone knows how they should contact you, and whether there are instances where it’s better for them to go through another person in the building first.
4. Schedule Regular Visits
Scheduling visits for regular inspections and maintenance is a good way to make sure your tenants know they can rely on you (and that you can rely on them). If there’s no way of knowing whether someone might have fallen behind on their rent payments, it’s important to keep an eye out for anything suspicious.
It’s also important to have regular checks so you can spot any damage before it becomes a major problem. Depending on the kind of properties you manage, it might be worth scheduling visits at different times for different kinds of tenants. For example, if your commercial properties are mostly office buildings, you might want to schedule your evening visits earlier in the day and your weekend ones earlier in the week.
Whatever kind of schedule you have, it’ll probably take a bit of trial and error to get it right. Just remember that ongoing communication is the key so everyone knows what to expect.
5. Have a Plan
Just like residential properties, commercial ones can have problems that need solving. It’s always a good idea to have a plan B in your back pocket In the event one of the plans isn’t available for any reason. Whether this is because someone has canceled or whether there’s been an unforeseen circumstance, you should always be prepared to move on to the next step.
Sometimes this means you have to take a different approach or use an alternative resource, but it can still get the job done. Being well-prepared for any kind of scenario is the best way to ensure both your tenants and their property are safe and secure at all times.
Even if you’re just starting out as a commercial property manager it’s never too early to start planning for the future. Get the right resources in place now so you don’t have to go looking for them later. Commercial property management is one of the most rewarding jobs in real estate, but it can also be quite time-consuming. Being able to get on top of everything you need to do as a commercial property manager so you can focus on what really matters is key.