Safeguarding and understanding the needs of existing tenants should be a principle objective for any property manager.
Yes, there are budgets to do, annual service charge statements, client reporting, health and safety issues to address, contractors to sort out and so much more, but what really makes the difference is understanding which tenants are in trouble, which ones are looking to expand and what to do with that knowledge.
Ideally, a landlord should not learn that their tenant is moving elsewhere when they receive an application for consent to assign or sublet. The managing agent should be well aware of the drivers behind this move and have reported it to their client so that all avenues for relocation within their portfolio can be explored.
Similarly, it isn’t a property managers job to make life tough for the tenants – over-zealous management regulations, withholding consent unreasonably or electively passing over a tenant request to replace broken light bulbs because you’re too busy or consider it too trivial to deal with today are sure ways to lose your tenants trust and confidence.
“The problem is that many property managers think they are doing their client great service by laying down the law, avoiding expenditure whenever possible and making themselves hard to contact” comments Ben Oughton, MD at Encore Commercial. “In reality, it is entirely counter-productive and a major contributor to tenants relocating at the first opportunity of a break clause or lease expiry”.
The reality is that not all requests from tenants can be accommodated. The cost, longevity and suitability for other tenants on the same estate all have to be factored in, but every property manager should demonstrate respect for their tenants by listening carefully to their concerns, working diligently to resolve issues and explaining why something may not be viable or take longer to achieve than ideal.
Tenants are the lifeblood of any property investment, and so the property manager’s focus must be on the details that matter to both client and occupier.
“At Encore, the philosophy has always been to manage property in such a way that we would wish to occupy it ourselves. That’s not just to do with the standard of maintenance and its speed of turnaround, but being listened to properly and treated with integrity. Building lasting relationships takes a long time, and we recognise that trust and confidence is lost almost immediately through broken promises and buck passing” comments Ben Oughton.