If you operate a business, there is a good chance that you lease office space. For an expense that is so significant, and a decision that is so important, the relationship between a tenant and landlord should be one of mutual support, collaboration and growth; not an adversarial or frustrating relationship. At COPT, we’ve always considered our tenants as partners because their success is crucial to ours.
While having a good landlord cannot guarantee you land the next government contract or win your next keystone account, an ineffective landlord can lower your productivity, increase costs and bring disruption to an otherwise well-oiled operation.
Here are a few characteristics of a good landlord:
- Communication: A good landlord keeps tenants informed.
- Awareness: A good landlord is aware of tenants’ problems.
- Involvement: A good landlord involves tenants in property improvements.
- Familiarity: A good landlord is familiar with their tenants’ business models.
- Flexibility: A good landlord will work with tenants to meet their needs.
Good landlords anticipate and solve problems for tenants.
Most of the underlying strain between landlords and tenants is caused by ineffective communication. If your landlord does not communicate clearly, concisely and transparently with your organization, the relationship will be ineffective, which could ultimately lead to higher costs and lost time for you.
Your landlord should be proactive in ascertaining and understanding your needs. Are there specific reports you need to manage your business? Are there ongoing issues of which they need to be aware?
If you’re in the process of looking for new space, pay particular attention to the communication style of your landlord. Challenge them in the process to see how they respond and how well they follow up. If their communication style does not meet your expectations before you lease space, it likely will not meet those expectations once you are a tenant.
Have you ever had a friend who always seems to know exactly what you need? This is the type of relationship you should seek to have with your landlord. A good landlord should be familiar with your business model, at least to the point of knowing how his or her decisions regarding the property could affect your business.
It’s easy for a landlord to say they’re customer-service oriented. What’s tough is proving it. Similarly to asking potential employees for references, ask your landlord for demonstrated proof of how well they solve problems for tenants and address tenant needs.
Make sure you’re working with a landlord who has the financial wherewithal to execute on the tenant improvements and other commitments they make to you. "Solve for the customer" is a great slogan, but if your landlord doesn’t have the stability to focus on the long-term, you’ll never be on the same page.
Whether you have already entered into a commercial property lease, or are considering an arrangement, keep these four characteristics of a good landlord in mind:
- Clear Communication
- Proactive Relationship
- Track Record
- Financial Stability