A property that serves the tenants well will preserve lease occupancy and rental cash flow. In this property market place, the retention of tenants is fundamental to the immediate future. We are at the beginning of a new property cycle and tenants are very much part of the property future and optimisation.
To keep tenants happy, it is necessary to consider all the amenities and services that are provided within the property by the landlord. They should serve the tenant well at all times. Maintenance of the amenities and services will also be important to ongoing levels of comfort that the tenants experience. In simple terms, look after the tenants with great services and amenities in the property. When you do this you look after your cash flow and preserve better levels of building occupancy.
Take the standard office building, and then consider the issues that really impact tenant occupancy. It is the things that the tenant uses every day or walks through that will impact their impressions of the property. In a retail shopping centre, this equation also includes the customer that visits the property. Presentation and convenience of property usage is critical to the services that a property provides.
Whilst every property is different, the following list of essential property amenities and services are a good guideline to consider when providing tenants with the levels of occupancy comfort they would expect. You can also use this as a check list for the property inspection that you undertake as a leasing manager or property manager seeking to optimise lease occupation.
- Gardens adjacent to common entrances they must always be well maintained and cleaned. The entrance ways to properties are the obvious first levels of property impression. They must be clean and attractive at all times.
- Modern well lit entrance ways to the building are fundamental to the tenant impression process. Good levels of lighting directed within the features of the property entrance way will give both security and prestige to the building.
- Directory boards in common areas must always be kept up to date. They should also be well maintained as to tenant detail and tenant location. The directory board is accessed by the visitors to the building and needs to give the best impression.
- Common area layout and access is not only important to the entrance to the building but also to the individual common areas on each floor in multiple level properties. The common areas need to give the right impression as tenants move through to their own leased premises. When you think common areas, you must consider lighting, cleaning processes, ease of access, signage, and levels of presentation. Is up to the landlord to maintain these common areas to the highest possible standards.
- Common area presentation and lighting must always be of a high standard and well maintained. Common area lighting should be inspected weekly by a trades person to replace tubes and globes efficiently.
- Showers in common areas are becoming a critical part of tenant occupancy. Many tenants expect the convenience of house within the premises. This allows their staff to undertake exercise or walk to work. Showers are an improvement on the standard tenant services offered and can easily be incorporated into the building and floor design.
- Toilets in common areas will always show the age of the building. Many landlords refurbish the floor but forget about the toilets. It is the toilets that will age date the building and hold back the rental the landlord is trying to achieve. On average, toilets need to be refurbished every 5 to 8 years. This process needs to be staged and incorporated into the building budget of expenditure. A busier building will create a more frequent refurbishment need and process.
- Toilet presentation and pedestal numbers per floor are critical when you consider certain types of tenancies. Most particularly call centres will create the problem in to or usage and presentation. These types of tenants operate extended hours of trade and impose pressures on property occupancy.
- Tea rooms and kitchens in common areas are essential part of tenant occupancy. They may be in common areas, or they can be incorporated into tenancy design. Importantly there must be available and operate efficiently. If they are in common areas, this becomes a special consideration for the landlord to consider.
- Lifts access to common areas and tenancies needs to incorporate good security processes. Fortunately today lift access is usually controlled by security card process. This can be taken down to the level of the individual person accessing the individual area within the building. The better the security controls that the building can provide, the better the services to the tenants.
- Tenant connection to building plumbing and communication risers will always be a necessity. The efficient access to these communication areas allows the tenant to establish their own communication systems linking to the street and the outside world. Efficient access to plumbing services and risers allows the tenant to design the tenancy board room and kitchen wet areas that they require.
- Air conditioning operational hours and after hours capability needs to extend beyond normal operational hours as required. Many tenants today require air conditioning out of normal operational capability. This will become a tenant expense for the extended hours of operation, and the landlord needs to provide some cost recovery process for this extra air conditioning.
- Communications systems availability such as telephones and internet are part of every business. Access to the building risers will be part of the connection to the communications out in the street. The as built drawings for the property will give the tenant the necessary information to connect to the building risers and drop their cables to the main street.
In summary, in offering a great building to the tenants in this market place, you need the essential building services and amenities being well maintained and optimized. When this is done, the tenant enjoys occupancy and can be with you for many years as part of the building cash flow.