Keeping your properties in good order isn’t just about aesthetic: it can affect your bottom line. Housekeeping is one key aspect to making that happen.
Every property manager knows that the goal is attracting and keeping the best possible businesses for their buildings, tenants who not only stick to the terms of their contracts, but who also take an active role in maintaining the upkeep of the property.
When tenants have been in the same building for a while, they will start to relax. They’ll be more tolerant of little lapses in upkeep practices on the part of the property managers. In many cases, the only time property managers start to stay on top of housekeeping is when they are trying to attract new tenants to the same building.
“The first impression of a new property is critical to any newcomer,” says Peter Sestito, Senior Property Manager at Armadale Property Management in Markham. “In terms of value, the condition of your property is essential to attracting and retaining new tenants. It’ll filter down to lease renewal and stable long-term relationships. However, you have to treat the new people and the existing people the same, if you want to keep a high level of quality tenancy.”
If your firm has set a high standard for its housekeeping practices, then you must look after your existing tenants with the same level of enthusiasm as when you first signed them. Solicit regular feedback from them, make it easy for them to send service requests or complaints to you, and address them right away.
“We have an online service request app that they can use as well as a phone line,” says Sestito. “If a tenant sees something in the corridors, they’ll bring it to our attention. The faster that tenants can communicate with us, the quicker we can bring things back in order.”
Housekeeping needs will vary from one property to another. Depending on the location, budget, and even the building itself, a property will sometimes require more attention than others.
For example, properties in the downtown cores of major cities will often see many passersby visitors often leaving messes. Buildings that are open to the general public require much more diligent attention from custodial staff. This will not only keep existing tenants happy, but increase the perceived (and real) value of the properties whenever new tenants arrive.
“At Armadale, we have clients who have been in our Markham business park for over twenty years,” says Sestito. “When you can retain clientele for that long, it demonstrates to other prospects that you are a high value investment that can result in higher lease amounts and stable cash flow for the firm.”
“Pride of Place” is an old concept that says, very simply, that everyone involved in a property takes responsibility for its care and upkeep. Some of these practices are written down in lease agreements and are usually part of general housekeeping. However, Pride of Place goes beyond the written agreements to a broader, positive attitude.
“How you treat your own home ought to be how you treat the area you work in,” says Sestito. “At Armadale, we have a lot of tenants who embrace Pride of Place, especially at our Markham campus, where there are a lot of office buildings. We’ve had tenants there who’ve been in place for over 20 years, and they’re wonderful because they know us, there’s a relationship there, and they take as much pride in their surroundings as we do.”
A Pride of Place philosophy creates a holistic and collaborative approach to good housekeeping, involving management, tenants, employees, and contractors.
For example, a tenant may lodge a request for pest control and invite the property management to investigate the cause. Often, a reason for the appearance of insects or rodents are the tenant’s employees keeping food at their work stations. Having that open relationship allows the tenant to resolve the issue on their own simply by passing a new internal rule for their workers.
In addition, if cleaning contractors tend to show up during inconvenient hours for tenants, a Pride of Place approach allows the tenants to simply request of the contractors, who are hired by the property managers, to adjust their schedules. The contractors, too, are often long-time employees of the property managers and are all too happy to oblige in order to maintain their good relationships.
As Sestito says, “happy tenants lead to a well-run building, new and long-term tenancies, and, of course, happy landlords.” Good housekeeping is critical to this process. Explore how your property management firm can make the most out of this very simple practice to create a win-win for everyone.