When it comes to the leasing and management of any commercial or retail property, it is common to come across difficult tenants and or situations from time to time. The levels of difficulty will vary but importantly you should be acting with concise and accurate responses in each and every case.
The document that supports you when tenants and events become difficult will be the lease document. You can add to that the processes of law and local legislation. This then says that the leasing or property management expert for the property should be very familiar with lease interpretation and local property law.
So tenants will become difficult for a number of reasons and at times when you least expect it. Staying close to the issues of tenant occupancy, lease documentation, and property performance will be essential to seeing and identifying property performance issues and lease defaults.
Here are some ideas to deal with difficult tenants and potential situations:
- Many property disputes with commercial and retail property stem from the inadequate responses from the landlord or property manager to occupancy issues and maintenance. When something goes wrong in the property of a physical nature, that can have impact on tenants and customers, it is important to control the events and rectify the problem as soon as possible. As part of this there will be elements of risk and liability should anybody be injured. Many landlords and property managers have exposed themselves to greater risk and liability through slow and inappropriate responses to maintenance problems.
- When something goes wrong within a property, immediately refer to the terms of the lease and see how any response should be generated. There will be covenants that apply to the landlord and the tenant in most occupancy cases and situations. Take notes of conversations and events as they occur, so that any future disputes and disagreements can be minimised.
- If any decisions or instructions are issued from the landlord regards the difficult tenant or existing situation, it pays to respond to the landlord with a receipt of the instructions confirming your actions to be taken. Unfortunately landlords and tenants will argue about what was intended or instructed. The notes that you make today as part of the process will be your major source of protection in the future.
- It pays to have a small group of experienced maintenance contractors that can respond to problems quickly and effectively. They should also know how to respond within guidelines that you have set for the property. They will be your eyes and ears should anything more difficult evolve or follow from the property problem.
- If you are dealing with a more standard occupancy matter relating to the tenant, and where factors of risk and injury are not physical, then it is likely that the dispute will be centering on matters of occupancy. In most cases it will be the lease document that will be the fall-back for the actions to be taken in the situation. On that basis it will pay you to understand the lease document in great detail; you may need to consult with a solicitor to help you with this knowledge and to assist you with the appropriate legal response. If you are issuing any notices under the terms of lease occupancy and lease documentation, those notices have to be legally correct and suitably detailed. If you make any errors here, you may very well jeopardise the landlord's situation and ability to claim on the tenant.
Every commercial or retail property will have challenges from time to time. A detailed property approach to any disputes and defaults is wise in each and every situation. Understand your lease documentation, the instructions of the landlord, and the laws and legalities that apply.