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How to keep your national tenants happy

If I’ve learned one thing about my tenants over the decades, it’s that it doesn’t matter if it’s...

Richard CrenianIf I’ve learned one thing about my tenants over the decades, it’s that it doesn’t matter if it’s national or local, you need to know their business well.

However, there are certain nuances of working with a tenant national in scope. Knowing these ahead of time can ease the negotiations for a smoother transaction and also ensure a mutually beneficial and long-term business relationship.

What do national tenants expect?

What they desire is to be left alone. Communication overdose can be exhausting for anyone. It’s likely that the Corporate Real Estate or Leasing Manager representatives are managing hundreds of locations, and your property is just one piece of the pie.

This does not mean do not communicate with prospective tenants. But when you do, make sure value and insight is added each time. And of course, give tenants the opportunity to provide feedback.

If they can rely on you for local expertise and your property meets their building implementation standards, that’s a huge plus.

Local knowledge is valuable

Real estate is an imperfect market – it’s a geographical game. Invest in a property manager consultant who knows the idiosyncrasies of the local market. For example, a national manager based in Toronto may not know gravel instead of salt is used in Regina during the winter. 

In Regina, it’s important to have a “spring sweep” and have the property lots cleaned promptly for the national tenant’s customers. How would a Toronto-based property manager know that without prior knowledge?

Tenants need to meet specific requirements

The lease governs behaviour of the tenant and landlord and national tenants can’t afford to have a massive task list for one location. Expect that leases will be standardized with certain clauses to be non-negotiable such as a colour of the sign, or promotional banners.

Also, prepare in advance all the drawings of the building so your national tenant knows exactly what to expect. Specifics on the space, heating and ventilation is information you should have on hand.

Save your national tenants as many steps as possible and go the extra mile to make your building expert available to answer building and code regulation questions. This will go a long way in serving your tenants.

Going above and beyond for your national tenant

As a property owner, make sure you have top-notch property managers and encourage them to be in touch with you often to convey local knowledge. Tell them you operate on the philosophy that “There’s no traffic on the extra mile.”

This really isn’t any different than how you would treat any tenant.

If there are changes occurring within the property, be transparent. Parking lot improvements, building upgrades need to happen sometimes. Do everything you can to mitigate the impact on their business.

Can construction happen in the evening? Forethought will be appreciated when presented with solutions to any perceived challenges.

The long-term gain with national tenants

National tenants can be a huge win as they are well-known entities that often attract other businesses to the property.

If you are a property owner and have other locations in the region, or across Canada, this can be a competitive advantage and help you grow a national tenant base.

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