Managing buildings with government tenants is a unique endeavor in the commercial property management world. We manage several Social Security office properties and a DMV office in Northern California. We have found that government tenants—rightly so—have among the highest expectations of any tenant type for their commercial property owners and managers. This is certainly reasonable, given that they occupy high quality properties, pay high quality rental rates, tend to be long term tenants, and pay on time—unless the State is having a budget crisis.
Here are a few tips that can lead to a healthy and profitable relationship with your government tenants:
- Return Calls the Same Day: When you receive an inquiry or concern, tackle it the same day. Do not let items build up. Government tenants are very thorough and, if they have a list of concerns, they will be very vocal about having them resolved quickly. Governmental agencies often have the resources and dedicated staff to ensure that their property is run exactly as is required, including janitorial standards, lighting standards and temperature standards.
- Do What You Say You Will Do: When you tell a governmental tenant “I’ll get right on that” or “We’ll get that fixed”, you had better get it done promptly. Government tenants do not forget your promises and will readily remind you if you are not living up to what you said you would do.
- Thoroughly Understand Lease Requirements: Government leases are extremely detailed. Government buildings are often required to remain at a certain temperature, janitorial and landscaping requirements tend to be very detailed and lighting must be checked and replaced frequently. These things are often called out specifically in the lease and, as the manager or owner, you had better understand and follow through on them.
- Create a Relationship: Bring bagels and coffee once a quarter or stop by just to check in. Investing in these relationships up front will make for a much easier relationship over the term of the lease.
A property management company is only as good as its processes. Everyday we get hundreds of requests, tenant concerns, etc. It is very important that you put the systems in place to ensure that each item is logged, managed and successfully dealt with. We use the Yardi and Building Engines platforms for managing finances and tenant issues and have a well-managed workflow process to ensure that balls are not dropped.