Knowing who your landlord is before signing a commercial lease is something soon-to-be tenants rarely think about.  Who your landlord is can have everything to do with enjoying a peaceful tenancy and being left alone to focus on your business.

Getting married the day after a blind date would be about the same as committing to a lease without checking out a prospective landlord beforehand.  It rarely works out and before the relationship fails there’s lots of stress followed by expensive consequences.  The word miserable quickly comes to mind

Landlords come in a variety of flavors that are either actively or passively involved with their properties.  Actively involved types may manage the property themselves.  Perhaps the property is a family investment and personally managing the property gives junior a job.  Or maybe a third party manager acts as the landlord’s agent but the owner is still active at a personal level with the day-to-day  operations, (the type “A” owner).  Active landlords may also be an in-house management company for a development company or the management division of a REIT, (real estate investment trust).  Kimco, Regency Centers and Simon Property Group are examples of retail REIT‘s.

Passive landlords will generally manage their property through an agent such as a property management company.  They may only visit the property occasionally and you may or may not ever meet the actual owner during the entire term of your lease.

Regardless of the different types of landlords, what you really want to know is if they’re a bad or difficult landlord.  Do they manage their properties professionally and have the respect of their tenants or are they slum lords?  Worse yet, is your landlord a crook?  One that manipulates leases to their advantage at the expense of their tenants.

How would you know if you’re about to sign on with a bad landlord?  One way is to talk with a few tenants at the property and ask the right questions.  The other way is having that knowledgeable agent/representative we’ve discussed before looking out for you.  Someone with experience will know what properties to avoid and what questions to ask.

In these recessionary times there’s no excuse for taking advantage of tenants and today most landlords are mindful of it.  But the bad landlords are still out there, sloppily managing their properties, making mistakes and intentionally or unintentionally making their tenants lives miserable.

There’s no reason to get married on the first date, so don’t.

To your prosperous business.  Cheers!


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