Tenant Retention Plans – A Checklist for Commercial Real Estate Agents

In today’s property market, your current tenants in your tenancy mix are important to the future of the property.  When you create a tenant retention plan, you can optimise the income potential for the property.  That being said, a tenant retention program should be part of a professional property management and leasing service provided to landlords by agents.  Good commercial property agencies provide this specialised service.

It should be said that tenant retention is not just about lifting the rent for the landlord; in fact, that is probably the wrong strategy to adopt in your plan.  It is better to have a few priorities in balance so your retention plan forms a key part of the business plan for the property.

In particular, a good retention plan should include the following as goals:

  • Stabilise and minimise the vacancy factor
  • Create a group of prospective tenants for the vacancies in the property if and when they arise
  • Support the tenant mix so that tenants can occupy in comfort and build their businesses
  • Control occupancy costs for the landlord and the tenants within realistic benchmarks
  • Underpin the market rental for the property which in turn can support sustained property values for the landlord
  • Allow for tenant movements and property refurbishment strategies in parts of the property as planned at the beginning of the business or financial year
  • Help keep tenants in occupancy for the long term and in balance with the landlords investment requirements

Retail Importance

It should be said that a retention plan is highly important in retail property given that the stability of the tenant mix is required to keep customers coming to the property on a regular basis.  Any vacancy in a property is quickly seen and will detract from the image that a successful retail property needs to set.

So how can you establish a plan of this type?  Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

  1. Understand the supply and demand for tenancy space in the local area today.    As part of that process get to know what new property developments are coming up that will impact the available space ratio.
  2. Consider your property as it is today and determine what refurbishment and relocation issues should be merged into your retention plan.
  3. Split your tenancies into high value tenants and low value tenants when it comes to the future of the property.  Some of your tenants you cannot do without and everything must be done to encourage them to stay in a property.
  4. Anchor tenants will normally be secured on long leases.  The instability or change of an anchor tenant can impact all speciality tenants in a major way.  Find out when the anchor tenant lease expires and just what the anchor tenant thinks about the property today.  Do they intend to stay in the property?  When does their lease expire?  Can they do more to work in with the other tenants in the specialty areas?
  5. What levels of trade exist in the retail property and what tenant types are more successful than others?  This information will help you find new tenants that suit the customer needs in the property shopping centre or retail property.
  6. Is your property servicing a particular need?  In retail property this could mean ‘convenience’ or ‘destination’ shopping.  When you know what works in a property, you can do something more with it.
  7. Common area use will have impact on special property precincts such as ‘food courts’ and just how customers move through the property.  Take a survey of those factors and form and opinion as to how successful they are now.  Changes may be required to help in tenant sales and retention.
  8. Look at all the leases in the property and identify any leases that have market rent reviews, options, or expiry dates in the next 2 years.  Those tenants or leases will be a major focus of your retention plan.

You can add to this list based on your property and the overall location.  Importantly you should create a tenant retention plan that can help improve the performance of any property in any market.  That is why you were engaged by the client in the first place; correct?