Tenant Retention Strategies in Retail and Commercial Property

female figures shopping bags
Retail shopping centre management requires a different approach to leasing and tenant analysis.

Tenant retention is a critical part of retail property leasing today.  Every good retail property should have a tenant retention plan in place to preserve and protect the income from the rental in the property.

Every commercial and retail property leasing specialist should have a specific approach when it comes to tenant retention and lease negotiation.  It is a specialist process and it does command a good fee.  Focus on the quality properties and clients when it comes to providing the service.

Here are some ideas to help you build a tenant retention strategy into your commercial and retail property agent’s services.

  1. Review the current property market so you can understand the market rentals that apply to current lease negotiations with new tenants.  That market rental will have some relevance on the lease negotiations with sitting tenants.
  2. Identify the types of incentives that are available to influence new tenants to relocate.  Those incentives are likely to be of interest to some of your tenants as they consider staying in your property or relocating to another.  The landlord of your property will need to be prepared to provide incentives to sitting tenants.
  3. Split the tenants in your property into the categories of good tenants and redundant tenants.  At the time of lease expiry, it is the good tenants that should be encouraged to remain within the property on new favorable lease terms and conditions.  The redundant tenants or those that are of little benefit to the property overall should be vacated given the circumstances of lease termination that apply.  There is no point in keeping bad tenants in a property as it will have impact on the other tenants in the mix and the income profile.
  4. Consider the requirements of renovation and refurbishment that need to occur in the common area and within certain tenancies.  These factors will need to be merged into your lease negotiation, tenancy placement, and relocation plan.  In many respects, a tenant should be responsible for their internal renovation requirements as part of ongoing occupancy.  They may however try to push the issue to the landlord as part of a new lease negotiation.
  5. Develop lease standards that should apply to most lease transactions.  Those terms can be recommended to the landlord and approved for future use as part of renegotiating any lease or bringing a new tenant into the property.  The lease terms should include market rental, the type of rental, incentives, rent reviews, and option terms.  Making clear decisions with regards to these matters will help you when it comes to finding new tenants and understanding how they can integrate into the tenant mix and lease profile.
  6. Look at the balance in the property between anchor tenants and specialty tenants.  Carefully assess the tenancy mix profile with regard to each, and the stability of the anchor tenant as it applies to the local customer demographic.  Stay close to your anchor tenant or tenants to ensure that they integrate well into the function of the property.  Get your specialty tenants involved in the seasonal sales activity of the anchor tenant.
  7. As a general rule, all rent reviews and option negotiations should occur early.  This then says that you should monitor the critical dates in all current tenancy lease documentation for that very purpose.  Stay well ahead of the critical dates that are coming up.  Be prepared for the negotiations and brief the landlord accordingly.

So these are some other things to get you started with a tenant retention plan.  You can graph the tenant movement and tenant profile in your property.  When you make the right lease decisions in a timely way, the income for the property is protected, and the vacancy profile is minimized.  That then produces a great tenancy mix.

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Author: John Highman

Commercial Real Estate Broker, Coach, Speaker, Author, Broadcaster.