“Key Tips In Maintaining Commercial Buildings For Rent” written by Mike Marko
Looking for tips on how you can maintain your commercial buildings for rent in an easier way?
Keeping commercial rental property in good condition may look easy. But in reality, it’s “easier said than done”.
Managing a property, especially a commercial building, requires a lot of tough work. As the property manager, your primary responsibility is to keep the building in good condition to preserve its value. But are you doing enough to keep it that way?
In this article, we will talk about the key tips in maintaining commercial buildings. We will focus on the six areas that need more attention.
Maintaining Commercial Buildings For Rent
As a property manager, you need to be aware of the types of rental you are managing and what is needed to get the most profit out of those rentals. Commercial properties are buildings that are designated for businesses to do business and thus they need to be maintained in the best possible condition to attract stable and thriving businesses for rental. When managing commercial buildings the property is your most important asset. In order to keep it profitable, you need to preserve it and keep it in good condition.
Before proceeding to give some excellent tips for maintaining commercial buildings for rent, let’s first discuss what a commercial building is…
What Are Commercial Buildings
Commercial buildings are structures that have 50% percent or more of the floor space available for business use and are leased for commercial purposes. Commercial buildings for rent are normally occupied by businesses and used for conducting business activities. Most commercial buildings are additionally used for public, industrial, and commercial purposes. They are used to create a professional business environment for the businesses occupying the commercial building.
The commercial buildings are not used for residential functions and are normally zoned by city planners for only business activities and uses. Examples of the activities or businesses that are done inside a commercial property are retail shops, food sales/service, office space, religious worship, warehousing and storage, healthcare, education, and public assembly.
Commonly, commercial buildings are owned by various individuals and group entities who construct them or build them for profit. Since this kind of building is used to make a profit, maintaining and keeping it in good condition is a priority and the main goal for the property management company running the commercial building rentals.
Importance Of Maintaining Commercial Buildings
As the property manager, it’s your responsibility to keep the property in good condition to ensure the safety of the building and its occupants as well as keeping it as a desirable location for businesses to set up their business operations. A commercial business can house many different types of businesses into one building and is a profitable asset of your property management business.
The key to a commercial building to be profitable and continue to be fully occupied by business tenants is your ability to keep the building in the best possible shape in order to remain valuable. Normally, businesses and business tenants are looking for a place that can offer their company employees and customers safe. That is why it is advisable to make the building a healthy and safe place to work and visit. Since the business tenants are looking for a place to stay for a long time their companies seldom hesitate to invest in upgrading or controlling interior condition as well as in preserving the building itself. Keeping the commercial building you are renting in the best possible condition will reduce tenant complaints about the building and maintenance issues and it will increase satisfaction.
In the real estate industry, commercial buildings for rent are typically looking for long-term tenants as long-term tenants typically will give your property management business a stable and continuous income.
Having a regularly contracted facility maintenance company on call can greatly help in maintaining your property. When finding a maintenance company you need a company that can typically perform the following tasks easily and affordably:
- Save time to search for a technician to complete the task or repair needed.
- Minimize the worry if the job will be handled correctly and in a cost-effective manner.
- Help to spot damages quickly and correct them efficiently when needed.
- Perform preventative maintenance to avoid potential high dollar repairs caused by unforeseen issues.
- Propose budgets and maintenance repair schedules to avoid spending too much money on building upkeep and repairs and avoiding negligence while keeping the building running as best as possible.
Most property management companies have little or limited experience in handling the maintenance and repairs for a commercial building. So to avoid any missteps or mistakes for the businesses occupying the commercial building it is recommended that you hire a reputable, proven, and dependable company to maintain your commercial buildings maintenance and repairs.
To better understand what a commercial building requires in maintenance and repairs we will discuss six areas that should be addressed when it comes to maintaining commercial buildings for rent…
6 Key Areas To Maintain In Commercial Buildings
As the property manager, it is important to know and understand which part of the commercial buildings for rent you need to focus on. There are six major areas of a commercial building that need to be addressed as each area could affect the overall performance of your rental property.
The exterior of your commercial building could tell what kind of commercial building you have and what types of businesses would be attracted to renting the commercial spaces within the building. Maintaining the exterior of commercial buildings is critical because it will make the first impression on your business tenants and their customers that do business with them.
If the exterior of your building looks pleasant and inviting then it could leave an impression that your building is well taken care of and it’s properly maintained. A properly maintained commercial building exterior relays to tenants and customers a very professional feel and gives the businesses occupying the rental space credibility as a business location.
Maintaining the exterior of commercial buildings involve maintaining the lighting, sidewalks, and the hardscapes.
Here are the aspects of your exterior that should be focused on.
When the public or other businesses drive by the commercial building you want it to be noticed as a professional and well-maintained building in both the daytime and at night. Commercial exterior lighting systems normally face very harsh conditions due to weather and aging of the building which makes exterior lighting for the building subject to problems beyond burned out lights.
Some problems that could occur in the exterior lighting are burned out lights, lighted signs fading over time, some lights have acrylic lenses that have a tendency to turn yellow over time and lamps can have dirt, bugs, and even birds’ nests in them over time.
The lighting in the exterior would have a major impact on the overall appearance of your commercial buildings for rent. It is advisable to keep all the lights clean and working. As the property manager, it would be your responsibility to check and update the exterior lighting systems from time to time. Staying on top of external lighting issues will improve visibility and promote a safe environment for your commercial building for rent.
Along with the exterior lighting, you should also pay close attention to your building’s sidewalks. Commercial properties have a high amount of foot traffic surrounding the property and that is the main reason why it is important to repair sidewalks to prevent injuries among tenants and pedestrians. The sidewalks must be paid close attention throughout the year with cleaning, maintenance, and repairs done timely and regularly.
Hardscapes and landscapes are what gives a commercial building appeal and character. A building with no plants or water features gives a cold appearance and is not as inviting as a building surrounded by nature and beautiful hardscapes and landscapes.
Maintaining hardscapes as well as the landscaping of commercial buildings will boost curb appeal. Pavers in the landscape should be inspected and cleaned every three-to-four months and determine whether the pavers must be repaired or sealed.
Regular maintenance and upkeep of the landscaping include the following:
- Planting perennials for season-round, low-maintenance appeal
- Lawn upkeep
- Fertilization and replacement/repair
- Tree and shrub care
- Adjusting the watering schedule based on seasonal needs
The first impression of customers or visitors have when entering your commercial building is when they enter the lobby area of the building. Having and maintaining a professional and clean lobby is key to building the commercial building as a place where businesses would want to locate and run their businesses from. Depending on the types of businesses occupying your commercial building your building’s lobby normally sees more foot traffic and has a higher visibility than other areas.
The building lobby is the first impression on your clients, customers, and VIP visitors as to how well the building and businesses located in the building are operated. That’s the reason why as a property management company overseeing rental of the commercial building that it is advisable to maintain the lobby regularly to ensure it remains clean and safe. Aside from that, never hesitate to give extra effort in adding more aesthetics like pictures or art to your lobby. It should be beautified professionally and make sure that the floors and windows are properly maintained.
All commercial building should have some sort of security for the building. Whether it is remote security cameras or hiring a building security company this is important for ensuring the safety and welfare of business tenants, customers, and others using and visiting the commercial building.
Retail properties, shopping centers, and large department stores are magnets for crime. It’s important to add a top of the line security on commercial buildings for rent. Even office buildings and smaller businesses have been increasingly targeted for break-ins. It’s advisable to have a security system installed and running for police review when needed even if you have a small property. It’s vital to regularly check and monitor all security systems to make sure they are operating properly.
How the commercial building presents itself for the business tenant, customers etc is key to finding the best types of businesses to occupy rentals within the building. Adding decorations like art or nice wallpapers is essential for day to day impressions and can help you attract more tenants. Holiday decorations can have a positive impact on tenants and visitors but can tend to become costly and need to be maintained regularly. If it is your desire to have seasonal decorations you need to make sure that your seasonal decorations are high quality, professional-looking, and tasteful in order to make the best impression. you will also need to evaluate the costs of these types of seasonal decorations and if it is necessary or cost-effective to provide…
As the property manager managing commercial buildings for rent you need to be aware that you are responsible for cleaning of common areas and sometimes of the business areas as well. Often cleaning includes the maintenance, repair, operations, and daily cleaning of the facility.
Most commercial buildings run with an unattended lobby and outsource cleaning services to a contractor specialized in cleaning commercial offices and office space. When hiring a cleaning company it is advisable to assign a facility manager and know and understand their cleaning responsibilities and require them to complete cleaning tasks and how these tasks will be reviewed. The cleaning needs should be discussed with the facility manager in order to procure the proper cleaning supplies for floors, windows, and other surfaces. Cleaning services either in-house or outsourced need to be regularly reviewed for completeness and satisfaction to avoid building rental tenants complaints…
Most commercial buildings tend to be multi-level buildings and thus have to provide staircases and elevators to access upper-level floors. Since elevators and stairs transport tenants and customers you should make it a priority to properly maintain, repair, and keep these areas clean. Having elevators and staircases that easily and safely accessible is necessary to make sure that tenants and customers can move safely from floor to floor of the building ensuring their safety in well-lit elevators and secure stairwells.
Every commercial building is required to provide a safety plan for tenants and customers so it is key to understand the safety issues that could face your building. Safety includes everything from security systems to evacuation plans. When developing safety plans for the building you need to pay attention to the stairwells or exits to the building. Stairwells and exit doors are the evacuation point in case there is an emergency on the commercial building.
- Numerous codes and guidelines should be followed in this matter:
- Handrail size and placement
- Requirement related to the distance from the stair tread
- Weight load that the handrails must be able to bear
- How far the handrails must extend beyond the first and last step
- Fire codes and building lighting codes
- The property or facility manager should also regularly assess:
- If railings are secure
- If the stairwells are clean
- If there is adequate slip resistance within the stairwell
- If there is any obstructions or unnecessary debris in stairwells or in front of exit doors that need to be removed
The way your building was designed and built gives it the aesthetics to stand out from other commercial buildings. Additionally like we’ve mentioned in other sections you should never hesitate to add aesthetics to your commercial buildings for rent. Currently, buildings are boasting their cutting edge design and technologies and commercial elevators have become state-of-the-art technological people movers.
Adding art or professionally produced sign directories is part of the aesthetics of a commercial building as well as maintaining clean and well-lit staircases, elevators, and public restrooms.
The basic principle of elevators is to safely get tenants and customers to their destinations. As the property manager, you need to make sure the common area like an elevator is kept clean and safe with maintenance including replacement of burnt out cab lights to increase visibility and enhance the aesthetics of the elevator.
For a commercial building to receive a certificate of occupancy for business tenants it must be deemed safe for use by local and state fire and safety inspectors.
Emergencies can’t be avoided and that is why it is important to have a crisis plan. A crisis plan is normally required prior to any occupancy or rental of the commercial building.
Specifically, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requires all commercial building to have the following safety features addressed:
- Exit routes on commercial buildings should be permanent
- Address the fire resistance-ratings of construction materials used in exit stairways
- Describe openings into exits
- Define the minimum number of exit routes in the workplace
- Address exit discharges
- Define locked exit route doors as well as exit route doors
- Emergency lighting for common areas and exit signs
*** Please note this OSHA list is just a sample of what is required. Please consult with OSHA requirements and inspectors directly to meet all requirements…
As the property manager, it is your responsibility to update emergency lighting and discuss these requirements with tenants to ensure they understand the crisis plan an exit strategy.
5. Office Spaces
Commercial buildings for rent are used for different purposes depending on the type of business tenant and use required by that tenant. If your property is rented by a company to be their office your main responsibility is to make sure to provide maintenance and a clean workspace. This can increase employee productivity as well as meet any requirements or terms of the lease for rental of the office space.
Maintaining clean offices and keeping common areas of the building safe can also improve the impression of visitors and office or business tenants.
When maintaining office space there are three areas that you need to pay close attention and these three areas include carpeting, HVAC system, and wall paint…
HVAC Stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. Keeping the HVAC system in working order should be a top priority in every office space. It is hard for a business to operate if the building is kept too hot or too cold so working with business tenants to find the perfect environmental condition or control for the building is key to making the tenants renting the commercial space happy and satisfied.
As the property manager, make sure there is a proper HVAC operation through:
- Regular maintenance and upkeep by testing the heating and cooling system
- Constant monitoring of the HVAC system performance
- Keep reminders to replace filters to promote air quality
- Regular review of inbuilding tenants to ensure HVAC systems are efficient and meet requirements of those businesses.
Having up to date painting can mean everything for making commercial building tenants happy and comfortable with the office or commercial space they are renting. Regular painting and touch-ups are a critical aspect of maintaining the proper aesthetics of a commercial space. You can hire a contractor or ask the in-house personnel to complete the painting job. Also, make sure to be specific in the right paints, brushes, and materials to ensure a quality project.
The carpeting of your commercial buildings for rent is also important. The dirt and grime in the property’s carpeting will accelerate wear and reduce cleanliness. Regular vacuuming is required and developing a deep cleaning schedule for carpets can help to avoid carpet replacement and reduce costs of maintenance of the carpets inside the building.
When contracting outside or employing a permanent employee to do carpet maintenance you should employ a company or individual that is efficient and well regarded in uses of carpet cleaning and is known to properly dilute the chemicals that break down stains.
Regularly scheduled deep cleaning of your carpeting to remove the dirt and grime that is out of reach of vacuums and reduce long-term wear down of carpets. Additionally, your cleaning contract should also identify who is responsible for replacement of carpets when damaged or carpets become completely worn out and old.
Normally a commercial building must provide common area bathrooms for building tenants and customers. A key to keeping your tenants happy is to keep your building’s restrooms clean. Maintaining the cleanliness of the restrooms is critical for the health and safety of customers and tenants.
The daily maintenance of a commercial building’s restrooms is necessary to ensure health and cleanliness for use. Maintenance workers or employees need to make sure to replace and repair restrooms utilities from time to time. Also, double check the products that you will install in restrooms such as faucets and fixtures, and dispensers and dryers. Make sure that all of it is of good quality to reduce maintenance time.
Faucets And Fixtures
A key to keeping restrooms and breakrooms up and running is to commonly inspect and repair when needed, any faucet or plumbing issues as well as any repairs or replacements for fixtures within the building. When you can save money doing maintenance instead of replacement it helps in maintaining profitability for the commercial building you are renting. You can easily save money from repairing and replacing utilities when you make sure to upgrade faucets, fixtures, and sinks. Doing so will help in improving the looks, functionality and water conservation of your commercial buildings for rent.
Automatic or touchless faucets and fixtures can stand up to high levels of use and automatically limit the flow of water. This is also a good feature that could attract tenants. Meanwhile, the automatic control for touchless toilet fixtures is active only when needed and only for one flush could help save water.
Dispensers And Dryers
Reducing waste and running energy efficient restrooms will help to save money and increase profitability for your property management company. Everyone who’s using restrooms is always concerned about hygiene and regularly uses sinks and faucets to clean themselves. To save profits and limit costs you should consider the installation of touchless soap dispensers and hand dryers. This will increase convenience and further eliminate the potential for germ transfer. Fewer touchpoints will limit germ transfer as well as reduce time disposing of trash and repairs.
Since restrooms are used by all tenants and customers if your restroom is not well maintained, clean, and odor free this can become a major problem or complaint by tenants and customers. Irregular maintenance of restrooms could easily be distinguished by tenant and visitors by:
- Paper towels
- Soap or other supplies
As the property manager, it’s advisable to subcontract or use in-house employees to maintain and disinfect all surfaces continually. Regular maintenance of restrooms will establish a healthier restroom environment and keep tenant and customer complaints about odors or cleanliness to a minimum.
7. Dining Room
Most commercial buildings will provide a common area break room or dining room. The dining room is a common area in commercial buildings which is high-traffic space that needs regular maintenance. This is where the food is served or employees or customers rest and eat and that is the reason why this area needs regular cleaning.
When providing and upkeeping the dining room or break room you should consider adding or upgrading your appliances in this area to offer employees and building visitors a better place to eat and rest in.
Caulking and maintenance of trash and recycle bins will ensure that the area remains clean and efficient.
When building tenants take breaks to eat lunch or rest they feel more comfortable having reliable appliances to use and this can also help you save money. If you’re managing a business, you should be aware that new appliances will boost efficiency and conserve more water. Old appliances tend to be less energy efficient and often times need maintenance and or replacement. When upgrading or replacing appliances never hesitate to purchase the same appliance style and manufacturer for multiple properties if possible. Keep track of the appliances that got broken easily and as much as possible and only buy appliances from a reliable seller. Also, it is advisable to keep detailed records of new appliance purchases or warranty issues in case issues may arise.
Inspecting and caulking ceramic tiles in bathrooms and kitchens should be done quarterly or when a damage occurs.
In order to save money from replacing tiles and countertops, it’s advisable to apply fresh caulking around sinks because it will prevent leaks and mold growth.
You can also use caulk in protecting your tenants from the harsh changes of season. Consider the caulk applications at windows and doors as it will prevent the elements of weather from penetrating the property. Proper exterior caulking can help prevent heat loss and gain.
Disposal And Recycling
Lastly, you should always seek opportunities to reduce, reuse and recycle old materials.
An active commercial recycling program is required by most states in their laws. This will help you dispose of garbage in your property and it will establish initiatives to properly dispose and recycle waste. As the property manager, you should consider purchasing new trash cans and bins to make waste disposal and recycling easy for building tenants.
Final Thoughts On The Maintenance Of Commercial Buildings For Rent
In this article, we talked about the maintenance of commercial buildings for rent. Although it requires a lot of time, keeping commercial buildings for rent well maintained is very important. As the property manager, you need where to focus your attention with regards to doing the necessary checkups and maintenance. We talked about the six important areas when it comes to maintaining commercial buildings for rent, and suggestions for that maintenance.
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