Investing in your Tenants
The Muskoka building I manage was almost empty in August of 2015.
Today, thanks to the team on the ground, the owners' ongoing capital infusions and financial support, and strategic asset management, it is now 75% full. It is on track to be completely full by year end.
Early on, it became clear that the owners had to be prepared to invest in their existing and prospective tenants. The owners funded the build of a brand new space for Manna Food Bank even though they only pay $1 per month in rent on a long term lease. The owners funded the build out of a brand new space for Muskoka Yarn Connection and Muskoka Futures in exchange for long term leases. The owners funded the installation of a new garage door entryway for Muskoka Quality Foods. This process continued, with some new tenants requiring far less money - a new desk and chair for example - and others requiring far more - new drywalled offices, new electrical, HVAC and plumbing.
The end result is a building full of tenants who are happy and who feel appreciated. They feel appreciated because they are appreciated. We are now fielding calls from a number of local tenants who want to relocate to the building because it has a positive energy and feels like a hub of business and social activity. We are talking with enough new tenants right now that we expect to be full by year end and hopefully before. We current have 47 different tenants and by year end should have between 55 and 60.
The evolution of the building has been fascinating to be a part of. The building now has an energy and a life all its own. There are such a diverse array of tenants that the Bracebridge Examiner ran a front page article last week on the building and its residents. I am grateful and humbled to be involved with the process and to have met so many interesting and quality people along the way.
I look forward to watching the remaining spaces fill with more good people. Good people make for good buildings. Investing in our tenants has proven to be a very good investment indeed.
Too Hot...Too Cold...Just Right
At what temperature are you comfortable?
In our family of six, my husband is typically hot; my eldest son is always cold; my youngest son is generally comfortable; my eldest daughter is often freezing; and my baby is a little heater. I of course run at a perfectly normal temperature. It brings to mind the story of Goldilocks. Given the varying preferences, it is challenging to set a home temperature that is agreeable to all.
When you share an office with colleagues and co-workers, you notice pretty quickly the variations from one person to the other. Some of your co-workers will always have a sweater on. Others will be in shirt sleeves all year round. Some people's hands are always cold whereas other people sweat profusely on a constant basis.
As a landlord, it is an ongoing struggle to please everyone. In my folks' building in Muskoka, the first step is to have each tenant agree on a temperature that each of their employees can live with. The second is to install the proper heating for the space, typically through a gas powered furnace serving the entire area with plug in heaters to supplement the base heat and baseboard heaters for colder corners. The third is to ensure that everyone is abiding by the agreed upon temperature. Finally you ideally want to let the temperature drop or rise when the space is not occupied, typically at night and on the weekends.
If you are able to regulate the temperature at an agreed upon level and reduce drafty spaces for your tenants, they will generally be content. Even controlling for the above, some will still wear their sweater year round while others will want to wear tank tops, but you as the landlord will have done your job...just right.
Entrepreneur and mom to four amazing kids
Q: Why did the can crusher quit his job?
A: Because it was soda pressing.