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  • Writer's pictureTom Miller, CCIM

Navigating the Landlord-Tenant Relationship – Tips from Miller Industrial

In the landlord-tenant relationship, there are needs. Both sides need the other, and both sides also serve the needs of the other. The power imbalance – those times when the relationship favors one, the other, or neither – are tied to things like lease terms and market conditions, and so may fluctuate as the market evolves. Whether or not you recognize it as the tenant, your relationship with your landlord (that is, the value your lease brings your landlord) is a moving target. Here are a few suggestions from Miller Industrial Properties when it comes to navigating the landlord-tenant relationship.

Start with the Property Management Group

It’s standard in many instances for locations to have a property management group. This entity is responsible for a number of housekeeping issues, including:

  1. collecting rent

  2. recapturing NNN costs

  3. paying bills

  4. managing the property

In most cases, the property manager will serve as the tenant’s main point of contact for anything relating to the property’s occupancy. It makes sense, then, that tenants tend to become friendly with these contacts.

That can be a problem.

In the course of familiar conversation, you may make references to your business and plans. Even topics as seemingly innocuous as how business is going, new or lost contracts, layoffs and new hires, or the addition or removal of products and services can prove problematic.


Simply because this is valuable information to your landlord, and odds are good he’s going to hear about it. Learn this golden rule – and remember it. The more your landlord knows about your business, the better his position – at your cost.

Take a cue from the attorney world, in which clients are instructed not to say a word in the courtroom. Let your staff know – and abide by the rule yourself – that the property manager should be considered an employee of the landlord. They must act accordingly.

Tips for Navigating the Landlord-Tenant Relationship

1. Use that familiarity with the project manager to your advantage. Don’t overshare about your own business, but there’s no harm in casual inquiries about new or pending vacancies in the building or deals being used to entice new lessees. Use your best judgement, of course, and act accordingly.

2. Be open to the idea that the best time for that lease renewal may not be the most obvious, and that what you’ve done in the past doesn’t mean you need to follow the same. The smartest strategy is to stay in contact with your real estate professional. This individual should be intimately versed in local market conditions and able to guide you clearly with insightful market data directly related to both your lease and your business.

If this isn’t the kind of relationship you currently enjoy with your agent, you are drastically under-served. Spend some time online browsing websites for an agent in your area that not only specializes in your real estate type, but can offer useful information with a clear track record of success.

3. Never settle for an agent who doesn’t continually do his best for you. This applies before, during and after a transaction. Ready for a relationship like that? We welcome the opportunity to serve you.


Miller Industrial Properties, Sparks, Reno, Nevada
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