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Sometimes tenants have difficulty running aspects of their businesses. In turn, they may have trouble paying their rent. Where can they turn for help?

A thoughtful, concerned landlord or property manager might refer them to The Small Businessman, which offers "cradle to grave" services to small and micro businesses. The Small Businessman might even be willing to work with your small and micro business tenant on a percentage basis. Let's help them help themselves before they get in too much trouble. If The Small Businessman helps your tenants earn more, they will be more likely to meet their obligations. It's that simple!

The Difference between a Property Manager and a Landlord

A landlord owns property that is leased to a tenant. A landlord can also be a property manager if they actively participate in the day to day management of the property. If a landlord chooses to be passive and let someone else manage the property, it is important that they watch their managers carefully AND enable some form of tenant access to solutions outside of property management. The Small Businessman can also play that third party for its members.

Its usually a "better deal" for a tenant to know both their landlord and property manager as intimately as possible because both can go a long ways towards making or breaking a business. This can be critically important when a tenant is investing in physical improvements to the landlord's building. Sometimes, landlords are not available to their tenants and property managers protect the landlords from tenant communications. This is a negative for the tenant in most cases, but is the predominate way business is done in many strip malls and shopping centers.

Tenants have to understand going in that an absentee invisible landlord can have a negative cash value that should be considered before signing a lease with a property manager. In other words, a tenant's rent should be slightly or even significantly lower if they don't get landlord access.

On the other hand, a tenant should also understand that property managers may be the best person to talk to about most situations. Sometimes, when a property manager is not performing, they may try to keep you from communicating with the landlord to insulate themselves from a landlord's rebuke. Often the landlord is totally unaware of what is turning into a major problem. This is when it is nice to know that you have access to the landlord. Just don't abuse the relationship by constantly bothering a landlord when property management would have been adequate. Make sure that your access to the landlord is clear in your lease. Otherwise, you could be in for a business nightmare down the road with a poor property manager. When in doubt as to who to call, use your Small Businessman membership to determine who your best contact might be.

Make sure that you are not paying too little the first year, while making the improvements, only to find yourself unable to move out when a greedy landlord increases the rent next year, knowing that you are somewhat over invested in your current spot. As a tenant, it sometimes seems like you're dealing with the mafia where they loan you money that they know you can't pay back. However, this is not usually the reality. The landlord usually wants you to be a big success, especially where triple net leases are concerned. Open lines of communication are essential. A property manager that doesn't take calls and/or back burners a tenant is asking for trouble. This is properly a three way relationship where all parties are potential winners in the long run.

As a tenant, remember that the landlord has a primary vested interest in the property. A property manager usually has a lessor interest. Sometimes, when a property manager is not performing on their part of an agreement, you find yourself up against a wall. That's when you try to approach a landlord or contact The Small Businessman. This can concern "blight" issues such as trash piling up or dirty and unkempt driveways and parking lots. Sometimes, it is unclear who takes care of the front door? The air conditioning and heat? Make sure you know these answers before you sign a lease.

Smart property managers handle their part of the agreement and then some. A tenants success should be in their best interest.

The Small Businessman principle is that we all give "perceived" value and then some. Perceived is a key word here and why initial contracts need to be fully understood with the assistance of a reliable attorney. You'll have a big commitment and investment that warrants the extra caution.

A true capitalist vision is where you make an exchange and all parties walk away happy. Until the advent of the Internet, a business person could market around poor business practices. Now, more and more landlords, property managers and tenants are checking out each other with tools on the Net that don't settle for the information given by a party's own website. We go around them to discover the downside of dealing with certain companies or individuals.

The Small Businessman is there for all parties. We live in litigious times. The Small Businessman does not practice law. However, we're here to help channel friendly communications before they get out of hand, helping all parties avoid needless law suits and arbitration.

With our "cradle to grave" consulting services, we can help almost any small or micro business or at least connect you with folks that can help. Memberships are $9.00 per year and an excellent value when compared with the local chambers of commerce which tend to fawn over their larger corporate members. For more information, go to the Small Businessman's membership web page: http://www.smallbusinessman.com/htm/

Call (916) 435-9090 for more information

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Last Updated 6/19/2008

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