Commercial property managers have a lot on their plate. From overseeing the day-to-day operations to ensuring that all areas are in compliance with safety and legal regulations, it can be a lot to juggle.
A critical aspect of property management that is often overlooked is common area repairs and maintenance. Your responsibility doesn’t end when you sign a lease with a new tenant. Ensure that your commercial property is in top condition by understanding common area repairs and maintenance. Because these areas are shared by all tenants, commercial property managers are responsible for keeping them safe, clean, and functional.
What are Common Areas?
In the context of commercial property management, common areas are typically defined as all public spaces within a building or complex that are not assigned to any specific tenant. This includes lobbies, hallways, stairwells, parking garages, and gardens/grounds. These common areas may also include amenities like fitness centers and pools depending on the property.
Common areas in apartments, townhouses, and condominiums may include shared stairways, hallways, laundry rooms, elevators/escalators, and gardens/grounds.
Common Area Maintenance Responsibilities
In most cases (except for the possibility of retail property with an open floor plan), tenants only have exclusive rights to the interior space that is assigned to them. This means that they are not allowed to make changes to the common areas, or else they may lose their lease.
This puts a lot of responsibility on commercial property managers to maintain common areas in a way that meets the needs and expectations of all tenants. While it is impossible to please everyone all the time, here are some general guidelines for common area maintenance:
Maintain a Safe and Clean Environment
This one is pretty self-explanatory. All common areas should be kept clean and free of hazards. This includes removing trash and debris, fixing broken flooring or stairs, removing any graffiti as soon as possible, and addressing other safety concerns like leaky pipes.
Maintain Functional Equipment
Property managers should also make sure that all common area equipment is functional. This includes the heating/cooling systems (if applicable), electrical outlets, lighting fixtures, elevators (if applicable), and any other equipment that is shared by all tenants.
Provide Adequate Security Measures
Depending on the property type, security measures may include cameras and/or guards. This can be especially important in retail properties where shoplifting is a concern or office buildings with late-night employees. Regardless of the situation, it’s essential to provide adequate security so that everyone feels safe while using the common areas.
Keep Up With Changes in Regulations
As regulations change, property managers may need to update their common area maintenance plans accordingly. This could include anything from new fire safety measures to ADA compliance updates.
Keep in Mind the Tenants’ Wishes
While property managers can make minor changes to common areas as they see fit, it may be a good idea to ask for input from your tenants. If you are planning a major renovation or change, this is especially important. For example, you may want to send out a survey to all tenant employees asking what they would like to see in the common areas of your building or complex.
In addition, it is also worth keeping in mind that not every solution will please every tenant. In these cases, property managers should try their best to come up with a compromise that will benefit most tenants.
Plan for Common Area Repairs and Maintenance
When it comes to common area repairs and maintenance, planning is key. It is vital to create a plan based on the unique needs of your property and stick with it as much as possible. This includes checking all areas regularly for potential hazards or damage. For larger repairs or renovations, it is crucial to plan ahead and get quotes from qualified contractors.
What are Common Area Repairs & Maintenance?
The cost of managing a commercial property is substantial. To keep costs down for everyone involved, tenants typically pay rent directly to the landlord or management company, who then pays for all the expenses required to manage and maintain their property. This includes repairs and maintenance for common areas.
Common area repairs and maintenance are those tasks that need to be carried out in order to keep the shared spaces safe, clean, and functioning properly for all tenants. These can include things like fixing a leaky faucet, patching up a hole in the wall, cleaning the carpets, and mowing the lawn.
Common types of maintenance and repair may include, but are not limited to:
Common areas such as stairwells and hallways typically require a lot of lighting to keep them illuminated during the day and well into the night. The electrical work required for these areas must be up-to-code, safe, and reliable at all times in order to avoid any hazards or inconveniences. This can include replacing burnt-out lightbulbs and fixtures, repairing wiring, and installing new lighting fixtures.
Leaks, clogs, and other plumbing issues can cause big problems for commercial properties if not addressed in a timely manner. Plumbers may be needed to fix broken faucets, clear drains, install new water heaters or boilers, and more.
Carpets and flooring can become damaged over time due to stains, wear-and-tear, vandalism, or other factors. Since common areas get the most traffic, it’s essential to keep all carpets and flooring in good condition.
Stains, scrapes, and holes can occur on the walls of common areas. To keep these spaces looking good and to protect tenants from any potential hazards, they must be addressed in a timely manner. This could include touching up paint or patches in hallways and stairwells or fixing drywall damages caused by furniture being moved around too often.
Landscaping & Grounds-Keeping
Outdoor common areas like gardens, courtyards, and grounds can be an excellent place for tenants to enjoy fresh air during the warmer months. But they require regular upkeep to keep them looking presentable and safe. This may include mowing lawns, trimming hedges or bushes, removing debris, and more.
HVAC Maintenance & Repair
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems are essential for keeping tenants comfortable year-round. They must be inspected regularly to ensure they are functioning properly. This includes changing the filters and cleaning out vents and repairing or replacing any parts that aren’t working effectively anymore.
Security System Repairs
Commercial properties require a robust security system to keep tenants and property safe at all times. Security systems can become damaged or outdated over time, so it’s important to regularly inspect and repair them. This may include repairing or replacing broken cameras, fixing faulty alarms, and more.
Pest Control & Extermination
Commercial properties can attract pests like rodents and insects, primarily if they are located near natural areas. It is important to maintain a pest control routine that involves regularly inspecting the property for signs of pests and removing any nests or colonies. Some methods may include spraying pesticides, setting up traps, and more.
Costs Related to Commercial Area Repairs and Maintenance
The cost of repairing and maintaining common areas can vary depending on the size and type of property, as well as the extent of the repairs or maintenance needed. However, it’s important to remember that these costs are typically split between all tenants in order to keep costs down for everyone involved. The cost of repairs and maintenance may be calculated using the square footage of each tenant’s space.
Additionally, some of these costs may be covered by commercial insurance policies for the property.
How Property Managers Can Streamline Commercial Area Repairs and Maintenance?
There are several steps that property managers can take to streamline common area repairs and maintenance:
Full Building Inspections
It’s important to conduct full building inspections regularly in order to identify any issues with the property. This should be performed once a year or as often as possible to ensure those common areas are in good condition and up-to-date. Inspections should be done by a qualified professional who can identify any potential repairs or maintenance needs.
Preventative Maintenance Checks
In addition to full building inspections, it’s important to also conduct regular preventative maintenance checks on all essential systems in the property. This could include checking HVAC filters, inspecting security cameras, and more. By catching small problems early on, property managers can save time and money on larger repairs down the road.
Creating a Maintenance Plan
Once property managers have identified any repairs or maintenance needs, they should create a detailed maintenance plan that outlines what needs to be done and when. This will help keep everyone on track and ensure that no tasks are missed.
Hiring a Qualified Contractor
Hiring the right people to take care of your common area repairs and maintenance is extremely important. Aside from pricing and availability, it’s important to look at their past experience with similar projects as well as any licenses or certifications they may have.
Having a qualified contractor on board will save you time in the long run because they can help you address most problems, even before they become an issue. They can also advise you on best practices for maintaining common areas and keeping them in good condition over time.
Remember, your commercial property is something that you don’t want to leave to the hands of amateurs. Make sure to have a professional inspect, perform the repairs, and maintain your commercial property for you.