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In The Bloom with Maria: Put yourself in the landlord’s shoes

In The Bloom with MarinaA lot of us rent or lease properties to house our shops and studios. We know the type of property we want, the location, and we know what we want the property to look like when it’s ready for business.

We would love landlords to simply hand over the keys on something we like, and if we pay on time, to stay out of the way and let us do our jobs. But have you ever taken a step back and put yourself in your landlord’s shoes? If you were a landlord, how do you think you’d come across as a possible tenant—and would your business fit the landlord’s vision for the area?

Take a different point of view
The landlord point of view is something to consider when going into negotiations for a property, and we’re going to help you get into that frame of mind.

When it comes to a commercial property, many times the landlord and the possible tenant have different motivations. Landlords want someone to lease their space so they have money coming in for the property. The building or land itself makes money when it has a tenant.

For tenants, the property is the shell that houses their business—the money comes from the services offered in and around the property, not the property itself. However, tenants need to have a building or property to be able to conduct a business.

See the differences? Let’s continue.

Another thing to consider, according to the article “Standing in the landlord’s shoes: Seeing yourself as a prospective tenant” provided by the Society of American Florists (SAF), is landlords often have multiple properties, meaning multiple tenants. As the renter or lessee, you have a single landlord. There are different time constraints at play with such an arrangement, and often the tenant and the landlord never even see each other.

And there lies one of the possible key problems in the landlord/tenant relationship. As Dale Willerton and Jeff Grandfield write in the aforementioned SAF article, if you—as a tenant—don’t put some effort in the landlord/tenant relationship, why do you expect such treatment from the landlord, who is dealing with multiple tenants at the same time?

Be sure to try and make some time for the landlord. If you can visit with the landlord, make it memorable. Bring something tangible to leave behind, such as one of your arrangements. You want to be noticed.

And if you meet with the landlord, make sure he or she understands your floral operation—what’s being offered, peak operating hours, and levels of traffic, as examples. At times, landlords might want a specific type of business to blend in with his other properties in the area. Your business might fit, it might not. Find out what the landlord wants up front, either from the landlord directly or the agent or representative for the landlord. You’ll save time in the long run.

Be prepared on the coverage side, too
Knowing what’s needed up front pertains to insurance, too. Don’t wait until the day you go to finalize the lease on a new location to find out you need proof of coverage naming your landlord on the policy in order to sign on the dotted line and obtain keys.

Over the course of more than 15 years, I have received numerous panicked calls from florist clients who cannot gain entry to their newly leased location the day they are scheduled to move in—or have their cooler installed or on their way to meet with their new landlord—and need a certificate of insurance as evidence of coverage.

Speak with your Hortica agent and become familiar with the various types of coverages you might need to be lease compliant, such as specific liability limits, additional insureds naming your landlord on the policy, or various waivers, before it’s too late.

Prior to move-in day and compliance with landlord requirements, also keep in mind that your insurance underwriter may have risk issues with your potential new location if it is located next door to what is considered a high-risk neighbor such as a liquor store, night club, or tattoo parlor.

There are a lot of things to consider when looking at a new property for your flower shop or design studio. Don’t worry, we can help. Reach out to us.