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Developing a positive working relationship

A lease is a binding contract that establishes the relationship between the tenant and the landlord and sets out the rules.

But maintaining a positive working relationship that minimises angst is about more than what’s on paper. The landlord-tenant relationship can have a significant impact on your business, your brand, your financial standing and even your lifestyle.

Before signing it, read your lease carefully and understand what your responsibilities are and what the landlord’s are. Check with your legal and business advisors if you aren’t very sure about the commitment you are making.

Keep the lines of communication open and be courteous. Maintain records of conversations and verbal agreements and confirm them in writing, and keep copies of all agreements, undertakings and correspondence (including emails and text messages).

Fostering a good relationship

The relationship between a tenant and the landlord or agent is a reciprocal one that brings benefits to both sides. The lease is a valuable asset for both the landlord and the tenant and is well worth protecting by building a positive working relationship.

Like all good relationships, open, respectful communication is vital. There will be ups and downs for all sorts of reasons, but try to be professional and keep emotional reactions out of it.

Most of your communication might be by email, but sometimes personal interaction by phone is worth the effort. Remember to follow up in writing if anything is verbally agreed.

Answer any enquiries from the landlord or agent promptly and let them know as soon as possible if something needs attention or if you are having a problem keeping your commitments. Silence or avoidance is often the first step toward making a problem more difficult to solve.

If you have built a good relationship with the landlord, they’re more likely to favourably consider your requests such as getting an extension on a deadline or rent relief.

If the landlord or agent has a positive opinion of you, they may recommend your business to potential customers, clients and business partners. Word-of-mouth marketing can have a great impact.

Keep records

Keep accurate, detailed notes of every conversation and meeting you have with the landlord or agent from the start of negotiations until you move out. Make a note of who was present, the time, date and location, what was discussed and, most importantly, what was agreed.

You might never need these notes, but they will help if something goes wrong.

However, if a problem occurs and you and the landlord can’t negotiate a reasonable solution, help is available from the Dispute Resolution Unit in the NSW Small Business Commissioner.

For more information see For tenant and landlords or you can also download the NSW Retail Tenant’s Guide.