Tenant Onboarding: Best Practices to Ensure Compliance

April 11, 2019

For commercial property managers handling dozens or hundreds of commercial tenants at a time, facilitating a stress-free move-in can be difficult. There are so many things to sign off on before you hand over the keys! While there is no shortage of boxes to check off during tenant onboarding, one of the most critical is making sure insurance documentation is accounted for and approved. After a tenant moves in, this becomes trickier, or even impossible, to complete. This leaves both your organization and your tenant at risk.

Here are five critical steps to complete before the new tenant move-in to ensure you are fully covered and compliant:

1. Confirm tenant insurance before the tenant takes possession of the property.

This not only protects your tenants against liability, but it can also protect your organization as well. As a landlord, real estate developer, or property manager, you have your own insurance in place to protect your company and investments. But unless your tenants are fully covered as well, their risk could fall into your lap. Confirm your tenants’ insurance by collecting and verifying COIs prior to handing over the keys.

2. Make sure that all insurance requirements in the lease covers their line of business.

You know what kind of risks your tenants need to be covered for. If you know a tenant will be using specific tools, working with certain materials, serving alcohol, or conducting any sort of risky business out of their new workplace, make sure they have the appropriate insurance coverage to address exposures associated with their business while leasing your space.

3. Double-check that their insurance coverage actually matches the language in the lease.

Additionally, once you have both the  tenant’s signed lease and COIs in hand, make sure that their insurance coverage matches the insurance requirements established in your lease. Catching inconsistencies and gaps between the two are only helpful if you catch them before the tenant takes possession of the property, when you still have time to discuss insurance deficiencies, additional items needed, or work through other insurance issues. Making sure the correct insurance coverage is in place before a tenant takes possession of the property not only protects you, it protects your tenants also.   

4. Set clear expectations for managing risks on both the property management and tenant side.

With insurance coverage and COIs out in the open, tenants and property managers can start to have real conversations about expectations and what risk mitigation measures should be in place. While insurance can cover risk or destruction if it occurs, the best way to limit these exposures in the first place is by spelling out responsibilities of each party in detail.

5. Walk tenants through best practices.

While ensuring your tenant’s COIs are in order should be a top priority, walking tenants through general security best practices and making them aware of any potential risks is what sets a great property manager apart from the pack. Not verifying COIs can lead to long-term consequences. Talk to your tenants about any surrounding environmental risks, quirks of your building, and other general best practices.

Onboarding a new tenant is always exciting, but it can quickly become overwhelming without the right planning and strategy in place. You can learn more about managing new and existing  tenant insurance and property management best practices by chatting with one of our expert Account Executives here.

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