The trouble with tenants - you may own the building, but not the data!

  • Ben Perrett
  • 16th June 2021

Buildings still consume roughly 40% of the world’s energy and the landlords of today are under more pressure than ever to have a greater understanding about how their own portfolios perform. They need to disclose information to increasingly stringent mandatory and voluntary sustainability mechanisms. This means the need for clear, concise and easily accessible data is growing on both a national and international scale.

Collecting relevant environmental data from tenants, whether that be in a multi-let office block without submetering or a single let FRI warehouse, is one of the largest problems faced by landlords wanting to accurately report on carbon emissions and get a better understanding of their portfolio's performance. The traditional way in which landlords could attain relevant tenant performance data is through an annual request which normally has a low success rate as tenants are busy focusing on maximising revenue and do not always appreciate what can be seen as a burdensome administration request from a landlord. Even when this method is successful there is no guarantee that the data provided will have any accuracy or even be in the correct unit of measurement making the entire process of communication with a tenant redundant in the first place, and continually seeking validation from the tenant on whether data is correct will create an air of frustration and strain on the landlord/tenant relationship.

The three major blockers to successful tenant data collection include:
  • Historic FRI or triple net leases that don’t include any data sharing or green clauses.
  • Minimal ongoing tenant engagement and incentivisation regarding environmental impacts.
  • Lack of appropriate data collection technology installed from fit-out or construction.

The above key points can lead to a situation of the landlord or agent of the landlord having to spend considerable time chasing down fragmented data from individual tenants to accurately report performance.

So what can landlords do? Any new leases that are implemented should have, as a minimum, a green clause in order to ensure that the tenant has some obligation to share important environmental data points that are key to disclosures of the landlord. This will give you some assurance that you have the right to the minimum data required for reporting.

Engagement with the tenants is key to obtaining any data where you don't have a lease clause in place. Respect for your tenants is a must; don’t create a demand, create an opportunity. Landlords need to give a clear explanation of the reasoning behind their desire to gather tenants’ energy information and explain how this can be a mutually beneficial task to undertake.

Lastly the most costly but most effective way to ensure you can gather the tenants data as a landlord is to install technologies on site to allow you a remote gathering of information. This is most efficiently done during the construction or any new fit-out and once this is in place you will not have to interfere with the tenants to be able to gather information.

How can we help?

Etainabl has a core focus on helping real estate owners and managers get a holistic understanding of performance and the platform has been specifically designed to be a collaborative tool that is flexible for a range of different data scenarios. Recently we have developed a way to manage and store tenant data, successfully implementing smart submetering systems connected to the platform that gather tenant data on a daily basis, removing the need for tenant requests. We have also worked with managing agents and tenants to successfully gain access through the use of letters of authority to the tenants online supplier portals to automatically scrape the tenants energy invoices and robotically read and validate the data into the system, removing any administrative effort.

Etainabl has also recently developed and piloted a hardware device and dashboard system to boost tenant engagement and gamify energy consumption data. This system helps give tenants information on the overall building performance as well as gives them awareness of their own performance in relation to the building, with the idea that this can help promote change in behaviour of tenants and make them more open to investing in energy efficiency measures. The dashboards also include other key information about the building including certifications, planned maintenance and events as well as local news and travel.

If tenant data is an area you are struggling with then get in touch with Etainabl to see how we can help.

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