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Interview: how and why you need to ace your landlord relationship

Last updated July 07, 2023 · By Dylan Blake

Ben Wiley is an owner of some of the best bars in Brooklyn, NY, like Bar Great Harry and Glorietta Baldy among others.

He's had six different landlords in six different NYC neighborhoods, ranging from mom and pop operations to corporate LLCs.

But despite the different neighborhoods and the different landlords, Ben and his partners hold one thing constant: treat your landlord relationship like gold, and that means treat it professionally.

Ben counts this as a first principle of his business philosophy. Here's more on how he does it, why he does it, and how it's beneficial to him and his partners:

  • Not every relationship in your industry life has to be professional, but you have to treat your landlord relationship with absolute professionalism.
  • What does that mean? Always, always, always pay your rent on time. Be polite but direct when you speak with them. If something comes up, reach out to let them know. If they contact you, get back to them promptly. Nothing crazy here.
  • Why? Your lease is going to fly by. When that lease is coming up for renewal 10 years from now, you want the landlord to say "yes, of course I want them to stay!" 10 years of being 100% on the ball is the most effective thing you can do to make sure that's the case.
  • This goes such a long way because finding new tenants is very resource intensive. It's expensive in a bunch of ways: time, vacant months, etc. Landlords want to avoid it if they can.
  • What about gentrification and huge rent increases? It's a good question, and it can be scary. The best thing you can do is focus on the things under your control, and that means treasuring that landlord relationship. Remember: they don't want to kick you out if you've been a good tenant, even if rents are going way up.
  • This worked for Ben. A giant, fast-moving gentrification wave hit his area of Brooklyn (Carroll Gardens) in the 2000s and a great landlord relationship truly helped Ben and his partner renew one of their leases despite the drastic neighborhood changes.

Check out the videos below for more color from Ben on landlord relationships:

Treat your landlord like gold

Mom & Pop landlords vs. property management companies

Landlord relations and gentrification

When your landlord changes