Perspectives & Partners


Finger on the pulse of tenants

Published: 28. March 2024

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The focus is on the tenants. That is why maintaining a close relationship with tenants is a top priority for HIAG. This has also been confirmed by a tenant satisfaction survey. Their needs and concerns are taken seriously, and we talk to them on an equal footing. This close relationship with tenants not only sets HIAG apart from its competitors, but also is essential to its value creation. It is above all made possible because HIAG has been focusing on managing properties itself for a few years now.

Maintaining a close relationship with its tenants is one of HIAG’s proven strengths. To ensure that this is not just lip service, the property management team, led by Daniel Haldimann, asked those who are best placed to judge: HIAG’s tenants. The survey was conducted among all residential and commercial tenants at each HIAG location. The authors were interested in satisfaction with the property in general, its location and structural condition, and value for money. The need for additional services such as co-working areas, coffee corners, shared mobility facilities and charging stations for electric vehicles was surveyed, as well as the use of existing facilities and the tenants’ intention to rent from HIAG on a long-term basis.

Good response rate and high tenant satisfaction
However, the main focus of the survey was on cooperation with the properties’ management and caretaking services, as well as specific issues such as customer-centricity, friendliness, speed of response and professionalism. These are the topics that are particularly close to Daniel Haldimann’s heart. He is all the more pleased about the good ratings received in those areas. The friendliness and customer-centricity of the caretaking teams scored best, with just under four and a half out of five possible stars. The day-to-day property management work was also praised by the interviewees, which is something that Daniel Haldimann does not take for granted: “Sometimes we also have to communicate regarding difficult topics. But we place value on always being friendly and taking people seriously. And we seem to be succeeding.” Particularly when it comes to emotionally sensitive issues such as rent increases or vacancy notices, it is important to remain in contact with tenants and respond to their questions in detail. He sees potential for optimisation in the speed with which his team responds to tenant enquiries. There is still some fine-tuning to be done. Although it was the first survey, the results are no great surprise to Daniel Haldimann. “I know my team very well and expected us to finish in the top third,” he says. “The survey was also about determining whether there was a major problem somewhere.” But that was not the case. Overall, tenant satisfaction is very good. And the relatively high response rate makes these results even more meaningful. When asked whether they intend to stay with HIAG in the long term, more than three-quarters of tenants answered “yes”. “That’s a good result,” Daniel says.

Improve what can be improved
Of course, there were also areas that scored less favourably. One of these is the structural condition of the properties. However, the poor ratings are for interim uses and individual cases that are known. HIAG is particularly reluctant to invest in properties with interim uses because they will have to be extensively renovated or make way for a new building in the foreseeable future anyway. The rent level is also considered to be rather high. Daniel Haldimann understands this criticism in principle. After all, wouldn’t everyone prefer to pay less rent? “However, we rent our space at standard market conditions and see little need for action on this point of criticism,” he explains. “That’s why it’s important to me that we actually improve the things we can improve.” This applies above all to the areas of professionalism and customer-centricity. The survey was also used to adapt the offer at the sites even more closely to tenants’ needs. For example, it revealed that there is strong demand for charging facilities for electric cars, while other facilities are given less priority. HIAG is already in the process of rolling out this infrastructure to the entire portfolio. On the basis of the results of the survey, however, the issue will now be addressed with greater focus and haste, and will be examined at sites where demand is particularly high.

“The survey was also about determining whether there was a major problem somewhere.” Daniel Haldimann, Head of Property Management

The tenants should see that their comments are taken seriously, and that the survey results do not simply disappear into a drawer. To this end, Daniel Haldimann and his team have defined individual measures for all critical or negative feedback, and will now implement these in a targeted and timely manner. This involves a huge amount of effort that the Head of Property Management considers to be justified. “We are committed to maintaining a close relationship with our tenants, which means that we also take the time to do this.” For him, a close relationship with tenants is an important unique selling point that differentiates HIAG as a property manager from many external providers. “You can only stand out from the crowd by catering to the individual” is his firm belief.

In-house management strengthens close relationship with tenants
This is also the main reason why HIAG has increasingly focused on in-house management in recent years. Other arguments in favour of insourcing property management include the relatively high complexity of HIAG’s sites and the significantly better continuity of employees compared to external service providers. Communication between the other segments of the company and “in-house” property management is also much more direct and simpler. The first in-house administration office was opened in Aathal in 2014, and in 2022 the strategy of handling all future property management in-house was finalised. The few remaining external mandates are also to be cancelled in 2024. At HIAG, property management is represented directly at the sites. “This presence is important because we can’t – and don’t want to – avoid the tenants,” Daniel emphasises. You often meet tenants on the way to the office and get talking to them. This almost leads to friendships. Daniel believes that this closeness is also one of the reasons for the high response rate to the survey. “We don’t sit in a central office in the city and manage everything from there as virtually as possible. We are on the front line – in other words, where the tenants are.”

Important contribution to value creation
The benefits of this model for tenants are obvious: short distances, direct points of contact, and better availability. And as the owner, you can sometimes take an unconventional approach if something is particularly important, the Head of Property Management explained. But in-house management also offers numerous advantages for HIAG. It has become more professional and structured, and guarantees high data quality. “We work with the same forms from Lake Geneva to Lake Constance, and we introduced a new operating system at the beginning of 2023,” Daniel relates. This reduces susceptibility to errors and increases efficiency enormously. The active and mostly in-house property management and caretaking contributes significantly to the continuous value creation of the investment property portfolio. Thanks to the company’s close relationship with its tenants, vacancies have already been significantly reduced and opportunities have also been seized. In the commercial sector in particular, you learn a lot about tenants’ strategies, for example when they need more space. This allows the company to react more quickly and proactively – also in partnership with Asset Management. “It’s a privilege to be able to act as the owner when it comes to property management,” Daniel concludes. “You put a lot more heart and soul into your work.” And this ultimately benefits everyone.

“It’s a privilege to be able to act as the owner when it comes to property management. You put a lot more heart and soul into your work.” Daniel Haldimann, Head of Property Management

Direct contact

HIAG and its tenants: a constructive partnership

Vivere Innenarchitektur Portrait Sarahvoneschphotography 15

Marco Bischof, Vivere Innenarchitektur GmbH, Spinnerei Aathal

How did you find the site in Aathal?
Around three years ago, we were looking for suitable premises for our interior design office and designer furniture exhibition. We were impressed by the rooms in the former spinning mill. Thanks to the wooden supporting structure and the stone floor, they have a very strong character and generate a pleasant atmosphere, which creates a wonderful basis for our furniture exhibition.

What advantages does the site offer you? 
The main advantage for us is certainly the location. The site is easy to reach both by car and by public transport. The many parking spaces that HIAG provides are an important criterion for us. We hope that the exciting tenant mix at the site will continue so that this location remains attractive for us in the future.

What sets HIAG apart from other letting agencies?
As a young company, we received a lot of support from HIAG. We were given a a successive rental agreement, for example. This provided for more affordable initial rent, which was increased after a certain period of time. Before the shop opened, we installed a kitchenette, power points and appropriate lighting. HIAG was accommodating with the costs and made us a fair offer. As a young company, we felt that we were in good hands.

Is there something you particularly appreciate about HIAG?
What we appreciate most is that HIAG’s property management division is represented here on site. If we have a concern, we can simply pay them a visit. This makes the interaction more personal and efficient. I also appreciate HIAG’s flexibility. When we needed additional space to store something temporarily, HIAG offered us a helping hand.


Tamara Zurnaci, Parkstrasse residential development in Klingnau

How did you hear about the Parkstrasse development?
We wanted to move closer to our parents-in-law and looked for available flats in the Klingnau area. We came across the Parkstrasse development because it offered attractive four-and-a-half-room flats at affordable rents.

What do you particularly like about the Parkstrasse development as a place to live?

For me, it’s definitely the central location. Shopping facilities and the railway station are close by. It’s also not far to the reservoir with the local recreation area, as well as the border crossing to Germany.

What is your impression of HIAG as the landlord and property manager?
As we have already moved once within the complex, we have had frequent personal contact with
the administration. The interaction is always very pleasant. You are taken seriously, and action is taken quickly if you have a concern. I particularly appreciate the fact that there is always someone to talk to.

HIAG Partner Perspektiven TAMARA ZURNACI
Ivo Frischknecht Fertig

Ivo Frischknecht, Holenstein AG Ermatingen site

Holenstein AG rents premises on the site in Ermatingen. What advantages does the site offer the company?

The main advantage is the proximity to our largest customer, which is right next door. As their logistics partner, we can deliver directly from our warehouse to their production facilities. This gives us short transportation distances.

How would you describe the tenancy relationship with HIAG?

I personally see HIAG as a very pleasant landlord. It’s less of a tenancy and more of a partnership. And, as always in a partnership, the contract only regulates the framework conditions. Ultimately, it’s the people behind it that make the difference.

How does HIAG deal with your concerns?
We have a direct point of contact at HIAG who takes care of our concerns and tries to find solutions. If something is wrong, it is always taken care of with as little fuss as possible. We were naturally not thrilled when our rent increased last year. But they were there for us and answered our questions.