Do you have a good relationship with your tenants? Or do you find yourself keeping them at a distance as much as possible? Many landlords underestimate the importance of their relationship with their tenants, not realizing that improving relations can make their job easier and bring greater success. While the tenant/landlord relationship is a professional one, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a good, solid working relationship too! Here are 10 tips to help you improve your interactions and foster a relationship built on mutual respect:
If you’re like most landlords and are renting out to the general public, your tenants could be from very different backgrounds than you. This means they may have different values; what’s important to you may not be important to your tenants. Something that irks you, like an overgrown yard, may seem like a dereliction of duty on the part of your tenant, but it may just be an oversight.
Another thing to consider is that we all hit rough patches now and again. Late rent doesn’t necessarily mean they’re irresponsible or signal a red flag – they could be in a temporarily difficult financial situation. It’s important to realize that your tenant is human and unfortunately, things happen! However, this doesn’t mean you should let late rent payments or other types of irresponsible behavior become a habit. Be understanding when it’s warranted, but don’t allow tenants to take advantage of your good nature.
Make Your Relationship a Priority
You might feel like you should only contact your tenant about rental-related issues, but it’s important to check in with them every once in a while to establish more of a rapport. You might have heard about a new restaurant opening near the property or know about an event coming up that they might be interested in.
Keeping an eye on the events and happenings in the neighborhood and acting as a pseudo-concierge can help your tenants feel more connected to you and their community. Not only does this bring more value to your relationship, but it also encourages tenants to engage with their neighborhood and put down roots – which is beneficial to both of you! They’re more likely to enjoy where they live and you have better odds of them renting your property long-term.
Regardless of your standard policies, try to share responsibilities with your tenant when it’s warranted. For example, if your tenant is having a problem with pests and you’ve determined it’s not caused by a cleanliness or sanitation issue, offer to pay for the first round of extermination services. The cost is low and it benefits your property – but beyond that, your tenant will appreciate the gesture.
You should also ensure that the standard of living at the property is up to your personal standards. Would you want to have a cracked toilet seat or other types of cosmetic damage in your own house? Small improvements can go a long way in making your property feel like home.
Encourage Tenants to Get Involved in the Community
As the property owner, you’ll likely know a lot about the community due to neighborhood events and local associations. Since renters aren’t typically invited to these things, consider inviting them yourself. This encourages a buy-in into the neighborhood and helps your tenants establish a feeling of belonging.
Remember: It Can be Hard to Find Good Tenants!
If you have great tenants, it’s important to keep them – and the easiest way to do that is by keeping them happy. The cost of finding new tenants or having your property vacant for periods of time are often greater than the cost of small, thoughtful gestures like sending a card during the holidays. You can also offer larger (but still relatively low cost) things, like having the property deep-cleaned every six months. This will make your tenants feel appreciated and valued for taking good care of your property.
Think About Customer Service
Your tenants are essentially your customers; you’re providing a service, and technically, a product. One of the most important considerations in customer service is keeping your customers happy. Unhappy tenants will ultimately end up looking for a new place to live. So, make sure that they enjoy living there! Keep up on repairs, even if they’re out of sight. If your tenant makes a complaint about something being broken, don’t wait to address the issue. You should also check in with them on occasion to see how things are going at the rental and to see if anything is needed. Some tenants may not want to bother you for something minor; checking in is a great way to get the conversation started.
Life is full of unexpected circumstances, but being flexible is a good way to gain value among your tenants. If your tenant loses their job, for example, consider offering them a two-week grace period for rent. If your tenant moves out and the property is in excellent shape beyond a minor repair, consider waiving the repair fee as a way of showing your appreciation for taking care of it.
If you’re planning to go on a trip, let your tenants know. No one is ever upset about over-communication, but your tenants might get upset if they try to contact you and you don’t respond in the normal time frame. Keep lines of communication open with your tenants so they understand that you’re available when they need you. Give them several options for communication, including text or email.
If your tenant contacts you about an issue, like a broken garbage disposal, don’t wait to schedule repairs. Even if there’s no immediate solution to the problem, respond to them as soon as possible. Let them know that you’re working on resolving the situation and will keep in contact with them until the problem is solved.
Be Consistent and Reliable
Keep your communication consistent and make sure that you’re available by phone, text, or email regularly. You may even want to consider designating an emergency contact in case you’re not available. Reliability is one factor that can make or break your relationship with your tenants – so make sure they can consistently depend on you.
Offer Online Rent Payment
Lost checks and money orders are a headache for everyone involved, so you may want to consider making rent payments as easy as possible for you and your tenant. Online payments are easy, convenient, and ensure you receive rent on time. You can offer it through apps like Venmo or even banking applications.
Once you’ve screened your applicants and found the perfect tenants for your property, make sure to keep them! Good tenants can be hard to find. By putting in the work to foster a positive relationship, you’ll find your job is easier and your tenants are far more likely to rent from you long-term.
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