As any experienced landlord will tell you, it doesn’t pay to be at odds with your tenants. In addition to copious social awkwardness and general discomfort, unfavorable landlord/tenant relationships can facilitate low renter retention rates. And since renters are effectively the lifeblood of any rental property, it behooves landlords to remain on good terms with them. Landlords looking to maintain favorable relationships with tenants will be well-served by the following pointers.
Keep Relationships Friendly but Professional
Whether you’re buying a second home as an investment property or operating an expansive apartment complex, it’s generally recommended that you avoid becoming too close to your tenants. This isn’t to say that you should avoid pursuing friendships with tenants at all costs, but it’s important to realize how uncomfortable things can get if you choose to go this route. For example, if a tenant comes to view you more as a friend than a landlord, there’s a chance they’ll come to expect special treatment, which is likely to draw the ire of their fellow renters.
Furthermore, if a tenant with whom you’ve become friends suddenly finds themselves unable to pay rent, the situation between the two of you is likely to become extremely awkward. After all, as much as you may value their friendship, it can’t be denied that their inability or refusal to pay rent in a timely manner is putting you in a tough spot.
With this in mind, it’s in your best interest to maintain friendly but professional relationships with your tenants to upkeep your home. Although you may occasionally choose to exercise leniency from time to time, such decisions are at your discretion, not theirs. While there’s nothing wrong with exhibiting friendliness and approachability around tenants, all parties should understand that at the end of the day, you’re trying to run a business.
Make Sure Tenants Know How to Reach You
As any longtime renter can attest, few things are more frustrating than a perpetually unresponsive landlord. For instance, if one of your tenants is having a pressing maintenance issue, not being able to get in touch with you is likely to prove extremely problematic. Even outside of emergency situations, tenants should always be able to ask landlords questions and provide them with important feedback. So, if your tenants are currently unable to get in touch with you in a timely manner, you’re not really doing your job as a landlord.
To help ensure that tenants never accuse you of ghosting, provide them with a number of ways to get in touch with you. In addition to giving every tenant your work phone and email, make sure they have a special number where they can reach you in the event of an after-hour emergency.
Quickly Respond to Maintenance Requests
While some of the maintenance requests you receive are going to be more pressing than others, it’s in everyone’s best interest that they be responded to in a timely and professional manner. Depending on the severity of the request, the affected unit(s) may not even be livable until the issue at hand is remedied. So, instead of addressing maintenance issues in the order in which they’re reported, you and your maintenance personnel should tackle them by level of seriousness. Still, even if you’re unable to fix an issue right away, let the tenant who reported it know that their problem has been documented and provide them with a timeline of when they can expect it to be fully resolved.
Additionally, since the quality of your maintenance staff will reflect back on you, take care to hire maintenance personnel who are highly skilled and highly adept at interacting with tenants. Regardless of how good they are at their jobs, people who are rude and dismissive towards renters are the absolute last individuals you want in your employ.
It’s in every landlord’s best interest to stay on good terms with their renters. For one thing, constantly being at odds with the very people responsible for providing you with passive income is exhausting. Secondly, contentious relationships with tenants are practically guaranteed to result in low renter retention rates – which generally don’t bode well for a property’s long-term profitability. So, if improved landlord/renter relationships are what you’re after, take care to adopt the measures discussed above and stay away from flood check scams.