Tenant relationships can be tricky. You want to be a friendly and approachable landlord, but you also want to establish boundaries and make sure you’re holding tenants accountable to the lease agreement and their responsibilities.
Dealing with tenants isn’t for everyone. If you find you don’t have the time or the ability to establish and maintain good relationships with your residents, you should probably be working with a property management company. Having a buffer between you and your renters can help you feel better about your relationship.
If you’re managing on your own, however, you have no choice but to make good tenant relations a part of your management strategy.
Here are some of the things you can do to ensure you’re building better relationships with your tenants.
Embrace Technology and Spend More Time on Tenant Relationships
Perhaps you’ve noticed that technology is important to tenants.
It’s important to all of us.
We want everything to connect to our phones and tablets and apps. Tenants will want to pay rent online instead of in person. They won’t have checks.
Make sure you’re leveraging the technology that’s available in and with your property. Consider making some smart home upgrades such as video doorbells and digital thermostats. When you’re willing to modernize your home and give tenants what they want and need, you’ll find they appreciate where they’re living and your relationship will get better.
You’ll improve your relationship greatly when you can give them access to perks and amenities like high speed internet. Setting up internet service may be their responsibility, but when you can provide resources and advice, they’ll remember and appreciate it.
Investing in technology is great for your tenant relationship, but there’s more to it than that. When a lot of your systems and processes are automated by technology, you can spend more time taking care of the needs of your residents.
Start the Relationships Strong
You have an opportunity for a great relationship even before your tenants move in.
From the first time they call or message for more information about your property, you’re setting a standard. You’re showing them how you communicate, what you prioritize, and how you think about them as a potential tenant.
Make it count. Show them that you’re a professional, supportive landlord who will care about their experience. Demonstrate that the condition of your property is important to you.
Instead of trying to improve your tenant relationship later on, seize upon the opportunity to establish a great relationship from the beginning.
Be responsive when they have questions. Work around their schedules when they want to see the property. Walk them through the application process. Provide rental guidelines so they know immediately whether they have a good chance of being approved for your property.
When you have approved a tenant and you’re planning the move-in process, the opportunity you don’t want to miss is the one that allows you to set some expectations and discuss responsibilities.
They may have questions about the lease agreement. Answer them. Highlight specifics, such as:
- The rent collection policy and the importance of paying on time.
- Every maintenance reporting process, including the difference between an emergency repair and a routine repair.
- The maintenance responsibilities for your tenants, such as filter changes.
- Rules and regulations, especially if your rental property is in an HOA and there are additional requirements for the community.
Your tenants have to understand what you expect and what’s required of them. It’s the best way to begin an open, transparent, and professional relationship.
Be a Good Listener and a Great Communicator
Tenants need to know how to reach you.
Answer texts and emails promptly. This type of accessibility can feel like a burden, but it really is necessary to continue building a better tenant relationship. Be responsive. Hiding from your tenants or ignoring their requests for help will only cause discord and frustration.
You’re not trying to be best friends with your tenants. But, they do need to know that you care about their welfare and their rental experience.
Be a good listener, too. This can be difficult if you’re in a hurry to solve a problem and move on. It will help your relationship, however, to listen and understand what your tenant is really trying to tell you.
Tenants want to be heard, especially when something isn’t going right. Hear what they’re saying and be empathetic to what they’re feeling. Even if you cannot fix something right away, letting them know that you understand the inconvenience will help them feel less frustrated.
Actively listen to what your tenants have to say, even if it’s a complaint. When you understand what your tenants need, you can do a better job of meeting those needs. If a conflict arises, resist the impulse to get defensive or become unprofessional. Keep the lines of communication open at all times, and be willing to hold yourself and your tenant accountable.
Philadelphia Rental Property Maintenance Impacts Tenant Relationships
It doesn’t matter how great you get along with your tenants; when your property is falling into disrepair and you’re ignoring maintenance requests, tenants are going to become annoyed.
High quality tenants want to live in a well-maintained home. It’s your job to provide it.
Your relationship will suffer if things begin to deteriorate and you make no effort to fix them.
Respond right away to tenant repair requests. Even if it seems minor – making the fix right away will do wonders for your tenant relationship. Be proactive, as well. Talk to your tenants about what they need to feel comfortable and safe in your home. This is an especially great idea at renewal time. Maybe a new appliance will make a big difference to your tenants, or fresh paint on a wall that’s become faded.
We specialize in positive and professional tenant relationships. If you’d like some help improving your own relationships, please contact us at McSherry Property Management. We work with investors of all experience levels in the greater Philadelphia metro area as well as surrounding suburban areas in Montgomery, Chester, Burlington, and Delaware County, to the Delaware River.