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.
Establish Your Expectations Early
Set yourself and your tenants up for a good rental experience and a great landlord/tenant relationship by being clear about your expectations.
When you’re discussing and signing the lease agreement, it’s a great opportunity to highlight the most important parts of the tenancy’s requirements.
- Talk about the rent collection policy and the importance of paying on time.
- Discuss maintenance reporting processes and make sure your tenants understand the difference between an emergency repair and a routine repair, as well as how to report them.
- Point out the maintenance responsibilities for which the tenant is responsible.
- Go over rules and regulations, especially those around smoking and guests and pets.
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.
Make Yourself Available
Tenants need to know how to reach you. This is important for maintenance emergencies. If there’s a flood at your property and your tenants can’t get in touch with you, your entire investment is at risk. Make sure you provide them with all your contact information.
You’ll also need to be willing to talk with them when they call. Answer their texts and emails promptly. This type of accessibility can feel like a burden, but it comes with being a landlord. You’ll have a better relationship if you’re responsive. Hiding from your tenants or ignoring their requests for help will only cause discord and frustration.
Be a Good Listener and a Great Communicator
Tenants do not need to be your best friends, but they do need to know that you care about their welfare and their rental experience.
Always communicate openly and transparently. This type of openness will create a great relationship. When you’re responsive, you’re giving tenants a reason to trust you.
Not everyone is great at listening. But, you need to be a good listener if you’re a landlord.
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.
Pay Attention to San Jose Rental Property Maintenance
You won’t have a good relationship with your tenants if your property is falling apart.
Living in a well-maintained home is important to your tenants, and your relationship will suffer if things begin to deteriorate and you make no effort to fix them.
Respond right away to their 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.
Embrace Technology with Tenants
Technology is more important than ever to tenants. They want everything to connect to their phones and tablets and apps. They want to pay rent online instead of in person.
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.
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.
Keep Rent Renewals Reasonable
One of the reasons you want to have a good tenant relationship is that you’re hoping those tenants will renew their lease agreements. Retaining tenants is good for your ROI.
So, at renewal time, you want to make a reasonable rental increase.
Most tenants expect their rent will go up when they renew a lease agreement. But, you don’t want to chase off good tenants with a rental increase that’s higher than what the market supports. Rent control in some California properties will prevent that anyway. Don’t raise your rent higher than what rent controlled properties can go. You’ll push your tenants out and they’ll look for something else.
Evaluate the market and offer tenants a new rent that’s higher but still lower than what they’d find if they moved. When you have a good relationship in place and you know you’re providing a good customer experience, you’re likely to keep those tenants and continue building a mutually positive relationship.
We do a great job of working with tenants on behalf of rental property owners. If you’d like to turn your tenant relationship over to a professional, we’d love to help. Please contact us at Metro Property Management. We’re a San Jose, California based property management company serving Santa Clara County, including South County, Campbell, Saratoga, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, Gilroy and the surrounding areas.