There are over 43 Million renter-occupied housing units in the United States with renters paying over $485 billion annually. Being a landlord can be a lucrative and satisfying endeavor, but it also comes with its own challenges.
Every landlord makes a commitment to keeping the value of an investment property intact through the careful oversight of tenants. As a landlord, you must manage the property, carry out maintenance, keep track of financial transactions, and most importantly, build a strong relationship with the tenants.
Here are some important steps a landlord can take towards building a better relationship with their tenants.
1. Give Tenants a Walkthrough
Communication is the key to building a strong landlord-tenant relationship. Once a tenant passes the screening process, the landlord’s next step is to prepare a lease agreement. Effective communication at this stage ensures that your relationship with your tenant starts out on the right foot. Make sure to explain every detail of a lease to tenants, so that they can understand all the terms and conditions.
Some landlords simply take signatures on the lease and provide tenants a copy. This leaves no scope for the tenants to understand the important policies mentioned in the lease and can create confusion later.
It is best to guide tenants through the key policies of a lease to establish transparency.
Landlords must ensure that the tenant follows all the house rules established and takes good care of the property. Landlords should also explain general “house rules,” such as proper garbage disposal, landscaping, quiet hours, and pet policies. Also, make sure to detail which types of maintenance work you, the landlord, handles and what is the tenant’s responsibility.
2. Stay Connected
You should be attentive and easily approachable to your tenants by providing multiple ways for them to communicate with you. Provide them with a dedicated phone line, email address, or tenant portal so they can easily contact you if they need to.
People under 30 make up 49 percent of renter-occupied homes in the US. To attract this young pool of tenants, use online platforms to collect payments, respond to maintenance requests, and stay connected with your tenants 24/7. Being a tech-savvy landlord can help in laying the foundation for a healthy relationship with your tenants.
Technology can also help you define your work hours and avoid a barrage of messages from tenants at odd hours. Send auto responses or pre-set messages if tenants raise requests during the hours you are unavailable.
If you’re going to be unreachable for any period of time, sending an ‘away’ message alerting them to your time frame will let the tenants know you are unavailable and will respond to them as soon as possible. This will further improve your communication with tenants.
3. Quickly Respond to Maintenance Requests
The response time to maintenance requests from tenants should be as short as possible. It is generally expected that a landlord will respond within 48 hours from the time a maintenance request is made.
For maintenance requests, make sure to quickly make the necessary arrangements and deploy professional service providers to make sure issues are swiftly resolved. It is imperative to regularly inspect the property once a year for any issues in order to be proactive in fixing any issues that may come up while a tenant is renting your property.
4. Respect a Tenants’ Privacy
A landlord should always respect tenants’ privacy. Although you own the property, tenants are paying to live there and deserve and expect privacy while they are living in your space. Showing up unannounced or randomly visiting may be considered intrusive by tenants. You should always provide at least 24-hours notice before visiting your tenants.
Sometimes you may have to deal with a long-term guest who is not on the lease. In this case, you should avoid breaching the privacy of tenants by paying a surprise visit or inspecting the property without their permission.
Instead, take a positive approach and directly address the issue by having an open conversation. You can schedule a proper inspection of the property with their permission. Having a positive attitude towards your tenants creates a bridge of trust and empathy.
5. Go the Extra Mile
Whether you are just starting out or have many years of experience as a landlord, going the extra mile never hurts. For example, if a tenant is from a different city or state, provide them information about their surroundings; provide a number for the nearest grocery store, or provide tips and information about local restaurants or attractions.
Many employees are working from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic and need high-speed internet for them to work efficiently. If you have the space and resources, providing a workspace would be a valuable perk.
Another idea is to give prizes to tenants who pay rent in advance or even consistently make payments on time each month. Possible rewards could be discount coupons for movies, restaurants, or grocery stores.
If a tenant is celebrating a birthday, marriage, new baby, or any other milestone, a congratulatory call or email can also go a long way in creating a positive relationship.
In order to manage a rental property successfully, it’s important to maintain a healthy relationship with your tenant from the beginning.
Create an open line of communication, provide prompt maintenance services, and be attentive and easily approachable to the tenants. A better landlord-tenant relationship will always benefit you in the long run. And a happy tenant will surely recommend you to others!