Building Rapport with Tenants: A Guide to Effective Communication
The success of your properties depends on your tenants, so effective communication is vital in achieving a professional and trustworthy relationship. Your property manager will be your first point of contact for some inquiries; you may prefer to be in direct touch with your tenant for other issues. Every landlord has their own style of communication and standard ground rules, but there are a few guidelines that every landlord should adhere to in order to forge a respectful and reliable relationship with their tenants.
Keep an Open Line of Communication
Develop an open-door policy with your tenants. Doing so will encourage them to feel comfortable reaching out to you with questions, requests, or concerns. Conducting meaningful conversations fosters mutual respect and makes the tenant feel valued and heard.
It also helps to provide multiple channels of communication to your tenants so that they can get in touch by their preferred method. Providing an email, tenant portal chat, or personal number to text or call lets your tenants know that you are available when needed. It is perfectly acceptable to set boundaries for what warrants a call or text, but for the most part, your job as a landlord requires you to be available for anything that may arise no matter what time of day.
While not every request is urgent, it is important that you respond promptly and address tenant inquiries. Just as you would want your tenant to reach out as soon as they notice a maintenance concern, it is equally important to respond in a timely manner. A strong property manager will have a portal to report rental property repair issues as well as monitored phone and email.
If the request requires maintenance, address it as soon as possible and keep the tenants in the loop. If it is a leaky faucet that can be addressed after the weekend, let your tenants know that you’ve scheduled maintenance to come out Monday so they aren’t left wondering when or if it’ll get taken care of.
Provide Regular Updates
While it isn’t legally mandated, giving your tenants an advance notice of check-ins, maintenance or pest control visits is highly considerate and lets your tenants know that you respect their space and boundaries. This is especially crucial when showing the home to another interested tenant. You want to maintain that trust and respect through the life of the lease. This will also display to interested renters that you have a good rapport with your current tenant making you a more desirable landlord.
Keep in touch and share relevant updates within the community or neighborhood that may affect them. If you own a multifamily property let your tenants know about any upcoming maintenance like pressure washing or painting well in advance so that they can move furniture or plants from patios or front doors.
Set Clear Expectations Up Front
Including clear and written guidelines in the lease will minimize confusion and miscommunication moving forward. Be sure to also keep written records of all communication had with the tenant through the life of the lease. In case any trouble may arise, you will have those records and the lease guidelines to cross reference should any action need to take place.
Keep Your Word
Keeping up your end of the bargain is just as important as the tenant keeping up with their responsibilities. Avoid missing any appointments, schedule repairs when you say you will do so, and respect your tenant’s time as your own. As a landlord, you have obligations and expectations to fulfill. Of course, you’re human and sometimes things come up and you can’t follow through, that’s okay! Just take the time to be honest with your tenants and let them know ahead of time that you’ll need to reschedule.
Mastering the appropriate communication skills needed to own and manage rental property takes time and practice, but implementing these tips with your current and future tenants will nurture a strong relationship with mutual respect and appreciation.