It’s hard to rent out a property without a willingness to invest in good relationships.
You need to have a positive, professional, and respectful relationship with your tenants. If you don’t, you can expect conflict and disputes throughout the tenancy. You’re more likely to lose that tenant at the end of the lease term, leaving you with turnover and vacancy costs.
Relationships are not always easy, especially in a business environment. But, that’s how you have to think of your rental property: as a business. And, that means your tenants are your customers. Good customer service requires an ability to establish and maintain good relationships.
Sometimes, it seems like landlord and tenant relationships are simply expected to be adversarial. They don’t have to be. Instead, they can be strong and mutually beneficial. Especially when those relationships are based on trust and transparency.
Here’s the thing: you want your tenants to be happy living in your rental home.
Benefits of a Good Landlord/Tenant Relationship
Why does it matter if you have a good relationship with your tenants? Shouldn’t you just be collecting rent and fixing repair issues?
Positive tenant relationships do matter. They can even help you earn more money.
Here’s why you want to build a better relationship with your tenants:
You Increase the Chances of Collecting Rent on Time.
Tenants who have a good relationship with their landlords are less likely to pay rent late. They’re far less likely to miss a payment entirely or stop communicating when attempts are made to collect rent. This is reason enough to respect the relationship you have with your tenants.
When you have a relationship based on accountability and respect, tenants will care about their obligations. They’ll want to meet your expectations. You can also expect that they’ll care about their reputation. In the event that something unusual happens and they’ll be late one month, you want your tenants to be comfortable talking with you about that. It’s better than silence.
Good Tenant Relationships Improve Property Condition
You can worry less about deferred and unreported maintenance when you’re in a positive place with your residents. A tenant who is not comfortable communicating with their landlord will often neglect to report maintenance issues in a timely manner.
With a good relationship in place, you’ll also be able to count on tenants to fulfill their own maintenance responsibilities. Those air filters will be changed on time and the property will be kept clean and orderly.
Reducing Tenant Turnover
One of the most important benefits of building a better relationship with your tenants is that you will almost certainly keep those tenants in place and cut down on turnover and vacancy costs. You want to keep your high performing tenants. There are many ways to provide incentives during the leasing period that will increase retention, but the best way to get those residents to renew their lease agreements is by treating them well.
Build Better Tenant Relationships With Communication
Communicating honestly and openly is the best way to improve your relationship.
Think about establishing positive communication habits during the leasing process - before you’ve even chosen a tenant. When you’re available to tenants, willing to answer their questions, and eager to provide any of the support or resources they need while considering your property as their next home, those tenants are going to feel good about the potential relationship they could have with you as a landlord.
Your tenants may need to talk to you during the move-in process and throughout the lease period. You’ll want to be transparent and accommodating. If there’s a problem or they have a complaint, don’t shy away from it. If you need to deliver bad news about a repair or a problem, don’t try to minimize it. Your residents will appreciate clear, direct communication. Active listening will also help your relationship. Be willing to hear their feedback and concerns.
A great way to improve your communication is by being available in several different ways. You never know how your tenants are most comfortable communicating. Some tenants will want to call you when something is wrong. Others prefer to send their questions via email and you might have some tenants who refuse to do anything other than text or chat. Be prepared for this, and have the technology in place to support your communication accessibility.
Sharing Expectations Will Improve Relationships
Your tenants need to know what you expect from them, otherwise there will be confusion and conflict. This starts during the move-in process. Before you hand over the keys and collect the first month’s rent, you’ll both sign the lease.
This is an essential period of time for you to ensure your tenants understand their responsibilities and requirements. Answer every question you can about the lease and what the tenant will be responsible for. Make sure the home is clean, functional, and ready for them. Provide an introduction to how things work – show them how to turn the appliances on and where to find the air filters. These things will make a big difference in your relationship during the early part of the tenancy.
Keep talking about expectations and responsibilities throughout the lease term. Taking care of your property really is a partnership, and having a good relationship with your residents will allow them to see it that way. It’s okay to reinforce the things you assume they already know. Tenants want to hear from you, and they want to feel secure in what their responsibilities are. No one likes surprises or misunderstandings. Setting a tenant up for success leads to a good working relationship.
Tenants Will Expect and Protect Their Privacy
Yes, you own the property. But it’s not your home. It’s your tenant’s home, and they’re entitled to space, privacy, and the quiet enjoyment of their home. You don’t need to show up every few weeks asking to inspect the property. You shouldn’t be stopping in just to say hi.
While you want to establish a positive and respectful relationship with your tenants, you still need some boundaries. You cannot become overly friendly. That will make it hard to hold them accountable and enforce your lease agreement. Always remain professional.
Respect your tenant’s space and their privacy. You won’t be able to maintain a positive relationship if you’re a pest. You want to communicate and be available, but you don’t want to overdo it.
There will be times when you need to be at the property to inspect, respond to maintenance, or take care of something yourself. If you have a good relationship in place with your residents, they’ll understand that. Just provide as much notice as you possibly can. Work with them and be respectful and accommodating of their schedule and preferences.
Make Maintenance and Repairs a Priority
The best way to damage a relationship with your tenants is to ignore a maintenance request.
Immediate and responsive attention to things that need fixing is important. Put a solid process in place that allows them to report routine issues with ease, and make yourself available if there’s an emergency repair that’s unexpected and stressful.
Follow through on what you tell your tenants you’ll do. You’re going to break the trust you have with residents if you make promises that you cannot keep. If you say you’re going to fix something, fix it. After the work has been done, follow up with a call or a text to make sure the tenants are pleased with the results.
Even if you cannot fix something right away, make sure your tenants know that you have a plan and you’re working on it. Maintenance is going to matter a lot to your residents. Improve your relationship by showing them you’re committed to keeping their home in excellent condition.
Always look for vendors and contractors who care about your tenant relationship. You want to know you’re sending the best workers who are courteous, skilled, and careful to clean up after themselves once they’ve completed repairs. Put together a list of preferred vendors so you don’t miss a beat when something is needed at your property.
Phoenix Rental Increases Should Be Strategic
Your tenants will expect a rental increase when it’s time to renew the lease. You should study the rental market in Phoenix, Mesa, Gilbert, or wherever your property is located, and make an increase that’s reasonable.
Don’t go overboard. If tenants feel taken advantage of, your relationship will be ruined.
Increase the rent as much as you need to and as much as the market demands, and make sure your tenants understand why the rent is going up. You can point to rising costs for you and you can provide data that shows what similar homes are renting for.
There’s a lot that goes into a tenant relationship, and if you think this type of relationship building isn’t for you, find some professional help. Working with a Phoenix property manager means not having to worry about tenant relationships. We take care of responding to tenants and ensuring they have a positive rental experience in your property.
If you’d like to hear more about how we manage our tenants and your property, we’d love to talk with you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at TCT Property Management Services. We manage homes in the East and West Valley, including Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Scottsdale, and Phoenix.