Foster Healthy Communication with Your Tenants
Communication is important in every area of life. Whether it is with your significant other, your child or parent, your teacher or boss – or the tenants in your rental property – you must foster healthy communication.
Within a landlord and tenant relationship, open communication allows for transparency and honesty. And, it brings a bit of respect and comfort, too. Your tenant is living in your investment. Ask yourself this question: If something goes wrong, do you want your tenant to feel comfortable coming to you? Or, would you rather the tenant covers up the problem, finding a temporary solution that could lead to a major issue down the road?
That’s right – we want the tenant to come to us, right? Whether it is a flood from an overstuffed washer or if it is a crack in the tile due to a dropped bowling ball - being approachable can ease everyone’s mind for the duration of the lease.
Now, that we know the importance of healthy communication, let’s look at how to put it into action, shall we?
Be there for your tenant.
What do you think would happen if your tenant regularly reached out to you about the and you rarely answered your phone? Or, what would happen if you always answered, but rarely addressed the problem or concerns?
Eventually, your tenant is going to stop calling.
Be responsive. When your tenant calls, answer. And, then address the situation in a timely manner – whatever that situation is. This shows that you are there for your tenant and you care about her or him.
Agree to text messages.
It may sound odd to some of you to agree to communicate through text messages. For others, it may seem odd that you’d even have to formally agree to do so – isn’t this the norm?
Truth is, it doesn’t matter what your background is, when you are dealing with tenants, you are dealing with individuals of all different ages and communication styles. For some people – especially millennials – answering the phone or even making phone calls seems a bit archaic. A quick text message gets the point across without having to verbally communicate. It is quick and not disruptive to a busy day – and it is a surefire way to get your tenants to more openly reach out to you.
Keep a firm line between the landlord/tenant.
While you may want to be open for text messages and phone calls from your tenant, you want to make sure that you keep these legitimate – and not personal. While you can chat about things like recent news, football scores, or the weather, keep unrelated, personal communication to a minimum. Don’t blur the lines between yourself and your tenant. In other words, be approachable and respectful, but be the landlord, not a friend.
Along the same lines, also be sure to not make yourself readily available with each and every text or call. Handle emergencies immediately, but otherwise, schedule times to discuss certain issues or for repairs.
The important thing to keep in mind is that this is your business. Your tenant is your customer. Offer some great customer service, but don’t bend the rules of the company. Keep your property’s best interest in mind at all times.
Marina Shlomov, a managing partner at ALH|Podland Rental Homes Property Managementis the author of many articles on Landlording, Property Management, and Real Estate Investing. A residential builder in the state of Georgia since 1999, Marina is an investor herself. Her property management company is intended “For Investors” and “By Investors” for a simple reason – she knows what investors’ goals are and she works hard to reach their goals. In her spare time, Marina likes to spend time with her family, friends, garden, read and travel. Check her out at www.alhpodland.com. You can find Marina’s articles and comments at @rentalhomesatl on Twitter, on Facebook, Google+, Blogger. and YouTube,Bigger Pockets and REI CLub and LinkedIn.