When you have rental property, you come to an agreement with a chosen tenant or tenants that they will pay you rent to reside in your property. In return, when something goes wrong or when an issue arises, they expect their landlord – the owner of their rental property – to be accessible.
Healthy communication is necessary for any relationship – and the landlord-tenant relationship is no exception. Some tenants may be challenging. Others may be scarce. And some may just be happy to reside in the rental and only call you with the occasional maintenance requests.
Tenants will vary as much as people do. But, as a landlord, your role remains the same. If you foster healthy communication with your tenants, you will find that you will have a lower turnover rate and fewer issues.
So, what does healthy communication look like?
When your tenants reach out to you, you need to be available. After all, if there is an emergency, your tenant needs to know that he or she can count on you. Likewise, if your tenant is in need of having a repair done at the property or just wants to voice a concern about a community concern, you need to be available to listen.
Of course, fostering healthy communication does mean that you have to drop everything you are working on the moment your tenants reach out. But, responding to them in a very reasonable amount of time shows that you are responsive and professional.
A handshake and your word mean a lot when it comes to your relationship with tenants. When you make a promise or an appointment with them, you are creating an expectation on their end. Your tenants expect that you do what you say you will do.
This is what is all part of being honest. If you can’t make it when you said you would or you didn’t return a call as timely as you should have, be honest about it and offer apologies. The more you show you are an honest, trustworthy landlord, the more trust your tenants will have in you.
Being a landlord does not make you more powerful than your tenants. Sure, you could say, in a sense, that you have the upper hand, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to be respectful. Nobody wants to be made to feel inferior so, in an effort to foster healthy communication, don’t treat your tenants as such.
By communicating with respect, respect will be returned – and a good, well relationship will ensue.
Life can get crazy. And, sometimes it can get downright scary and tough. If your tenant reaches out to you with a concern or an issue that may pertain to your rental or lease, be open to listening – and show compassion.
Let’s clarify what this compassion looks like. It is not listening to your tenants complain about a banking issue and then offering free rent to be compassionate. No, no. Instead, listening to the situation and offering a one-time payment extension may be offered. It may not be what your tenant wants to hear, but it shows that you didn’t simply dismiss their concerns.
Fostering healthy communication will allow you to have a good rapport with your tenant while also maintaining your professionalism as the landlord. Do not cross the line into friend-like behavior with your tenants as this will result in issues down the road.
Be respectful. Be honest. Be available. And, be compassionate. All while being professional.
Marina Shlomov, a managing partner at ALH|Podland Rental Homes Property Management is 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 atwww.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.