You’re busy enough as a landlord. You don’t need to make your job more difficult by having to deal with a tumultuous relationship with your tenants. Your work will be far easier if you’re able to build a strong relationship with the people you’re leasing to. You’re also more likely to retain your tenants if you have a positive relationship with them; retention leads to greater profits and eliminates the workload that comes from having to fill vacancies.
Here are some ways in which you can build the best relationship with your tenants.
This is the golden rule of being a landlord. When tenants make maintenance requests, you should do everything you can to handle those requests as soon as possible. Every landlord gets tedious requests, but some requests are truly urgent (usually having to do with plumbing, lighting, or air conditioning). By handling maintenance in a timely manner, you’ll show your tenants that you truly care about their comfort and happiness, and that will usually make tenants much more agreeable with you on other issues.
Remember, you’re legally obligated to ensure that your tenants have the essential amenities required for comfort, so try not to think of maintenance requests as complaints; think of them as your landlord duty. Also be warned—in some jurisdictions, tenants may be allowed to withhold rent until you resolve maintenance issues.
If you have a very busy schedule and you find it difficult to handle maintenance, consider hiring a property management company. You’ll have to pay these companies, but they’ll handle maintenance requests from all your tenants so you have more time to focus on other things.
Lease to Responsible Tenants
Only lease to tenants who have a good track record of being… well, good tenants. Before you offer a lease to a prospective tenant, always run a rental history report. A rental history report will give you important information on your prospective tenant, including their:
Reported income accuracy
These are all very important factors. Poor credit history could mean that your tenant does not have enough financial stability to pay rent on time. Criminal history, evictions, and untruthfulness are all signs of a tenant who is probably going to break the terms of the lease and be dishonest with you. Always run a rental history report so that you can procure tenants who are responsible, lawful, and who follow the rules.
Make a Good First Impression
First impressions are everything. Making a good first impression on your tenants can go a long way in building a good relationship with them. When you meet them for the first time, dress professionally and be polite and friendly. Give them your contact information and assure them that you’ll provide assistance if they need it.
If you’re good at small talk, try learning a bit about their interests and see if you can’t find some mutual ones. You don’t want to be nosy, but you also want to show that you show interest in them as human beings. You don’t want them to think that you’re a money-grabber who’s devoid of personality. By presenting yourself as agreeable from the get-go, your tenants will feel more inclined to be agreeable, too.
Respect Their Privacy
You might own the property that you’re renting out, but that doesn’t mean that you can roam the place whenever you want. Most jurisdictions have laws that require you to notify the tenants in advance before you come and enter the property. Everyone has a right to privacy, and so do your tenants, even though they don’t own the property they’re renting.
Some landlords feel inclined to prowl the property to catch tenants in the act of breaking the rules of the lease. There’s no easier way to break a tenant’s trust. You must accept that there may be some small rules (smoking, for instance) that tenants will be able to break without you knowing. Worry about the “big-issue” stuff, like damage to the property. These things will cost you more money and are much easier to spot during site inspections.
If you want to have a great, stress-free relationship with your tenants, just remember to be prompt in handling maintenance requests, always get rental history reports, make a good first impression, and respect the privacy of your tenants. A positive relationship with your tenants will lead to long-term profits.