Every property manager aims to find and keep long-term tenants. However, that’s not easy, and very often, it may seem challenging or even impossible. If you’re willing to develop your communication skills and build strong relationships with your tenants, you should let them know you and trust you, which takes time. But, when you succeed and build that trust, you can be sure that they’re likely to stay for the long haul. Let them know that if and when an issue arises, they can count on you to take care of it promptly. Here are the most important tips for building better relationships with your tenants.
Make a good first impression and take care of the details
First impressions matter significantly in any business. So, when you meet with a tenant for the first time, make sure to dress neatly and speak professionally. Greet them warmly and with a smile, and try to maintain eye contact. Also, ensure that your property is clean and tidy when you show it and highlight its best features. Be transparent, approachable, and polite, and take time to answer any questions prospective tenants might have about your property.
Furthermore, find a way to remember their names and something specific about them to ask when you see them again. For example, you can ask about their job, their kids, and their pets. Or, ask about any interests and hobbies they had mentioned during your first encounter. Details are important, and in this case, they will let them know you care about them as individuals. Small talk is great, but make sure not to show too much interest or ask too many personal questions, because this is one of the common mistakes landlords make, and it might have a negative effect.
Create clear rules and stick to them
As a property manager, you need to create clear rules and stick to them. That’s how you build trust, respect, and reliability with your tenants from the very start. Explain your expectations and lease details to the tenants and ask if they understand all the rules and terms clearly. They should know what is and isn’t allowed right from the start to avoid possible future conflicts or misunderstandings. Define precisely how much notice you’ll need to give them before entering the property and how long you have to fix non-critical repairs. Include detailed expectations from both parties in the lease. Also, don’t forget to discuss policies regarding quiet hours, pets, temporary interior changes, subletting, etc.
Respect their privacy
Building better relationships with your tenants means being welcoming and friendly. However, you shouldn’t get too close and become intrusive. Nobody wants to deal with unexpected visits. So, no matter how comfortable you feel with each other, it’s crucial to give your tenant at least a 24-hour notice before you plan to enter their home (laws about this vary from area to area). You don’t want them to become annoyed with you or even take legal action against you for not respecting their privacy. Still, if there’s an emergency, such as a fire or water leak, you can ask for their permission to enter without waiting for 24h or more, if that means avoiding much more significant issues.
Be responsive and address problems quickly
One of the things that tenants value most in their relationship with property managers is prompt problem resolution. They want to know that you are willing to listen and pay attention to their needs. So, be open, honest, available, and responsive when your tenants need you. That will show them you care about keeping them happy and safe at all times. Let them know how to reach you and if you have any preferred method of communication, such as phone, text, or e-mail. Also, clarify how to report emergencies. Your communication should be easy and effective.
If you happen to miss your tenant’s phone call, apologize and get back to them as quickly as possible. Always have a list of trusted service providers at hand in case you need to call them to resolve an issue at the property. Remember that timely response is the key to building better relationships with your tenants.
Nobody wants difficult tenants, but nobody wants a difficult landlord or a property manager either. So, if an issue arises, always try to put yourself in your tenant’s position, and you’ll probably know what the right thing to do is.
Go the extra mile
There are many ways to show your tenants that you care about them and respect them. Here are a few ideas if you want to go the extra mile: