Renting a property brings with it different challenges. The relationship between a tenant and the landlord has generally been associated with the stigma of adversary and even dictatorship posturing. They believe that the relationship is based on a written contract that outlines the landlord’s expectations as defined by the local law. This is a very archaic way of viewing the landlord/tenant relationship…
First step is to change your thinking and vernacular. Words such as landlord, tenant, lessee, renter etc. have a stigma associated with them that do not bode well for a strong relationship. Think of your tenants as “Customers”. Especially, if you are a real estate investor that relies on rental income as a part of your cash flow strategy. In fact, your tenants should be viewed as long term customers on a subscription model. Most companies treat their elite customers differently. Look at Amazon, which provides it’s better customers with prime member benefits.
I take this a step further and view a good tenant as a customer that lives and consumes the products/services within your property. I find that most good, happy customers are likely to
- Stay longer as a tenant. Thus saving time and money
- Take better care of your property
- Assist the owner and help manage in the event of issues with the rented property
By looking at tenants differently, your actions will change. Keep in mind that It’s about building and preserving your reputation as a landlord. As the saying in business goes “Your best customers are your existing customers”. Your tenants will remain with you as long as your property is meeting their requirements. If they grow out of your rental property, they may be the best lead generator for you. You may get future references from your tenants.
Communications: Actions Speak Loud and Clear
Always make you or your team is accessible and responsive. Be known as, punctual and trustworthy. If there’s any issue at your property, get back to them within a few hours. Regardless of the scope of work. Minor issues such as a fridge that does not cool correctly or even a serious problem like a leaking pipe. Take immediate action. It is crucial that you take all issues seriously and provide an adequate solution. If your tenants witness your efforts to take good care of your property, they’re more likely to do so as well.
Don’t look at replacing an item as giving in to your tenants request, but rather an improvement to your asset. View upkeep as a way of demonstrating that you care about your property and your tenants well being. I have immediately replaced appliances which cost $500. A simple action like this has kept the tenant onboard for over 4 years. Any tenant turnover, costs approx 2 months of rent. At the end of the day, it’s your property. If you take care of the property, the tenant will take care of you.
Most residents give little thought to how they communicate with their property manager or landlord. This simple action is sometimes overlooked and sometimes hampers any long term relationship with the property owner.
Establishing a positive and healthy relationship with your landlord can go a long way in helping you live in the best conditions possible, getting you the fastest responses to maintenance requests, and keeping your rental rates reasonable. I would not consider extending a rental commitment to a tenant that does not communicate effectively. On the contrary, I have reduced rents for tenants that were courteous to my managers and have always communicated well and maintained my rental property.
The tenant / landlord relationship is mutually beneficial and should be looked at as a business relationship. Add value to your communications, it will go a long way.