Finding the right tenant is almost as important as finding a tenant at all. A good tenant supplies their rent on time monthly and properly maintains the property which leads to less repairs and expenses. It is in an owner’s best interest to build a professional relationship with their good tenants to keep them satisfied as this can often lead to a lease renewal. At Jensen Properties, we do this for you, working to keep tenant relationships professional and making sure your information is kept private. Here are some things we can do to build trust and respect with our tenants.
Setting expectations early can oftentimes avoid disappointment. Effectively communicating is a key role in being a great landlord. From the day you receive the rental application, it’s good practice to follow up with a phone call to confirm you’ve received it. You can let them know you’ll be working on it and may contact them again with questions you may have. Tell them when they can expect to hear back from you and be realistic. When an applicant asks questions—and they will ask questions—make sure to answer honestly and in terminology that they can understand. Remember, it is better to set expectations realistically than to over-promise and under-deliver.
Keeping Your Word
Trust is the key to a great relationship. Make sure you can keep any promises you make to your tenants. Saying you will do something only to take it back later will cause tenants to grow frustrated and lose respect for you and your property. In the same sense, it’s vital to avoid doing things we promised tenants we wouldn’t do. A common example of this is charging a late fee when the tenant was told it would be waived or charging for a property repair when the tenant was told it would be the landlord’s responsibility. Lastly, a good rule of thumb is to follow up all conversations with an email detailing what was discussed. Having these follow-ups in writing provide additional clarity and offer the opportunity to dismiss assumptions made from either party.
Being transparent applies to effective communication and keeping your word, too. Set realistic expectations so you can avoid frustrations later. If a tenant contacts you about a non-urgent maintenance request and your vendor isn’t available until next week, be honest about the timeframe. Although you may get a better initial reaction by sugarcoating an answer, the disappointment and resentment that comes after expectations are failed to be met can be irreparable.
You should be clear on what your tenants will be charged for in regard to the property at move in. Any charges that the tenants will be responsible for should be clearly written in ads, noted in the lease, and communicated over to the tenant. When a tenant calls to request maintenance, they should already know whether the tenant or landlord is responsible for the cost. There shouldn’t be any confusion over what the tenant is expected to maintain at your rental.
The tenant’s experience can quickly be ruined by having too many maintenance requests open or ignored. It’s important to outline maintenance request protocols in your lease and to communicate these guidelines, whether you prefer phone calls or emails. Walk the property with your tenant at move-in and test common issues such as making sure the toilet flushes properly, the garbage disposal works correctly, and the drains have been snaked.
You may be inclined to put off maintenance problems because of the expense, but putting off a needed repair will likely cost you more money in the end. A small leak can turn into serious mold issues, for example. Not only that, but neglecting maintenance can also cause friction between you and the tenant. They’ll wonder why they have to wait for a feature that was advertised as included. They may even repair the problems themselves and ask for a rent credit in return.
Time is of the essence when it comes to maintenance emergencies and vendors should be dispatched as soon as possible. You should have a couple of trusted vendors for each type of service (such as cleaning, plumbing, roofing, etc.) on standby. They should be aware that you are counting on them for any emergency you may encounter and willing to help. When your rental encounters a problem, they need to be ready to go. Some maintenance requests can wait, but habitability issues need to be addressed immediately. No hot water? Toilet completely useless? Active flooding? Don’t wait too long. Hesitation when it comes to these matters can get you into trouble and cost you even more money.
It’s good practice to follow up with tenants after each repair, too. This can provide you with useful feedback about your vendors and also creates an opportunity to check in with your tenants.
A good tenant is worth keeping and communication is the keystone. Communication that is honest and consistent leads to greater professional relationships between owners and tenants. Expectations that are set correctly can avoid disappointment later. Make sure your tenant knows what to expect and what you’re expecting of them. If you promised your tenant something, make sure to keep your promise or your word may lose its value and your tenant may grow resentment towards you and your property. Work together with your tenant to maintain your property. If a repair was said to be the owner’s responsibility, take action and repair what’s needed. Although the cost of maintenance may deter you from committing to repairs, stalling may lead to problems with fair housing and higher repair costs.
Jensen Properties has the systems in place to make sure these things happen according to plan. We also have a preferred vendor list for all the maintenance situations that pop up. Contact us to learn more about our services and pricing or visit our Services & Pricing page.