It might not be the first thing on your mind when you find a new tenant, but the enduring relationship you have with your tenants can have a huge impact on your property management.
Here are our three top tips to build a positive relationship with your tenants:
Tip #1: Educate Your Tenants
Are you tired of having your tenant call you anytime there is a problem at the property? Perhaps they’ve locked themselves out and called you at 11pm on a Saturday night to come and let them in. Or maybe there’s a leaking tap that needs fixing and they contact you late on a Sunday afternoon. Part of managing a tenancy effectively includes education. Tenants need to be educated, both before the tenancy begins and during the period of tenancy, on issues such as how to report required repairs. You might even need to spell out the difference between urgent and non-urgent matters. So, if you don’t want to be on call 24/7 for everything little thing, then you need to make sure your tenants understand what’s acceptable and what’s not.
Tip #2: Avoid Arguments
Human nature being what it is, disagreements between people are inevitable. Before you know it, you become defensive, your temperature rises, and your sense of calm is soon replaced by agitation. Recognising that disagreements are inevitable, it’s important to know how do you handle conflict with tenants. What strategies do you use to manage touchy situations, but still maintain a good long-term relationship with your tenants? It’s not always easy, but here are a few tips that might help:
- The other person may be wrong, but you don’t have to tell them that. What’s to be gained by proving them wrong? Remember, a good relationship with a tenant is always more important – and valuable – than your pride.
- Be willing to admit when you’re wrong, even in the slightest way. Often, our natural instinct is to defend our mistakes and make excuses. Be humble and apologise. These two things alone can diffuse a disagreement before it becomes an argument.
- Let the other person talk first and listen. When you’re angry you find yourself getting your next attack ready rather than listening. Try to identify with what they are saying and feeling, look at it from their perspective, exercise some empathy and bite your tongue.
- Validate their feelings. Let them know that you have listened. Let them know you want a solution.
- Don’t raise your voice and be condescending. That could turn a mildly confronting discussion into an argument within seconds.
Sometimes you can make the problem go away with some simple changes to how you handle that initial conversation. You won’t be able to please every single tenant, but you are in control of your actions and responses. Managing them well can make your job so much easier and affect the way you interact with those around you.
Tip#3 Don’t Overlook Maintenance
While maintenance on investment properties usually centres on immediate matters, such as leaking taps and toilets repairs, oven issues and hot water system glitches, there are many hidden repairs that investors should be aware of and budget for. In houses, villas and townhouses, the maintenance of gutters and downpipes is always an issue. Many investors feel that tenants should be responsible for this sort of maintenance, but that’s not the case, for various reasons. At the start of a new tenancy, you should make it clear to the tenant that any build-up of debris in the gutters and downpipes should be reported landlord promptly. Having your tenant clear the gutters could create a real insurance issue for you in the event of an accident. We suggest that you arrange to have the gutters and downpipes checked and cleared of any debris, which could block the gutters and cause water damage during heavy rainfall or create a fire hazard, on a quarterly basis. Taking the time to investigate this often-overlooked maintenance issue could save you money in the long run.
By following these tips you will build great relationships with your tenants and keep your property management under control.