Are you developing and nurturing positive and professional relationships with your tenants?
We hope so. Happy tenants lead to happy rental property owners, and good tenant relationships are critical to your investment success. With a good relationship in place, you can expect rent to be paid on time. Your tenants are more likely to help you maintain the property and follow the terms of your lease agreement. Your tenant retention rates will go up, which is good news for you because it means lower vacancy and turnover costs.
This does not mean you need to be best friends with your tenants. Healthy boundaries also need to be established, otherwise it will be easy to take advantage of you.
You can build a better relationship by establishing expectations early, making yourself available when they need help or have concerns, and responding immediately to their maintenance needs.
We have other suggestions too, for better relationships, and we’re sharing those today.
Start with a Stress-Free Move-In Process
A good relationship needs to be in place before your tenants even move in.
Moving is stressful. Your new tenants are dealing with a lot of details and they haven’t had the time to get to know their new home yet.
You can help eliminate some of that stress for your new residents by providing a move-in process that’s transparent, easy, and effortless.
- Answer all their questions about the lease agreement and make sure that the most important parts of the lease have been discussed in detail. Do they understand the rent collection policy and the process for reporting maintenance? When tenants are prepared, they’re more willing to engage in a strong and positive relationship.
- Provide an introduction to how things work at your property. Show tenants how to turn the appliances on and where to find the air filters. These things will make a big difference during the early part of the tenancy.
Be available on move-in day in case there are questions about how to take out trash, turn on the heat, or open a garage door. When tenants know you’re there for them even on day one, they’ll feel good about the relationship and their tenancy.
Respond Promptly to Maintenance
Nothing is more important to your tenant relationship than the way you handle maintenance. Responding to repair needs with a sense of urgency protects the condition of your property and shows your tenants that you care about their comfort and safety.
Remember that routine and preventative maintenance will always cost you less than emergency repairs. Be willing to respond when something is wrong, even something minor.
Protect your tenants and your property by working with vendors and contractors who are licensed, insured, and professional. Don’t put them at risk by hiring people you don’t know and have not screened.
You’ll also need to be available in case there’s an emergency. A tenant is going to get very frustrated if there’s a major issue like toilets that aren’t flushing or air conditioning that isn’t working and you are impossible to get in touch with. Be ready to respond, and make sure your residents understand that you can be counted on to take care of both emergency and routine repair issues.
Offer Online Rental Payments
Tenants are looking for convenience and ease. When you can help them have a more efficient rental process, they’re going to be happy with where they live.
Rent payments, for example, should not involve a drive to your office or a paper check and a stamp.
Tenants want to pay rent online. Make it easy and convenient for them. It has to be secure, as well. You can accept payments through one of the many online payment apps that are available. You can allow them to wire the money to you as well.
Respect Your Tenant’s Privacy and Space
It’s true that you own this home, but it’s your tenants who are living in it. Respect their space and their privacy. You won’t be able to maintain a positive relationship if you’re showing up at the property every few weeks. It’s annoying, even if your intentions are good.
Your tenants want to be left alone to enjoy the privacy and quiet of their home. While conducting an inspection during the course of the tenancy is reasonable, schedule it well in advance.
Show Gratitude and Increase Retention
Make sure your tenants know that you appreciate them. This is usually as simple as thanking them for on-time rent payments. Let them know you appreciate the speed with which they make maintenance requests, so you don’t have to worry about deferred maintenance or unreported repairs. When they’re available to meet vendors at your property, thank them for making the time.
This type of tenant communication goes a long way. It helps you to have a better relationship and it increases the likelihood that your tenant will renew their lease agreement.
Tell Tenants You Want them to Stay
Speaking of retention and renewals, give your tenants every incentive to stay in place when the lease term ends. If you have a good relationship in place, this will be easy to talk about. Be reasonable with your rental increase. While your good tenants will expect that rent is going up, you don’t want to chase them away with a rental increase that’s too high.
Evaluate the market. See where rents are falling for a home like yours, and then offer your tenants a renewal rate that’s slightly below the market. That will show them how much you appreciate having them rent from you, and it will give them a good reason to stay for another year.
Your tenant relationship should be based on trust, respect, and a willingness to work together to keep their home safe, attractive, and enjoyable to live in. Good communication, transparency, and gratitude will go a long way.
If you don’t think you have the time that’s necessary to invest in good tenant relationships, consider working with a Grand Rapids property management company. We can make sure your tenants have a great experience. Please contact us at Short South Realty Group.