When checking in with your tenants, there’s a fine line between being helpful and accommodating, and getting too involved. While you want to make sure your renters are comfortable in their new home and be aware of any damages or repairs needed on your property, you also don’t want to seem invasive or get your residents too dependent on you. Next thing you know, your tenants will be requesting you to change their light bulbs, or you’ll have a bad online review at the end of the lease. The trick to seeming like a good landlord lies in striking a balance between the two extremes.
From living in countless rentals, I’ve had experience with both communicative and non-communicative landlords and property managers. My worst experience lied in a 2-bedroom apartment with a leaky faucet, broken bathroom fan, and the dreaded black mold. Despite calling the property management company multiple times, and leaving written requests, the manager never got back to me. My roommate even took off time at work to visit her office during her slim hours and was told by the secretary that she was wasting her time. While I’m sure you’re a lot more involved with your rental property, it’s important to note that the “no communication” method doesn’t work. Sure, tenants like their privacy, but having a “no communication” policy puts your renters, your property, and your reputation at risk.
Obviously some communication between you and your renters is better than no communication whatsoever, but how many notices, emails, and text messages breach the threshold of too much?
Legally you must provide written notice to your tenants if you’re going to be on the property. While the amount of time the notice must be given varies by state and purpose, providing notice is the easiest way to keep communication between you and your tenants going. However, be aware not to abuse this. If minor repairs are needed, don’t send an individual notice for each task (or space the tasks out along a course of a week). If possible, try to complete all the repairs within one to two days. This not only saves you time and printer paper, but ensures that your tenants don’t feel overwhelmed with all the repairs.
On the flipside, when performing repairs or renovations that take a long period of time, it’s vital that you keep your renters in the loop. Despite having extensive repairs that took 3 weeks to do, my previous landlord never updated me on the progress after the initial written notice. When posed with questions, they would only respond with written notices and formal emails. Beyond signing the lease, there was no in-person communication. In addition to sending your tenants notices and status updates on repairs and renovations, be sure to communicate in-person as well. If you rarely see your tenants, this doesn’t mean you need to go out of your way to see your renters in person. An informal text or email following up on a recent repair or giving an update to a long renovation can boost your landlord-tenant relationship.
Additional things like Christmas cards, move-in checklists, and even giving your tenants a voice with the Spring landscaping aren’t expected by most renters, but can significantly improve your relationship with your tenants. The happier your renters are, the more inclined they are to renew their lease or recommend your vacancy to someone they know. If you’re in the process of looking for new tenants, start that relationship on the right foot by providing them with a convenient application process and speedy adverse action notices. Then, be sure to maintain a balance between not communicating and over-communicating from here on out.
How often do you check in on your tenants? Let us know your process in the comment section below & be sure to subscribe!