When it comes to handling the maintenance around your rental, you have it in the bag. You’re an expert at giving your property a little TLC, giving notice to your residents, and soothing any disgruntled residents. But have you mapped out a plan when construction or long-term renovations and repairs have to be done? Incorporate courteous construction practices into your landlord playbook with these few tips.
Communication Is Your Greatest Ally
You’ve heard more than a handful of angry maintenance stories from peers, and maybe you have a few of your own. Personally I can tell you I wasn’t quite as enthusiastic as my property manager was to communicate solely through written notes, especially when their spontaneous renovations took a month longer than originally stated. So before you even start planning out what you will need for the renovations, take some time to talk to your tenants. Performing significant property improvements might raise a red flag to your tenants that their home is about to be sold, so be sure to reassure them that’s not the case.
Giving written notice alongside personally telling your tenants is ideal. However, you should try to contact your tenants in a way that they’ll feel comfortable. Whether it’s by phone or even a text message, show your tenants that you care by trying to arrange a good time to perform construction based on their preferences. This is especially important if your tenant has young children or pets. When it comes to the written notice, which is important to have simply for documentation purposes, as a rule of thumb, it should have the following:
- The date(s) and time the construction is going to take place
- An estimate with how long it will take
- What the construction is improving, address noise concerns (if any)
- Any additional requirements for your residents
- Your name and contact information
- The contact information of your maintenance staff
No one wants any unwanted surprises and the sooner your tenants know important renovation information, the better. Alongside text updates, once a repair or renovation has been completed, follow up a week later. It’s important to not only know how your tenants are feeling about the changes, but it makes a big difference for your tenants to know that you care about their opinion.
Unfortunately despite your best efforts, not every tenant is going to be understanding of the inconveniences these projects can create. Even with advance notice and a plethora of information, sometimes just simple construction noise can cause a rift between you and your tenants. When it comes to working with disgruntled tenants, Zillow® advises that you make good customer service a priority. Respond to any discontent immediately, make a point to talk to your tenants in person, and try to accommodate their needs. If they’re concerned about noise early in the morning, try to see if you can move construction times to later in the day. Even if it just means listening, most unhappy tenants can become understanding if they feel like their being heard and their problems are understood and will be dealt with.
Handling difficult tenants is obviously easier said than done. Handling and planning long-term renovations or repairs can be especially difficult. However, with a good approach, you can be as great of a landlord during big renovations as you are with maintenance. It simply takes time.
What are some strategies you use to keep your tenants happy while performing maintenance or repairs? Leave us a comment below!