It's easy to focus only on handling the essentials when things are rough in the world. Making sure you meet your obligations can feel like an anchor—and the most you can do—when other things are chaotic. However, one key element of working as a landlord that is worth paying attention to is creating and maintaining lasting tenant relationships. As Chesapeake property management professionals, we know those relationships really can make or break your experience as a landlord.
Here are some of the ways that working relationships with your renters can benefit you—and how to cultivate them!
Foreword: If you've found this blog, it may be because you're facing a tough situation with your renters. While we are experts in Chesapeake property management, this blog cannot replace legal counsel. If you need live support, get in touch with us!
What Can Working Relationships Accomplish for You?
When you have satisfied tenants who feel appreciated and listened to, it's not just work: you see positive returns! Anyone who has worked with a highly disgruntled tenant knows that that one relationship takes much more time than working with a satisfied renter. This makes cultivating these kinds of easy-going responses crucial for your health and wellness as a landlord.
Here are some of the things that well-cared-for tenants can do for you:
- Tenants who really value the property where they are staying are more likely to take good care of it, mitigating some of the wear-and-tear costs you might have to eat otherwise as part of rental overhead.
- Tenants who are happy with their living situation are going to be more interested in paying their rent—and paying it on time. While there may not be a big difference in whether happy or unhappy tenants pay rent, those who feel they could be more comfortable elsewhere don't have quite the same incentive to stick to the rent schedule that someone who loves your property and wants to stay in it would have.
- Connected to this is that tenants who love your property and feel comfortable there will be more likely to renew their lease, saving you the time of finding a new tenant and the costs of a turn.
- Those same tenants may also be willing to ask around among their friends and family if you have a vacant property available, potentially giving you a well-qualified tenant without a lot of advertising costs.
As you can see, these relationships are nothing small! It's exactly why we emphasize their importance in our role as Chesapeake property management professionals.
While there is certainly a component of the relationship that is entirely up to the tenant—they can make choices to make the relationship negative—here are some simple things that can start you and your tenants off on the right foot and keep that relationship strong over time.
Show Small Acts of Appreciation to Help Tenants Connect With You
Whether you have a basket of cleaning supplies available as a move-in gift or a thank you note when a tenant promptly informed you about an issue that could have become a major repair if neglected, little tokens of appreciation go a long way.
Yes, you and your tenant have a transactional relationship, in that they get housing and you get rent, but remembering each other's humanity can go a long way to smooth over tough situations. If, for instance, you make a mistake and send a note of apology, a lot of people will be very touched by that gesture. In the same way, birthday cards and congratulations cards when you hear about something great for your tenant can show you care and that you are a conscientious person.
Communicate Clearly—and as Frequently as Needed
This is a big one! One significant way to keep the relationship open and positive is by preventing misunderstandings. If you get your messages to your tenants quickly and clearly, they have fewer reasons to be unhappy with you!
If you notice that a particular method of contact (like sending emails) isn't working for your tenant, take the time to ask how they would prefer to hear from you. You want to make sure they have every possibility of answering or at least understanding updates from you about their living situation.
Respond to Work Orders in a Timely Fashion
Another great way to really put in the work is to respond to requests from your tenants quickly. This doesn't always mean that you immediately resolve the concern, but giving them a timeframe or seeking clarification quickly shows that you're paying attention and can help them feel reassured.
However, if you can get someone out to address the concern quickly, you're really buying a lot of goodwill with that kind of turnaround time! Think about how much resentment can grow when it takes a long time to resolve a problem you want fixed, and that is the kind of situation you're avoiding every time you handle a repair or maintenance request quickly.
As you pursue great relationships with your tenants, remember that Chesapeake property management services can help you navigate these unusual times! A great place to get started is by downloading our Collecting Rent in a Crisis Handbook to learn more about how to navigate rental payments even when there is unprecedented variability in the local economy.