An integral element of the lettings and property rental business is the standard of relationship you have with your tenants. If you deal with them directly, then you may have a very close, friendly relationship. On the other hand, you may be experiencing problems with ‘nightmare tenants’ who are constantly arguing with you, missing payments and causing damage to your property. Whilst there are obvious advantages to getting on well with your clients, and clear difficulties which can arise if you don’t, it’s not always easy to define the ‘perfect relationship’ between landlord and tenant. So what can you do to ensure that both parties are happy and that your relationship with your tenants remains positive and prosperous?
Beware being too close
Although it’s obviously nice to be friendly with your tenants, it’s important to keep your distance to some extent as getting too close could cause you problems further down the line. For instance, some tenants may see your over-friendly attitude towards them as a sign that they can take liberties and cajole you into becoming more lenient – sometimes unintentionally. This could also cause you to let your guard down and allow standards to slip – leading to awkward and sometimes fairly nasty situations. It’s not uncommon for landlords who are ‘mates’ with tenants to allow those tenants more leeway than they would if they weren’t close; something which could cost you a lot of time and money if things suddenly aren’t so cordial further down the line.
Consider their concerns
Whilst it’s good to maintain a professional, more distant relationship with your tenants, empathy is key for certain situations and it’s always a good idea to consider the personal circumstances of your tenants and their families. If they are having difficulties, then showing concern or being accommodating if they request assistance can really influence their opinion of you and makes them more likely to be compliant but also to remain in your property for a longer period of time.
Be firm but fair
When problems do arise and you feel a tenant is being unreasonable, then try to see it from their perspective before proceeding with appropriate action. If they really are asking for something out of hand or have done something wrong, then ensure that they are informed politely but in no uncertain terms that their behaviour is unacceptable. Make sure you have the legal backing and appropriate paperwork to protect you in relation to all tenants – not just the ones you ‘trust’. Ultimately it can often be in these situations where landlords get stung after trusting a good tenant who unexpectedly causes them problems.
Treat your tenants how you expect to be treated
Want your rent paid on time? Make sure there’s someone round to fix that boiler ASAP. Ensure that you are always on the other end of the phone in case you ever need to get hold of a tenant urgently. Always be polite, personable and available to help. It’s not always the case that the way in which you treat your tenants will be reciprocated – but often just these little details, coupled with unfaltering professionalism, will go a long way.
Keep it friendly – but professional at all times
Last but not least, professionalism at all times is key. Some landlords (and tenants) don’t see their relationship as a business relationship, purely because of the nature of what is going on between them – effectively as a landlord you are offering someone a place to live, albeit for a fee. In addition, many landlords run their property portfolios as a hobby or as an extra business aside from their core profession. This opens the door for things to become personal or unprofessional – which as mentioned above could lead to problems. When all is said and done, despite the nature of the business, money is still exchanging hands for what essentially is a product and a service. Keeping it business-like as you would if you were running a retail outlet or other business is really important. If a tenant has a complaint, deal with it according to a set procedure calmly and politely. Try not to take criticism personally. Above all, beware snap decisions and gut reactions which could see you lose your cool and say or do something inappropriate leading to more trouble.
If you’d like more information and assistance on maintaining positive relationships with your tenants, then give us a call at The Property Man to see how our expertise and experience can help smooth over conflict and help you to maintain your properties more efficiently..