Getting along with tenants isn’t always easy. Sometimes, you can have tenants who love to complain. You might have tenants who are never happy or who find a reason to text, email, or call you almost daily.
What you need to remember is that those tenants are your customers. They’re paying rent. They have expectations for how you’ll respond to their needs.
You don’t have to be friends. In fact, you shouldn’t be friends with your tenants. There should be some professional boundaries in place. If you’re over-friendly, you run the risk of not being able to hold them accountable or remain objective during the tenancy.
A respectful, positive relationship, however, will help you both have a good rental experience together.
Property management is a relationship business.
As professional property managers in South Jersey, we understand the importance of relationships. Our team works hard to develop and maintain cooperative, professional, and respectful relationships with our owners and also with our tenants.
Experience has demonstrated over and over again that when our tenants are satisfied, our jobs are easier. When tenants are satisfied, your earnings as the property owner are also more secure.
One of the benefits of having a property management partner is that you don’t have to think about your tenants at all. There’s no need for a relationship. There’s no communication and you won’t be the one they call if something goes wrong.
If you’re not working with professional South Jersey property managers, you’ll be responsible for your own tenant relationships.
FACT: Happy Tenants Lead to Happy Rental Property Owners.
Establishing and maintaining a good relationship with your residents is critical to your investment success. Retaining great tenants increases what you earn because it prevents vacancy and turnover costs.
- If you don’t have much of a relationship at all with your tenants, how can you work towards putting one in place?
- And if you do have a relationship in place but it has a lot of room for improvement, what can you do to make it stronger?
It starts with expectations.
Before the keys and first month’s rent are even exchanged, make sure your tenants know what you expect from them. This eliminates confusion and fear. It also sets up your relationship, allowing your tenants to ask you questions if they have any.
Once you have your tenants in place, work on the relationship throughout the tenancy. Be responsive and available, and let them know you value their business.
If you’re looking for a path towards a better tenant relationship, we have some ideas that are sure to help.
But Why Does This Relationship Even Matter?
You’re not simply thinking of your tenants as a rent check, are you?
There seems to be this perception that landlord and tenant relationships are adversarial and unpleasant.
It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, it shouldn’t be that way.
Good tenant relationships can save you money and even help you earn more on your South Jersey rental property in the long term.
You Need a Great Relationship With Your Residents Because…
Rental Payments Are More Likely to Be on Time
It doesn’t take a lot to understand how easily happy tenants correlate with on-time rental payments.
Of course your tenants will want to pay on time when you have a good relationship in place.
And of course disgruntled tenants are going to drag their feet when it comes to paying rent. If you have a good relationship with your tenants, they will care about your good opinion of them, and they’ll make sure they don’t do anything to jeopardize your relationship. Happy tenants will want to make a good impression on the landlord who seems to care about them.
When you treat your tenants well, they’ll also be comfortable coming to you if they’re facing a financial mishap one month and need some flexibility. This is better than chasing down late rent or not knowing when it can be expected.
Maintenance Needs Are Reported Right Away
Tenants who don’t trust their landlords may hesitate to report maintenance issues. They might be afraid that they’ll be blamed. If they don’t have a good relationship with you, they’ll worry that you’re going to be angry. If they worry about your reaction, they might fear a rental increase. This type of hesitation is a problem for you, because deferred and unreported repair issues will only grow more complicated and more expensive with time.
Communicate with your tenants that you want to have even minor issues reported right away. If you have a good relationship with your residents, they won’t hesitate to let you know when something is wrong. Tenants who are nervous about their landlords will not want to be forthcoming when something breaks or needs to be replaced. You don’t want to put your property at risk this way.
Lease Agreements Are Enforced
You’re expecting your tenants to follow the terms of their lease agreement. They’ll do that if you have a good working relationship.
It’s easier to work with renters who understand their responsibilities and your expectations. A good relationship means you can have conversations before the tenancy even starts about what’s required according to the lease. Tenants will feel comfortable asking questions, and they’ll be willing to talk with you about things like pets, guests, parking, utilities, and other lease-related issues.
A good relationship also puts you in a better position if you do need to hold your tenants accountable to a lease violation. It won’t take long for them to come into compliance with your help and direction. If a tenant respects you and their relationship with you, they will expect to be accountable to the lease that they signed.
Reduce Tenant Turnover
One of the most important benefits to a good tenant relationship is lower tenant turnover. You want to keep your good tenants in place. You want to continue collecting that rent on time and you don’t want to deal with turnover, vacancy, and finding another tenant.
Make sure your tenants know that. Show them that you want them to renew their lease agreement.
Tenants are likely to stay in place when their maintenance needs are taken care of, their landlords are responsive, and their rent doesn’t jump too dramatically. When you invest the time and effort in establishing and maintaining a good relationship, you get higher retention.
How to Build Great South Jersey Landlord and Tenant Relationships
We have made a pretty strong case for why a positive and professional relationship with your tenants is so critical.
Now, how do you do it? How can you be sure you’re establishing and nurturing these good relationships?
You have to know what tenants really care about.
Here’s Our TOP 10 List of the Best Ways to Improve Your Tenant Relationship.
Are you ready?
Let’s count down the 10 best ways to ensure you have a great relationship in place with your South Jersey tenants.
1. Provide the Property Your Tenants Want
You and your tenants are in a relationship because of your property.
So, the property should work for you.
When you offer a well-maintained, clean, and functional rental home, you’re positioning yourself for a positive partnership with your new tenants. You’ll have the opportunity to get to know each other a little bit during the showing and application process. If they love your property, they’re going to be excited about working with you.
2. Be Proactive During the Leasing Process
Give your prospective tenants the attention they need during the leasing process (without overdoing it). Check in after they’ve seen the home and find out what they liked, what they didn’t like, and whether they want to fill out an application.
When they do apply, keep in touch as the information is received and the screening is complete. Don’t wait for them to come to you with questions. Offer your support and assistance early on in the process. They’ll appreciate your help.
3. Make the Move-In Process Easy
Moving isn’t always fun. Your tenants probably find it stressful. Even if your new residents are excited about your property, they’re still stuck in the process of moving.
You can help eliminate some of that stress for your new residents by providing a move-in process that’s transparent, easy, and effortless. This will create a great foundation for a positive relationship moving forward.
- Answer all their questions about the lease and their responsibilities ahead of time.
- Make sure the home is clean, functional, and ready for them.
- Provide an introduction to how things work – show them 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.
4. Be Open About Expectations
At the beginning of the lease period, talk to your tenants about what you expect. Discuss the lease and answer their questions. Your residents need to know how they should pay rent and what they’re responsible for in terms of maintenance and landscaping. They need to understand any HOA rules that may apply to them if your property is located in such a community. You should talk about guests, parking, and anything else that will help them understand how you expect them to be while living in your property.
All that information should be in the lease, but if you talk about it, you can reinforce those things and demonstrate your willingness to communicate.
5. Commit to Open and Frequent Communication
It’s hard to have a good relationship without having good communication. The way you communicate with your tenants sets an example and establishes the tone of your entire relationship.
Don’t expect to have a great rental experience with your residents if you can’t communicate with them. You can improve your relationship by being available and accessible to tenants when they have a question or a problem.
You’re busy, and it may be impossible to drop what you’re doing and respond every time your tenant calls or sends a message. But, don’t leave them lingering. Return those phone calls and answer those messages when you have time.
Make sure you’re transparent and accommodating when they need to talk. Don’t hide from them when they know they have a complaint, and don’t try to sugarcoat the truth when something unpleasant needs to occur. Communicate in a manner that’s direct and always be willing to listen.
6. Respond to Maintenance Issues ASAP
The way maintenance is handled will always impact your tenant relationship. Repairs are a concern for both landlords and tenants. And, nothing is more important to your tenant relationship than the way you handle these repairs and requests. 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.
Make sure your tenants understand what constitutes a maintenance emergency. Give them an idea of how quickly a problem will be fixed. If they report something minor or cosmetic that you don’t plan to address right now, explain why.
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.
7. Check In on Tenant Satisfaction
Every once in a while, check in with your tenants and make sure they’re feeling good about where they live. Conducting an informal survey is a good idea after maintenance is performed. You want to know if your tenants are satisfied with your response and your vendor’s response.
Check in during or after inspections. You don’t have to wait for a complaint to find out something is wrong. Reach out and take the pulse of your relationship every once in a while so you will know when an adjustment needs to be made.
8. Respect Your Tenant’s Privacy and Space
Tenants are entitled to the quiet enjoyment of their home.
Don’t be a pest and don’t be overbearing. You want to be friendly and accommodating, but you do not want to be in their business all the time. Tenants do not want you showing up every few weeks to inspect the home.
Yes, you own this home. But, it’s your tenants who are living in it.
Respect their space and give them their privacy. You won’t be able to maintain a positive relationship if you’re making their lives difficult. Even if your intentions are good, leave your tenants alone. You want to communicate and be available, but you don’t want to overdo it.
9. Provide Some Great Technology
Technology is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after amenities in the South Jersey rental market. You probably know this because you enjoy taking advantage of technology at your own home.
Tenants will always be looking for convenience and options. This is especially true when it comes to paying rent online. Online rental payments are the preferred method of payment for most tenants today. Talk to them about how to pay rent and when it’s due and ways they can pay.
When you allow your tenants to make their rental property feel like a home, it’s going to work well for your relationship. Maybe they want to install a video doorbell to feel safer. Let them. If they want to activate a security system, help them get it installed. A lot more tenants are working and studying from home now than they were before. Make it easy for them to access reliable internet services. You likely do not include internet services in the rent, but make sure you’re providing the resources they need. Recommend local internet providers before tenants move in.
10. Be Fair During Security Deposit Determinations
Things can get tricky during the move-out process, especially where security deposits are concerned.
Even as your tenant is moving out, you want to maintain a good relationship. It’s better for you and your tenants for them to leave feeling like they had a good experience while living in your property.
We’ve noticed that if there’s going to be a conflict or a dispute with an otherwise good tenant, it’s likely to happen during the move-out process when a landlord withholds money from a security deposit and a tenant thinks it’s unfair.
You can deduct unpaid rent and property damage. You cannot deduct for wear and tear. Don’t be overzealous. It will result in bad feelings, a ruined relationship, and potentially a court case.
Navigating the waters of a tenant relationship is not always easy. It’s why you hire professional South Jersey property managers.
If we can help, we’d like to. Specializing in positive tenant relationships is what we do. It’s one of our superpowers, actually.
Please contact us at Realty Solutions. We lease, manage, and maintain homes in Audubon, Collingswood, Cherry Hill, Haddon Heights, Blackwood, and the surrounding communities.