Property management is a relationship business. We know this because we’ve been leasing, managing, and maintaining rental homes in Cleveland and the surrounding areas for many years. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without the fantastic relationships we have with owners, tenants, vendors, and other community partners.
We know that happy tenants are important. When tenants are happy, they’re more likely to pay rent on time. They’re willing to help maintain your property and they can be trusted to follow the terms of the lease agreement. Happy tenants will renew their leases, sparing you the expenses associated with vacancy and turnover.
If you’re managing your own rental property, you’ll need to develop and maintain your own relationships with tenants. You’re working towards a positive, professional relationship that’s based on respect and a commitment to the lease agreement you both signed.
There’s a huge perception that landlord and tenant relationships are inherently adversarial. They don’t have to be. You’ll find you have a better rental experience – and a more profitable one – when you get along well with your renters.
If you’re looking for a path towards a better tenant relationship, we have some ideas.
Start with a Stress-Free Move-In
Moving is stressful for your tenants, and when you eliminate some of that stress, you’ll establish a great foundation for a good relationship.
Before move-in day, make sure you’ve discussed the lease in detail and answered any questions your new residents might have about what’s expected. Providing a process that’s transparent, easy, and effortless will allow you to earn your tenant’s trust.
- Make sure the home is clean, functional, and ready for occupancy.
- Provide an introduction to how things work – leave tenants instructions on 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.
Always talk to your tenants about what you expect. Your residents need to know how they should pay rent and what they’re responsible for in terms of maintenance and landscaping. All that information will certainly be in the lease agreement, but if you talk about it, you can reinforce those requirements and demonstrate your willingness to communicate.
Provide Conveniences Such as Online Rent Payments
Tenants don’t want to waste time, and they don’t want to operate in ways that seem inefficient to them.
Paying rent, for example, should be convenient and secure.
You can improve your relationship with your tenants by offering online or electronic rental payments. This will make their lives easier (and yours, too). Instead of writing out checks, they can pay rent from their phone or their laptop.
As Cleveland property managers, we have an online software system that accepts rental payments. You don’t need all that technology; download a payment app and offer it to your tenants. They’ll be pleased with this process, and you’re likely to get rent paid on time with more consistency. Not chasing down late rent will definitely be good for your relationship.
Don’t Make Tenants Wait for Maintenance
You have to be responsive when it comes to maintenance. Respond with a sense of urgency, even if it’s a minor repair.
It’s possible that nothing is more important to your tenant relationship than the way you handle maintenance. Responding to repair needs immediately protects the condition of your property and shows your tenants that you care about their comfort and safety. You’re more likely to retain tenants when you are responsive with maintenance.
Emergencies are never fun for tenants or for landlords. You’ll need to be available in case there’s an unexpected problem such as a flood, a fire, or a sewer back-up. In Cleveland, heat is a must in the winter. Prepare to send over a vendor if a tenant reports the heat has stopped working.
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. This will help your relationship.
Respect Your Tenant’s Privacy and Space
You may think you have the right to show up at the property any time you want. It belongs to you, after all.
While it may be your legal possession, it’s the place that your tenants call home. They deserve some privacy. You won’t be able to maintain a positive relationship if you’re showing up at the property every few weeks. It’s annoying, even if your intentions are good.
Your tenants want to be left alone to enjoy the privacy and quiet of their home. While conducting an inspection during the course of the tenancy is reasonable, schedule it well in advance.
Communicate Transparently with Cleveland Tenants
There’s no way to establish a good relationship if you can’t communicate.
Communication is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship. Make an effort to communicate well by making yourself available and accessible. Answer questions. Solve problems. You may not think it’s your problem when a tenant comes to you with a complaint. But, if you’re willing to listen to what they have to say, you’ll have a grateful tenant who appreciates the time you took to hear them out.
Good communication starts during the marketing of your home. When someone gets in touch about your rental property, don’t avoid the contact. Answer questions. Schedule showings. Get some information from them so you can start the relationship meaningfully.
Landlords tend to avoid tenants, especially when there’s bad news to share or you need to hold your tenants accountable for something. Don’t be afraid. As long as you’re direct and honest, tenants will respect you. Respect leads to positive relationships.
It’s also helpful to communicate with your tenants in ways they prefer. You might have tenants who prefer texting and instant messaging to phone calls. Property managers have the advantage of providing online portals, which makes communication easy and well-documented. Be willing to communicate in whatever way works for your residents. There will be fewer communication failures.
We believe strong tenant relationships are incredibly important. Please contact us at Avalon Group Realty for help in improving your tenant relationship. We serve the Cleveland metro area, including Kamm’s Corner, West Park, Fairview Park, Lakewood, Parma, Parma Heights, Bedford, and Bedford Heights.