10 Ideas for Improving Landlord-Tenant Communication
Communication is a key component of any good relationship, and landlords and tenants are no exception. But just as managers need to learn how to hone communication skills with their employees, landlords need to practice and study tips on how to best communicate with their tenants. Check out 10 ideas below on how to create more open, honest, and frequent communication with tenants.
1. Let Tenants Know You’re Available
The first step in establishing good landlord-tenant communication is letting your tenants know you’re available to talk to them whenever they need you. By showing your willingness to stay in touch, tenants will feel more comfortable reaching out in the future. Establishing open communication from the beginning will save you time and money in the long run, since tenants will be more likely to keep you in the loop if there’s ever a problem.
2. Minimize Maintenance Visits
Though you may think that sending a repair person for every single maintenance request will satisfy your tenants, the best option is to enable them to take care of some small fixes on their own. Tenants will be glad to avoid the hassle of scheduling a repair visit, and you’ll save money in the long run.
3. Respond Quickly to Repair Requests
Anytime your tenants make a repair request, it’s vital that you respond promptly and politely if you want to maintain good communication lines. As we mentioned in the last point, the tenants might be able to make some quick repairs on their own, but they’ll still appreciate hearing back from you quickly. Send a professional repair person for more serious repair requests and emergencies, like flooding.
4. Establish Trust
If your tenant’s not communicating, it may be because you haven’t established enough trust. Show that you’re a trustworthy landlord by doing what you’ll say you’ll do, checking in regularly, and being honest. Your tenants will feel more comfortable reaching out to you when they know you’ll follow through and keep your word.
5. Give Tenants a Heads-Up
No tenant likes it when a handyman or contractor shows up unannounced or on short notice. Make sure you always give your tenants plenty of notice when it comes to repair appointments, showings, or other events that require you or someone else to enter their home. Try to work around their schedule and give a friendly reminder on the day of the appointment. Your tenants will appreciate the respect you’ve given them, and show the same respect in return.
6. Be Honest
Competitive rental markets can make it tempting for landlords to gloss over some of the less-than-desirable details about a property, but it’s best to be honest with tenants from the first interaction. This means you need to disclose everything a tenant should know about the condition of the property or the included amenities. Exaggerating certain aspects of the property will only cause distrust down the road.
7. Spread Good News
When it comes to learning how to talk to tenants, you might be focused on how to deliver bad news or deal with stressful situations. But these conversations will be much easier if you take time to emphasize positive things that are happening to the property. If you’re investing in upgrades like new carpet or fresh paint, make sure all of your tenants hear the good news.
8. Offer Multiple Communication Channels
If a tenant is not responding to the landlord, it may simply be because they prefer another mode of communication. You have many ways to get in touch with your tenants, so make sure you’re offering several options to get the best results out of your landlord-tenant relationships. SMS, email, phone calls, and letters are all a great way to stay in touch. Rather than guessing which communication style your tenants prefer, ask them outright when they first move in.
9. Keep Messages Simple
It can be easy to overthink your message to your tenants, especially if you have to be the bearer of bad news. But the most effective communication between landlord and tenant is usually short and simple. Don’t use complex phrases, big words, or run-on sentences. Keep your messages to-the-point and polite, and consider the medium you’re using. For example, email is better for longer, detailed messages, while text is best for quick or time-sensitive messages.
10. Hire a Property Management Answering Service
As a landlord, you have a lot on your plate. Communicating with tenants may not be your strength, and that’s okay. Hiring a property management answering service can save you a lot of time and stress by delegating the job of talking to tenants to an outside call center. Your tenants will appreciate having an easy and efficient way to reach you at any time, and you’ll free up more of your time for other important day-to-day tasks.
Learning How to Talk to Tenants
Learning how to talk to tenants is a skill that you’ll get better at over time. Coordinating move-in dates, collecting rent, and dealing with maintenance issues can be stressful for any landlord, but great communication skills will make it easier to handle any challenge that comes your way. Incorporate these 10 tips and you’ll be less likely to have major issues with your tenants.