Communication is the foundation of successful tenant-landlord relationships. If you want to see long-term tenants and renewed leases, communication is the first place to start.
How can you improve your communication with tenants? What styles and mediums of communication are most effective in resolving conflicts and reaching tenants? Ask yourself questions like these as you consider how to maximize your communication practices.
Technology also poses new questions and concerns for communication. Various age and demographic groups use different devices, apps, and mediums to send and receive messages. If you have a range of tenants, how do you know which communicative avenues to choose?
No matter how you communicate, basic principles should govern all your tenant conversations.
Here are five steps to better communication with your renters and some ideas for implementing them.
1. Be Clear and Professional
As a tenant, there’s nothing more frustrating than a confusing email from a landlord. Whether you’re emailing, messaging, or talking on the phone, clarity is essential for strong communication.
Don’t be vague or indecisive about deadlines, policies, or penalties. If you don’t know the answer to a question, letting a tenant know you’ll get back to them is often better than fudging a half-answer or delaying the response. If you’re honest and upfront with tenants, they will know you’ve received their message, care about the concern, and will investigate a solution as soon as possible.
These practices also play into professionalism. Demonstrating professionalism in your communication indicates high-quality rental management and helps build a positive reputation for your business.
Professionalism includes replying to messages promptly, being clear and concise, and maintaining skilled organization.
2. Don’t Give Out Personal Contact Information
Another best practice for communication is to avoid giving out your personal phone or email. While it can be tempting to give tenants access to a convenient way to reach you, this practice can introduce future problems.
For instance, if tenants have direct access to you 24/7, you may find it difficult to enforce boundaries between your professional and personal obligations.
Do provide a way for tenants to reach you for emergencies – maybe a work phone number tenants can call in case of certain scenarios where immediate action is necessary. Otherwise, have tenants contact you through another method.
3. Use Chat Features
One such substitute is a digital chat feature. Chat functions are offered on many property management software platforms. If you have an account, you can communicate with tenants through an instant messaging platform designed specifically for landlord-tenant communication.
There are several benefits of chat features over email or personal phones. Chat features centralize all your tenant conversations in one place, so they’re easy for you to find and track. You don’t have to scroll through your entire inbox to locate tenant emails mixed in with work, family, or personal messages.
This feature also simplifies communication on the tenant’s end. If you provide tenants with multiple means of communication, they may be confused about what kinds of messages should be sent where. With the chat feature, tenants always know how to reach you.
4. Be Accommodating
Like any relationship, your tenant-landlord relationships will thrive when you are a generous and accommodating listener. As it’s your responsibility to maintain your properties, take tenant concerns seriously.
When it comes to rent collection, reasonable or unforeseen circumstances might justify your accommodation. For instance, if a renter’s paycheck is delayed by their employer, they might have difficulty paying rent on the first of the month. Because of unpredictable difficulties and delays involved with transferring money, grace periods are generally advised.
5. Don’t Accept Excuses
While accommodating tenants is important, you also shouldn’t accept excuses. Enforce the same policies and penalties toward all tenants equally, even when you can understand a tenant’s predicament.
Be open and honest about how you enforce rules across all your tenants. Clearly communicate these rules when tenants move in. This way, there’s no confusion about tenant responsibilities and your right to enforce them.
Communicating Effectively for Strong Tenant-Landlord Relationships
Communication can become a tedious task when you consider it just another thing to do. However, if you think of communication as relationship-building, you will see much better results in your rental business. Well-established tenant-landlord relationships lead to renewed leases and long-term renting. By prioritizing clarity, professionalism, honesty, and equality in your communication practices, you can build lasting relationships and long-term renters.