Learn how rental property owners can establish strong landlord-tenant relationships, from clear communication to proactive maintenance.
To set up their rental business for long-term success, investors should build positive landlord-tenant relationships. However, misunderstandings and poor communication can prevent this from happening. Empathy for tenants’ needs can help make owning a rental property a stress-free experience.
Here are the top reasons why landlord-tenant relationships fail, as well as tips on how property owners can build lasting, positive relationships with their renters.
There are many reasons tenant relationships fail. Even if you have good tenants, relationships can still turn sour. Either side can neglect their obligations or violate rights — and in extreme cases, if disputes can’t be resolved amicably, they end up going to court. Some of the most common problems include overlooked lease terms, late rent, poor communication, and ignoring or delaying maintenance responsibilities.
Though it takes effort from both parties, a healthy landlord-tenant relationship can almost always be achieved. Here are some common-sense ways you can approach your tenants and set the landlord-tenant relationship up for success.
The foundation for a healthy landlord-tenant relationship begins well before a tenant moves in. Conduct a thorough tenant screening to weed out tenants who could be problematic. Before offering a lease, have a conversation to help you gauge if they’ll be a good fit. By choosing the right tenants for your rental properties, you can set yourself up to avoid future conflicts. Vetting tenants carefully can also increase your ROI, as you boost your chances of securing long-term renters and a lower vacancy rate.
Ensure that your lease clearly outlines the rights and responsibilities of both parties to prevent surprises or resentment down the road. As a landlord, you should include clear guidelines on issues such as subletting, pets, landscaping duties, late fees, and other issues that will impact your rental business. Avoiding surprises helps prevent resentment, and if rental agreements are broken, you can much more easily resolve disagreements or, if needed, take legal recourse.
Effective communication is essential in any landlord-tenant relationship. Make sure to be transparent and keep communication lines open. This means addressing tenant concerns promptly and being available when they need to contact you. When you communicate with your tenants consistently and respond when they can reach out, they will be more forthcoming when an issue arises. For example, a tenant will feel comfortable reporting a small leak before it turns into a major plumbing issue that causes property damage.
It’s helpful to get to know your tenants and be friendly, but know where to draw the line in terms of their privacy. For example, if you need to stop by the property, give your tenants a heads up instead of showing up unannounced. Being intrusive or getting too personal will only hamper your relationship.
As a landlord, you won’t always be able to share good news with your tenants. Even if you have to tell your tenant something you know they won’t like, being honest will help build trust. If a repair can’t be addressed immediately, you should explain why, provide a realistic timeline, and offer ways to help in the meantime. Being straightforward will help establish your credibility and show that you care about their needs.
Completing proactive maintenance will help tenants feel safe and protect the long-term value of your rental property. Make sure to regularly inspect all safety features such as lights, locks, windows, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors. Create a schedule for routine maintenance such as repainting, upgrading HVAC systems, and seasonal tasks like snow removal. By anticipating maintenance issues before they become a problem, you’ll improve the landlord-tenant relationship while saving money on future repairs.
As a landlord, you have to be an expert in the real estate laws in your area. These federal, state, and local regulations are in place to protect you and your renters. By understanding key regulations around important issues — such as Fair Housing, renters rights, rent control, and security deposits — you’ll set the foundation for a positive and above-board landlord-tenant relationship.
If a tenant needs you, make it your goal to be available and follow through on your promises. Whether a tenant has concerns about a repair or a neighbor, a good landlord will listen, be respectful, and take action. When you keep your word, tenants recognize that they can count on you.
If you want to receive on-time rent payments, be sure to get rid of a cumbersome rent collection process. Requiring tenants to send paper checks in the mail leaves too much room for error. Instead, choose an online rent collection platform like Azibo which has many benefits for both tenants and landlords. Tenants can choose from flexible payment methods, including bank transfer, debit card, or credit card, and can set up automated payments so they never miss a deadline. Landlords can easily track tenants payment status, and have a record of their payments to minimize disputes.
The landlord-tenant relationship is a vital part of any rental property owner’s success. It takes effort from both parties to ensure that all communications and transactions are smooth and mutually beneficial. Establishing and maintaining good relationships with tenants will not only improve your bottom line, but will also make your tenants’ experience a good one which helps you build your reputation as a great landlord among other potential tenants.