New Landlord Introduction Letter: What It Is and How to Write One
As real estate investors know, property management doesn't always go according to plan. For example, you might close on your dream investment property, only to instantly and unexpectedly become a landlord. How? Because the property is housing renters who are only partway through their lease term.
Whether you plan to allow tenants to stay or attempt to vacate the property, you'll need to first introduce yourself through a new ownership letter to tenants. A landlord introduction letter provides you the opportunity to lay down the ground rules for the remainder of a renter's tenancy and to get on the same page about things like rent collection and maintenance requests. It's also a great way to start building rapport and avoid misunderstandings.
In this blog, we’ll explain what a landlord introduction letter is, why you should send one, and what's important to include. We’ll also cover how to end a lease agreement if you’d like to have the property vacated and discuss what your options are if the tenant(s) want to stay.
What is a landlord introduction letter?
A landlord introduction letter is a written statement created by the property manager to introduce themselves to their tenants. It also serves the purpose of addressing any changes to the rental agreement following a transfer of ownership.
Generally, the main points that a landlord introduction letter should cover are to let the renter know where and how to make subsequent rent payments, how to submit maintenance requests, and how to contact their new landlord.
Why send an introduction letter to tenants?
Sending a landlord introduction letter reassures tenants that their living situations aren’t about to drastically change, which can help prevent misunderstandings as you start to take over the rental property. Landlord introduction letters also provide property owners with the opportunity to set the tone for the kind of communication they’d like to have with their tenants. The letter serves as a point of reference in case there are issues with your tenants in the future.
What should you include in a landlord introduction letter?
Landlord introduction letters should be straightforward -- keep it short and sweet. Every landlord introduction letter should include you or your property manager’s contact information, instructions on how to pay rent, and instructions on how to submit maintenance requests.
The landlord introduction letter is also a good place to include a property inspection date if you plan on conducting a home or pest inspection. This can be a good time to ask your tenants to update their information in case phone numbers or living situations have changed from the time they signed their original lease to the time you took over the property, as well.
Below, we've dive a little deeper into each component of a good introduction letter to tenants:
New management contact information
Before leaving, the previous landlord may have given tenants your contact information. However, if you prefer communicating with tenants through your property manager, it’s important to list your property management company’s phone number, email address, and hours of operation in your letter.
Be sure to clarify who your tenants should contact in any given event. For example, you may have one employee designated for regular maintenance requests, another for emergencies, and yet a third person for rent collection. Make sure to include a phone number and email for each employee. This becomes increasingly important as your rental business starts to grow and you manage multiple units.
Rent collection instructions
Every landlord introduction letter should come with clear instructions on how to pay rent. Receiving rent payments on time and in full is what keeps rental businesses afloat, so all of your tenants need to be aware of any changes regarding rent collection.
If you or your property management company use certain software, such as Azibo, to collect payments, provide instructions for how tenants can create a renter profile and link their financial institution. If you prefer to collect rent through Zelle or direct transfer, make sure to include your bank account information to facilitate online transfers.
Another option that could help reduce stress on your end would be to use the same management company as the previous landlord.
Whatever rent collection method you choose, make sure to clearly explain how and when renters should be paying rent in your landlord introduction letter.
Maintenance request systems
Equally as important as facilitating rent collection is facilitating maintenance requests. Your tenants should be able to count on prompt maintenance service from you or your property management team when they’re dealing with issues like lost keys, a leaky faucet, or a pest infestation. Failing to address these issues in a timely fashion could harm your tenant-landlord relationship or even land you in court if the issue escalates and becomes a safety hazard.
Whether you deal with property management issues directly or through a third party, be sure to provide tenants with clear instructions on how to submit maintenance requests. This can be done through text, email, or a landlord portal.
Property inspection date
Ideally, you'll have done a walkthrough of the property and conducted all relevant inspections before closing the sale. However, if you decide to schedule your inspection after you've acquired the property, you’ll need to notify tenants before entering their space. Consider letting them suggest dates and times that would work best for them, as this signals to tenants that you respect their time and can help foster a strong landlord-tenant relationship as a result.
Request for updated tenant information
Lastly, you want to make sure you have up-to-date information on your tenants. You can attach a tenant information form to your introduction letter or simply ask them to email you an updated phone number, email address, emergency contact, employment information, and vehicle information. You may also want to ask your tenants if there are people living on the property that were not included in the original rental agreement, and whether they're subletting their space to a third party.
How to terminate existing leases
Some real estate investors purchase property with no intention of becoming landlords. In these cases, it's best to terminate any existing leases as soon as possible. However, terminating a lease is not as simple as telling your tenant they have to leave. Incoming landlords must respect existing rental agreements, even after they close on a property. Furthermore, it’s illegal to evict tenants before their lease term ends.
How much of a notice you’ll need to provide depends on local laws as well as the type of lease your tenants have. For example, month-to-month leases usually require a 30-day notice, while fixed-term leases require a 30 to 90-day notice.
Terminating a rental agreement without a notice period is possible if both you and the tenant agree to do so. You may be able to incentivize a tenant to terminate their lease early by covering moving costs or offering discounted rent while they look for a new place.
However, if the tenant is unable or unwilling to end the lease early, there are typically two courses of action you can take as a landlord, depending on the lease term:
Tenants on a fixed-term lease
When a tenant has a lease with a set amount of time remaining on it, your best course of action is to let the lease term run its course. As the end of the lease term approaches, you can inform the tenant that their rental agreement won’t renewed. Once you own the property, you’re under no obligation to renew existing lease agreements; you simply need to observe the remainder of the lease term.
In the meantime, you can scan the original lease agreement for potential clause violations. If a tenant is in clear violation of any terms in the original lease, you might be able to legally evict them before their term ends.
Tenants on a short-term lease
Typically, a short-term lease lasts 6 months or less. This type of lease tends to have fewer tenant protections than a long-term lease, meaning it'll probably be easier for you to terminate it early.
Furthermore, short-term tenants on a month-to-month lease are likely less attached to the property, making it easier for them to accept a move-out incentive provided by the landlord. If paying for moving costs or offering discounted rent isn’t enough to convince a tenant, consider buying them out of the lease outright.
Landlord introduction letter template
When writing a new landlord introduction letter, it's imperative that you cover all your bases in a clear and concise manner. To help you do so, we've put together a template you can use:
Dear [tenant name],
My name is [landlord name], and I’ll be taking over [property address] in the coming weeks. Change in ownership will take place starting on [date], after which all rent payments and maintenance requests should be directed to [me/property management company]. It’s a pleasure to be taking over, and I look forward to meeting you in person.
I'd like to advise you on the following:
- Questions about your lease agreement, maintenance requests, or other property-related issues should be redirected to [contact detail]. Please allow 24 hours for the property management team to respond.
- According to your existing rental agreement, monthly rent is set at [$ rent amount] and is expected to be paid on the [day] of every month. Rent payments should be made through [preferred rent payment method] and addressed to [landlord name] starting on [date].
- I’d like to schedule a property inspection towards the end of the month. Please send me an email at [email address] suggesting dates and times that work best for you.
- Please also send updated tenant information to [email address]. Kindly include your phone number, email address, names of tenants, etc.
Kindest regards and I look forward to hearing back from you,
The final word on landlord introduction letters
A well-written landlord introduction letter can make all the difference in your landlord-tenant relationship. Not only does a new landlord letter establish ground rules between you and your renters, but it also allows you to introduce yourself to your tenants and set the tone for the remainder of their tenancy. This helps build rapport and may even help avoid misunderstandings before they occur. The transfer of ownership may seem clear to the buyer and seller, but the tenant can easily feel left out. Sending them a landlord introduction letter that is clear, yet friendly, helps ease some of that tension.