When you start working as a landlord, it's easy to prioritize to get everything done. We all have our "have to have" and our "nice to have" lists, and on the busiest weeks, we only get to the essential tasks.
One task that may seem less critical—but as a rental property manager, Charleston landlords, we would argue is absolutely necessary—is creating lasting tenant relationships.
Most Charleston property management companies would back us up here concerning the truth about how you and your tenants relate will be a significant factor in many of the long-term decisions they make regarding your property. This includes everything from its care and upkeep to whether or not your renters will renew their lease down the road.
Today, we want to focus on the importance of the relationships you have with your residents—especially during times like these when we've all realized we need each other more than we ever thought possible.
A quick note: While this blog post is designed to give you some tips to improve rental relationships before they ever have a chance to take a turn for the worst, this post is not intended as legal advice! When in doubt, work through such situations with your trusted rental property manager, Charleston landlords!
Why Focus on Tenant Relationships?
There are at least three reasons to make sure you focus on tenant relationships, but they all come back to the same truth: happy tenants are usually also better tenants. When tenants feel that you listen to them and consider what they are going through, they are more likely to do all of the following:
- Protect your property: When a tenant knows you personally in some respect and feels like you listen to what they need, they are more likely to see the space that they're occupying as an extension of you (and themselves) and treat it with respect. This, of course, applies to deliberate damage—but it also applies to other maintenance-related issues. If your tenant has a great, open relationship with you and notices a little water spot on the ceiling, they are more likely to put in a work request and get it fixed before it becomes an extensive—and expensive—problem.
- Stay longer: Tenants who are happy with you and with the property as you run it are going to consider renewing their lease. When they know that you are a fair person who doesn't raise rent except when necessary, they will develop loyalty. You save a lot of money through not having to find a new tenant, so creating a positive bond can be very helpful.
- Pay rent during tough times: When a tenant feels like you don't care about them or their welfare, they may be less likely to prioritize paying rent when they fall on tough times, such as sudden unemployment during a pandemic. By creating an open and lasting relationship, however, you make it clear that your tenants matter to you. They'll be more likely to prioritize getting the rent in and on time. If they simply cannot pay, they'll talk to you more readily about a payment plan or deferral.
So, how do you cultivate these relationships? Here are some simple ways as your rental property manager, Charleston landlords, we approach this issue.
Show Care Through Small Appreciative Acts
It doesn't take a lot of money to create a tenant appreciation program: everything from a heartfelt note of welcome to a little surprise on their doorstep to a check-in when you hear that they are going through something tough can speak volumes. Even remembering birthdays can show you to be a person who appreciates their business rather than just the other side of the rent check.
Communicate Regularly, so Nothing Surprises Them
When you make sure that your tenants know about everything from planned maintenance to new amenities promptly and ahead of time, they grow to trust that nothing big or bad will happen to surprise them.
This makes it easier to introduce any unfortunate news, like a need to raise the rent or change a policy going forward, because you've already established a level of trust and reliability. When difficulties emerge, be proactive about reaching out and seeing what is going on with your tenants; make sure they know you want to talk to them and keep the communication channels open.
Respond to Work Orders Promptly and Thoroughly
When your tenants are first getting to know you, one of the best ways to stand out from the rest of the landlords in your area is to have skilled, quick technicians complete all requested work orders very promptly. When tenants see that you invest part of their rent in getting the best person for the job and completing each repair carefully, they grow to believe they are staying in a good property.
Your Rental Property Manager, Charleston Landlords, Can Help!
At Charleston Property Company, we have spent many years discovering the various ways you can make tenant relationships less tense and more pleasant—all while noting red flags that may not be problems you can solve. The property manager you trust to form relationships with your tenants can help see you through challenging and uncertain economic times and give you the information you need to make decisions about your rental property.
Many people are worried that even a great tenant relationship won't stop them from losing rental income as we begin to exit this pandemic. Download our Collecting Rent in a Crisis Handbook for tips on compassionately and creatively connecting with your tenants to make a plan even when they are in difficult straits.