How to Work With Your Renters as a Property Owner in Charleston

July 30, 2020 | By Charleston Property Company

You work hard to create good relationships with your tenants. Building lasting relationships helps you keep quality tenants who renew their lease! When you don't have to find new tenants every twelve months, your properties have a better ROI. 

What happens during a crisis? If you don't already have a healthy level of trust with your tenants, a relationship can sour when a crisis makes it difficult for tenants to pay the rent. Property owners need to have a plan for maintaining good relationships when conditions are less-than-ideal.

We can help! Following these tips from the experts in property management, Charleston, SC landlords, might just save your property's profitability!

Keep in mind: These suggestions are just that—suggestions. They do not act as a suitable substitute for sound legal advice. If you're in dire need of direct action and assistance, get in touch with a professional attorney or Charleston Property Company! 

Stay Compassionate

Your tenants know that the rent is due every month—even during a crisis. However, if tenants deal with job loss or income reduction when the economy suffers, they might struggle to pay the rent. 

Landlords must still enforce the rules in the lease agreement, including rent collection—but a compassionate approach can go a long way toward helping you get paid and keeping a positive relationship with your tenants. 

Before demanding the rent, reach out to your tenants to check-in:

  • Let them know you understand the economic challenges could affect their income.
  • Talk with them about the realities of what they owe vs. what they can realistically pay.
  • Offer a payment plan to help them through a tough financial time.

Don't let the stress of delays to your rental income get in the way of staying professional and prioritizing excellent relationships with your tenants!

Communicate Letters

Keep Communication Open

One of the essential aspects of excellent property management, Charleston, SC landlords, is maintaining good communication. If tenants are afraid to come to you when they can't pay the rent, it's time to work on your communication skills!

While it's critical to maintain "office hours," sometimes being a landlord means being on-call during evenings and weekends. During a crisis, you could be working from home to accommodate social distancing rather than "making the rounds."

It's critical not to disappear from your tenants—especially during a crisis! You don't have to talk with every tenant every day. However, they should know about changes to your operations and location during a crisis. Tenants should be able to reach you and feel comfortable talking with you about challenges paying the rent or maintenance needs. 

Remain Consistent

Keep doing what you do! You might need to modify how you do itbut as the crisis allows, maintain business as usual.

That includes:

  • Keeping tenants updated on changing protocols throughout the crisis
  • Enforcing rent collection 
  • Providing emergency maintenance services
  • Being available during "regular" hours

Tenants will understand if you need to adjust some services during a crisis, like pausing non-emergency maintenance repairs. Make those changes clear to your tenants, and assure them that you'll resolve non-emergency requests as soon as you can while prioritizing emergencies during a crisis. 

Enforce the Rules (Within Reason)

Being the landlord means you have to take charge of your properties and operations, no matter your operating conditions. The same rules you enforce before and after a crisis must be enforced during a crisis—within reason. 

Use your best judgment, but know that the lease still applies in times of uncertainty. It's the one thing that won't (and can't) change in a crisis! However, flexibility (and compassion) can help you maintain good tenant relationships while protecting your properties. 

Make sure your tenants know:

  • The rent is still due (even with a modified payment plan).
  • Late fees and other lease violation penalties still apply (within reason).
  • An eviction is still an option (after the crisis ends).

A crisis is not an opportunity for tenants to break the rules or take advantage of your compassion without penalty. Even if you can't evict until a crisis ends, document rule violations or nonpayment and begin the eviction process when the option is available again. 

Two people holding speech bubble

Offer Cooperation

Again, landlords shouldn't social distance at home and leave every tenant for themselves! You're still in charge of this ship, even during a crisis.

However, being cooperative can go a long way to maintain tenant relationships beyond a crisis and into a new lease renewal. A crisis provides an opportunity for you to win over your tenants—or lose them altogether. They'll look to you about what to do to stay safe in their homes and pay the rent throughout a crisis. If you're cooperative and compassionate with them in uncertain times, you'll win them over as a landlord they can depend on in a crisis. 

A Property Manager Helps Maintain Tenant Relationships in a Crisis

Knowing how to handle tenants is challenging under "normal" conditions. Choosing professional property management, Charleston, SC landlords, is the best way to manage tenants before, during, and after crisis!

Charleston Property Company has been through good times and challenging times with tenants. Our experience helps us manage positive tenant relationships during a crisis while protecting your investments!

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