It’s easy to see why so many landlords have trouble maintaining positive relationships with tenants. After all, many people are naturally disdainful of anyone to whom they hand over a large portion of their monthly income. Furthermore, some landlords regularly find themselves in conflict with local governments and maintenance personnel. Rental property owners looking to avoid contentious professional relationships and majorly cut back on stress are encouraged to heed the following pointers.
Maintain Professional Boundaries
While you should certainly seek to maintain friendly relationships with tenants, you should think twice about becoming friends with your renters. This isn’t to say you should close yourself off to the possibility entirely, but before entering into friendships with tenants, it’s important to understand the ways in which this might shake up the landlord/renter dynamic. For example, if a tenant is unable to pay their rent on time, charging them late fees or making inquiries as to when they’ll be able to pay can be extremely awkward if this person is someone you consider a friend. Furthermore, if you provide special treatment to tenants with whom you’ve become friends, you’re liable to be (justifiably) accused of favoritism by other renters.
Should you choose to become friends with renters, make an effort to separate your friendships from your professional relationships. Being your friend shouldn’t exempt someone from the same rules followed by other tenants, nor should it entitle them to take advantage of their friend status. Since this can be a very tricky tightrope to walk, but if you opt to pursue friendships with tenants, these are issues you’ll need to address.
Explain the Rationale Behind Rent Increases
At the end of the day, your rental property is a vehicle through which to generate income. And if you’re not getting more out of the investment than you’re putting into it, there’s no sense in hanging onto the property. Still, while making a profit may be your primary goal, this doesn’t make it okay to price-gouge your renters. In recent years, many landlords have taken to raising rent by needlessly exorbitant amounts, thereby placing a financial strain on their tenants and drawing their ire. Needless to say, this is anything but conducive to friendly landlord/renter relationships.
There are a number of justifiable reasons for which property owners raise rent, with rising utility costs, maintenance expenses and property taxes being prime examples. However, raising rent simply because you think you can get more out of your tenants is unlikely to go over well. In addition to feeling as if they’re being punished for keeping up with rent, many tenants are likely to pack up and leave when faced with unjustified rent increases.
That being the case, make a point of explaining the rationale behind each rent increase and providing your tenants with ample advance notice of them. Even with an explanation, many tenants are likely to be irked by increases in rent, but they’ll at least have a clearer understanding of why those increases are necessary.
Provide Plenty of Advance Notice About Large-Scale Renovations
Although ambitious renovations are often needed to keep properties safe and livable – particularly older properties – they can be very inconvenient for the people occupying those properties. With this in mind, make a point of providing tenants with ample advance notice of any large-scale renovations that are in the pipeline. The sooner tenants learn about upcoming renovations, the more time they’ll have to prepare for them and alter their usual routines accordingly.
You can also help ensure that renovations proceed at a steady pace by hiring contractors who are licensed, insured and able to pull the necessary permits before beginning work. The permit pulling process can be particularly convenient in cities and townships that utilize user-friendly municipal software.
As many landlords can attest, maintaining positive relationships with certain tenants can be an uphill battle. Landlords often feel as if there’s no pleasing tenants, while tenants often feel as if landlords aren’t doing nearly enough to ensure a comfortable living experience. However, while cultivating friendly relationships with renters can sometimes be challenging, doing so is well within the abilities of most landlords. So, if you’re looking to keep disagreements with your tenants to the barest of minimums, take care to equip yourself with the tips outlined above.