Property management is a relationship business. We work hard to develop and maintain cooperative, professional, and respectful relationships with our owners and also with our tenants. Experience has demonstrated over and over again that when our tenants are satisfied, our jobs are easier.
If you’re not working with professional Roanoke property managers, you’ll be responsible for your own tenant relationships. It’s important that you understand this truth: Happy tenants lead to happy rental property owners. Establishing and maintaining a good relationship with your residents is critical to your investment success. Retaining great tenants increases what you earn because it prevents vacancy and turnover costs.
Smart landlords will establish expectations with their tenants before the keys and first month’s rent are even exchanged. Once you have your tenants in place, work on the relationship throughout the tenancy. Be responsive and available, and let them know you value their business.
If you’re looking for a path towards a better tenant relationship, we have some ideas that are sure to help.
Benefits of Good Relationships with Roanoke Tenants
There’s always been a myth that landlord and tenant relationships are, by their nature, adversarial. It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, it shouldn’t be that way. Good tenant relationships can save you money and even help you earn more on your Roanoke rental property in the long term. Here are some of the benefits you’ll enjoy when you build a great relationship with your residents.
Rental Payments are More Likely to be On Time with a Good Tenant Relationship
This is kind of a no-brainers. Of course disgruntled tenants are going to drag their feet when it comes to paying rent. The tenants you work well with are more likely to pay their rent on time. They will care about your good opinion of them, and they’ll make sure they don’t do anything to jeopardize your relationship. Happy tenants will want to make a good impression on the landlord who seems to care about them. A good relationship also means they’ll be comfortable coming to you if they’re facing a financial mishap one month and need some flexibility. This is far more manageable than chasing down late rent or not knowing when it can be expected.
Timely Maintenance Reporting from Tenants Satisfied with Where they Live
Sometimes, tenants hesitate to report maintenance issues, especially if they’re minor. They will be afraid that they’ll be blamed. If they don’t have a good relationship with you, they’ll worry that you’re going to be angry or that it will trigger a rental increase. This type of hesitation is a problem for you, because deferred and unreported repair issues will only grow more complicated and more expensive with time.
Let your tenants know that you want to have even minor issues reported right away. If you have a good relationship with your residents, they won’t hesitate to let you know when something is wrong. Tenants who are nervous about their landlords will not want to be forthcoming when something breaks or needs to be replaced. You don’t want to put your property at risk this way.
Good Tenant Relationships Lead to Easily Enforced Lease Agreements
Lease violations are uncommon when you have a good relationship with your Roanoke residents. You’ll have a better time working with renters who understand their responsibilities and your expectations. A good relationship means you can have conversations before the tenancy even starts about what’s required according to the lease. Tenants will feel comfortable asking questions, and they’ll be willing to talk with you about things like pets, guests, parking, utilities, and other lease-related issues.
If you do encounter a situation in which the lease has been violated, having a professional and working relationship with your tenants will make it easier to talk with them and resolve the issue. It shouldn’t take too long for them to come into compliance with your help and direction. If a tenant respects you and their relationship with you, they will expect to be accountable to the lease that they signed.
Work Well with Your Tenants for Lower Tenant Turnover
One of the most important benefits to a good tenant relationship is lower tenant turnover. You want to keep your good tenants.
Why? Because keeping the tenants you have in place and renewing the lease agreement for another year or longer is a great way to increase your rental income and your ROI. There’s less vacancy to worry about and you won’t have to make those expensive repairs and updates during a turnover process.
How to Build Great Roanoke Landlord and Tenant Relationships
It’s easy to see why positive landlord and tenant relationships are so critical. So, how do you make sure that you’re establishing and nurturing these good relationships?
You have to know what tenants really care about.
Provide an Easy Move-In Process That’s Clear
Moving isn’t always fun. There are a million details to manage and it’s stressful. Even if your new residents are excited about your property, they’re still stuck in the process of moving.
You can help eliminate some of that stress for your new residents by providing a move-in process that’s transparent, easy, and effortless. This will create a great foundation for a positive relationship moving forward. Answer all their questions about the lease and their responsibilities ahead of time. Make sure the home is clean, functional, and ready for them. Provide an introduction to how things work – show them how to turn the appliances on and where to find the air filters. These things will make a big difference during the early part of the tenancy.
At the beginning of the lease period, talk to your tenants about what you expect. Discuss the lease and answer their questions. Your residents need to know how they should pay rent and what they’re responsible for in terms of maintenance and landscaping. All that information should be in the lease, but if you talk about it, you can reinforce those things and demonstrate your willingness to communicate.
Communicate Honestly and Openly
This isn’t unique to real estate and property management: Communication is the foundation of any good relationship. You won’t have a great rental experience with your residents if you can’t communicate with them. You can improve your relationship by being available and accessible to tenants when they have a question or a problem.
Make sure you’re transparent and accommodating when they need to talk. Don’t hide from them when they know they have a complaint, and don’t try to sugarcoat the truth when something unpleasant needs to occur. Communicate in a manner that’s direct and always be willing to listen.
Prompt Maintenance Responses Lead to Better Tenant Relationships
Maintenance is always a concern for both landlords and tenants. And, nothing is more important to your tenant relationship than the way you handle these repairs and requests. Responding to repair needs with a sense of urgency protects the condition of your property and shows your tenants that you care about their comfort and safety.
Don’t make promises that you cannot keep. If you say you’re going to fix something, fix it. After the work has been done, follow up with a call or a text to make sure the tenants are pleased with the results.
You’ll also need to be available in case there’s an emergency. A tenant is going to get very frustrated if there’s a major issue like toilets that aren’t flushing or air conditioning that isn’t working and you are impossible to get in touch with. Be ready to respond, and make sure your residents understand that you can be counted on to take care of both emergency and routine repair issues.
Respect Your Tenant’s Privacy and Space
Tenants are entitled to the quiet enjoyment of their home. They don’t need you showing up every few weeks to inspect the home. It’s true that you own this home, but it’s your tenants who are living in it. Respect their space and their privacy. You won’t be able to maintain a positive relationship if you’re a pest. Even if your intentions are good, leave your tenants alone. You want to communicate and be available, but you don’t want to overdo it.
Your tenants want to be left alone to enjoy the privacy and quiet of their home. While conducting an inspection during the course of the tenancy is reasonable, schedule it well in advance.
Invest in Technology that Tenants Expect
Tenants will always be looking for convenience and options. This is especially true when it comes to paying rent online. Online rental payments are the preferred method of payment for most tenants today. Talk to them about how to pay rent and when it’s due and ways they can pay.
When you allow your tenants to make their rental property feel like a home, it’s going to work well for your relationship. Maybe they want to install a video doorbell to feel safer. Let them. If they want to activate a security system, help them get it installed. A lot more tenants are working and studying from home now than they were before. Make it easy for them to access reliable internet services.
We specialize in good tenant relationships. Please contact us at Lawson Realty Group if you need help identifying, placing, and retaining great tenants. We manage properties in Southwest Virginia throughout the Roanoke Valley, including Salem, Cave Spring, Hollins, Vinton, Glenvar, and Southwest Roanoke County.