When you have strong communication with your tenants, they’ll feel more at ease with you and be more likely to respect your rules. Good communication makes your expectations clear and makes tenants feel comfortable reaching out to you for various reasons.
To foster better communication on a level that makes your job easier, try the following tips.
- Communicate in writing
Although you’ll have plenty of conversations with your tenants over the phone and in person, always provide written documentation. Send tenants a letter or memo that recaps what you discussed. Doing this will keep your communication professional and well-documented. For example, if you’re discussing lease changes over the phone, it’s crucial to send an official notice of those changes.
Likewise, if you discuss anything else of importance, your tenant might forget the details and later claim you said something different. Sending a written follow-up letter is the only way to ensure the details of a verbal conversation aren’t lost. This documentation will come in handy if you ever need to defend yourself in court or settle a dispute.
- Be direct and honest
Direct and honest communication is the ideal way to communicate with your tenants. Never leave anything to chance and never make tenants guess what you mean. Be explicit in your requests, especially when it comes to lease changes, correcting violations, and anything else that requires action on their part.
Tenants appreciate honest landlords and although they may disagree with changes to the lease agreement, they do expect to be told what is and isn’t allowed. If you don’t communicate lease changes with specificity, tenants will feel sideswiped when you pin them for a violation.
- Limit your tenant’s access to you
While your tenant should always have the means of contacting you anytime, it’s important to limit how they can access you. For example, they should be able to call you, but don’t allow them to text or email you unless it’s absolutely necessary. The content of text messages can be legally binding, so it’s one more potential issue to manage. However, never allow tenants to connect with you on social media because that’s asking for trouble.
When you make yourself freely available to tenants across various channels, you give them permission to engage in casual conversation. It sounds innocent, but it could turn into something you don’t want.
For instance, a tenant you text with often might start thinking you’re friends and want you to let them slide on lease violations or late fees. If you don’t treat them like a friend, they could feel slighted and either damage your property or become harder to work with.
The other issue is being contacted across multiple channels about the same issue. You might get a phone call, text message, email, and Facebook message about the same problem.
Limit the methods your tenants can use to contact you and avoid engaging in casual conversation. If you like your tenant and have a lot in common, this will be difficult, but it must be done to avoid ruining your professional relationship.
- Use thoughtful wording
Anytime you express a communication to your tenant, whether it’s verbal or in writing, be sure to think about what you’re going to say first. Be intentional with your words and avoid vague inferences. The best communication is concise and direct. However, consider keeping your words simple to make sure every word is understood. Some tenants will have a large vocabulary, but many won’t.
- Respond quickly
Always reply to your tenants as quickly as possible. This will show them that you got their communication and their concern is important to you. If you normally hesitate to respond to repair requests until you can get a contractor scheduled, change up your routine. Contact your tenant to let them know you received their request and tell them you’ll be in touch when you get someone to come out.
When you communicate immediately with a tenant, they feel taken care of even if their issue can’t be resolved right away, whereas, leaving them hanging will make them wonder if you got their message. A lack of response from you can cause tenants to call multiple times and become frustrated in the process.
Communication is everything
When managing tenants, communication is everything. You can run a tight ship or not, but clear communication keeps tenants honest and ensures they know what you expect from them.
With clear expectations, tenants are more likely to follow the rules and be respectful of your property.