A Guide to Good Landlord-Tenant Relations
Good tenant relations are important if you want to manage rental properties without encountering undue stress. I have been managing rental properties for the past 14 years. In the beginning, I managed properties owned by other people. I currently manage 2 properties I owe myself. Over the years, I have learned the value of good tenant relations. Here are some tips you should follow.
Choose Your Tenants Wisely
The best landlord in the world cannot make up for having bad tenants. Screen all prospective tenants through a reliable screening service or take the time to do it yourself. A credit report, criminal check, and references from a previous landlord and current employer are mandatory. You would be surprised what a single reference might say that the others do not.
Be Kind to Your Tenants
It pays to be nice. Do not treat your tenants as if they are beneath you; treat them as your equals. They live in your home. If they like and respect you, they will be more prone to taking care of it for you. If repairs obviously need to be done, do not ignore them. Always ask your tenants if they need anything when you collect the rent. Do not just take the money and run. Call them and their family members by name. Smile. Make your visits pleasant.
This past winter, I had some major problems in a townhouse I own. I did not have the power to get the repairs done expediently as there was a homeowners group in charge of repairs. My tenants were terribly inconvenienced, but they did not give me a hard time, which they had every right to do. That was because they liked and respected me.
Do Not Be a Pushover
Being kind does not mean becoming a doormat. From the very first meeting, be professional. You are not your tenant's best friend, so do not be over friendly, or tenants will take advantage of you. If you allow them to pay the rent late without charging a late fee, they will continue to pay late. If you allow them to have pets when the lease clearly states no pets, they will break other rules.
I have made the mistake of being too friendly with a tenant I felt sorry for. I did not charge her a security deposit and allowed her to pay late. In the end, she moved out without paying the last month's rent and left the apartment damaged and filthy. The damages came out of my pocket.
Take Care of Your Property
If your tenants see that you care about the condition of your property and want them to live in a home that is clean and well cared for, they will also take pride in the condition of the house. In turn, taking care of your property will cause neighbors to do the same, increasing your property value and ensuring that your good tenants stay.