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10 Things To Help Set Up Good Tenant Relations

By Emma Smith

Investing in a rental property can be highly rewarding if successful, as it can help build your net worth and make a profit by generating a steady monthly income. This type of investment takes work – finding the right property, maintaining it, making it attractive for potential tenants and finding suitable and trustworthy renters.  All experienced landlords have their share of tenant horror stories, ranging from dealing with unruly renters to facing significant property damage, but with a proper screening process in place, most problems can be avoided.

Establishing a professional, positive relationship between landlord and tenant can help the former obtain a solid return on investment and the latter achieve a higher quality of life.  Below are some pointers that Real Estate experts have shared which they believe are some of the most important things any landlord should remember to improve their tenant relations.

1   Communication

Keeping good lines of communication open can solve many landlord/tenant problems. Make sure tenants understand why things are happening, and give them good advance notice for anything that you believe will be disruptive.  If you are using an Agency, your Property Manager will build a rapport with the Tenant to help setup and maintain good communication between both parties and in turn, the Property Manager will ensure you are updated.

2  Tenants Are People, Too

The opportunity to provide someone with a home should give you an amazing feeling, it will become the space within which they will create memories. They will pay rent for this to transact but if you put yourself in their shoes and start to think “How would I like this to be dealt with?”, you will be in the right mindset to deal with all things relating to your Tenants.  Realizing you are supporting people as they create a home is a very rewarding feeling.

3  Boundaries And Limitations

There is always a right and a wrong way to go about interacting with your Tenants, if you have an Agent managing your property then you have set yourself up well.  All interactions should are managed by your Agent to ensure the rules and rights of both Landlords and Tenants are actioned appropriately.  In Victoria, we are governed by the Victorian Residential Tenancies Act which governs our industry.  By utilising an Agent, you are ensuring you have the expertise required to help define the boundaries.

4  Being Approachable

Many tenants are afraid to contact their landlord about issues. From landlords, we hear that tenants don’t tell them about repairs until they are really bad. From tenants, I hear they don’t want to call because they don’t want to bother the landlord or are afraid. Be approachable. Be supportive of you tenants. An agent will assist Landlords by ensuring that tenants understand how to log maintenance correctly and provide that middle man interaction which can be less confronting for a Tenant than dealing with a landlord directly.

5  Trust Is The Key To A Better Relationship

Many Landlords and Tenants have had awful experiences in the past.  Treat each new Tenancy as though it were a brand new relationship and one that you would like to treasure. If you are using an Agent, from the time you sign your Authority, it would be a great idea to advise what your expectations are regarding each phase of the leasing and managing process.  By building a relationship with your Agent, you will ensure that the communication lines are open and your wishes can be actioned accordingly.  Knowing what you want will help an Agent find the right Tenant for you.  Once the right tenant is found, the Agent can then help build a strong working relationship with the Tenant and keep you informed at all times about what is happening with your property.

6  Better Processes

Horror stories do happen and it’s not always due to a bad landlord, tenant or agent but many times because some part of the process has been missed.  If you are choosing an Agent, be sure to ask questions about their processes: what is  their vetting process for applicants like, how often are you able to inspect your property during a tenancy and also how maintenance gets logged by a Tenant and how it’s dealt with.  You will find that when your Agent knows all of the processes to how they do business, you will be confident that you have chosen well.  Don’t just talk to the Business Developer though, talk to a Property Manager as well and you’ll find peace of mind in that the Agency has everything covered.

7  The Little Things

In real estate, we know that succeeding comes down to doing the little things on a consistent basis.  The same thing goes for being a landlord. Little things such as a move-in package and holiday gift cards for tenants, responding quickly to maintenance requests and being pleasant can be the difference between a tenant that will want to stay and pay and one that won’t.

8  Careful Lease Review Before Signing

Many people sign documents without thoroughly reading them. Although it is not your job to hold your tenant’s hand through committing to the terms you have laid out, if you take the time in the beginning to make sure they understand and are willing to comply with all the terms, there will be fewer surprises later on and less chance of conflict.  Your Agency will more than likely have an induction process where they step the Tenant through the lease to ensure they are aware of their responsibilities but it is important for a Landlord to know what the details in the lease are also.

9  Tenants Are Clients

Every landlord should remind themselves that tenants are their clients. They’re also trusting those clients with a very valuable asset. It’s best to be respectful, communicate openly and professionally and take care of tenants so they take care of the rental property. A landlord’s behavior can often influence the tenants’ behavior.

10. Having A Property Manager

Having someone who will collect rent, handle tenant requests/repairs, takes care of everything from A-Z and specialises in all things property management related is priceless. Take the stress off your shoulders as the landlord and let a professional handle the “hard” work for you.  Having a Property Manager to perform the day to day dealings of your Tenancy will help you form a better relationship with your Tenant will relieve you of the pressures of knowing the rules around this specialist field.

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