Do you want to be the kind of landlord who gets along well with their tenants? Do you want the kind of tenants who would call you if they saw something suspicious? Do you want tenants who would say, “no problem” – and mean it – if you had to postpone a repair by a few days?
Having happy tenants who like you isn’t a popularity goal – it’s a tenant management strategy. Having great relationships with your tenants is crucial to your success as a landlord. Happy tenants who trust their landlord won’t turn mountains into molehills and are less likely to destroy your property.
If you want happy, respectful tenants, you have to be an outstanding landlord. To become an outstanding landlord, focus on the following areas.
- Be in service to your tenants
How can you be in service to your tenants? The general answer is by providing top-notch service and support. For example, tenants should have an easy time delivering rent, requesting repairs, and getting rent receipts.
If you’ve taken on too much and can’t handle it, you’ll serve your tenants best by hiring a property management company.
If you’re going to hire a property management company (and you probably should), find a reputable company with a track record of constructive, positive tenant interactions. Also, look for a company with an in-house maintenance branch. According to property management experts, having an in-house team of expertly skilled technicians is a key component in outperforming the competition.
- Always deliver on expectations you create
Trust is at the top of the list for generating a positive landlord-tenant relationship. Trust is earned by delivering on expectations you create for your tenants. For example, if you schedule a repair time, show up or call ahead to reschedule. Go out of your way to support a tenant who reciprocates that level of respect.
A tenant might request a minor repair – like putting a closet door back on a complicated hinge – but if you don’t show up to make the repair when you say you will, your tenant will see you as unreliable and trust will dissolve.
- Acknowledge your mistakes
Continuing with the example of a torn screen, the moment you realize you can’t meet a scheduled repair appointment, tell your tenant. Don’t let the day slip by and wait for your tenant to chase you down days later. By that point, your tenant will be upset.
If for some reason you forget to inform your tenant ahead of time, acknowledge that you should have told them sooner and offer them a $25 discount on the rent. You’d be surprised at how much tenants value simple gestures.
- Continually study landlord-tenant law
Federal landlord-tenant law is important to understand, but you also need to stay up-to-date with your state laws.
The Legal Information Institute from Cornell Law School published a detailed guide on landlord-tenant law that covers the basics in-depth. This guide explains a tenant’s right to “quiet enjoyment,” different reasons for eviction, when abandonment applies, and the implied warranty of habitability.
All of these things sound like legal mumbo jumbo, but it will only take one angry tenant to make you wish you understood these terms.
- Focus on attracting high quality tenants from the start
High quality tenants are more likely to be happy and cooperative. Unfortunately, you can’t change a tenant’s habits once they’ve assumed occupancy of your unit. The best way to ensure you have happy, cooperative tenants is to attract the highest quality tenants from the start.
Stick to high standards like only accepting applicants with no past evictions and good credit. You can also influence a positive relationship by inspiring a long-term rental relationship through compromise, respecting privacy, and taking your tenants’ security seriously.
You don’t have to be a pushover to be a likeable landlord
Being a likeable landlord doesn’t mean you have to cater to your tenants’ every whim, let them slide on late fees, and give them a deal on rent. The sweet spot is to set the tone for your relationship in the beginning as no-nonsense while simultaneously communicating genuine care for your tenants.
You’ll become a likeable landlord when your tenants know you mean business and they can count on you to keep your word.