From a business perspective, having a good relationship with your client base is always going to make sense, yet landlord tenant relations are often thought of as friction-filled and fraught. While this is far from a universal truth, overcoming this common misconception can take a little extra effort on the part of the landlord.
In today’s post, we’re going to share with you some simple tips you can follow to improve tenant relations and make the business of being a landlord more pleasant and profitable. After all, going the extra mile will likely encourage great tenants to renew, so doing all you can to keep your clients happy is well worth the effort.
Let’s crack on, shall we?
Ensure your tenant feels wanted
While this may sound a little fluffy for business, making your tenants feel as though they truly mean the world to you will go a long way. It shouldn’t be too difficult to achieve, either, as they really are the most important part of your business...aren’t they? Those who answered ‘No’ to that may want to think about hanging up their keys!
Small things like a card at Christmas and on their birthday may seem obvious, but they can make a big difference. Similarly, making a note of things that crop up in conversation with which you can engage them with in the future will let them know they’re more than a mere number in your eyes.
This stuff goes a long way. Think about how you feel when you’re treated the same way by bar staff in your local or the owner of your favourite sandwich shop. Building relationships takes effort, but the rewards can go beyond business...they make you feel better, too.
Put yourself in their shoes
For landlords, the property in question is seen as an investment. Tenants, on the other hand, see it as home. The difference between the two is stark, and failing to recognise the disparity can lead to problems.
Our homes are emotive things, and your tenants will feel no differently about theirs. Bearing this one small fact in mind will stand you in good stead as a landlord. Be compassionate and understanding. Take a step back and consider how you’d feel if the shoe were on the foot.
Being able to empathise with tenants is something all landlords would benefit from, but many erroneously see it either as a sign of weakness or an opportunity to be taken advantage of. Drop the cynicism and give it a shot. You might be surprised by the results.
Find the communication sweetspot
Communication is definitely key in tenant landlord relations, but getting the balance right between being available and coming across as overbearing and interfering is the most important factor.
Your tenant will want to feel at home in your property, so that means leaving them in peace. That being said, you don’t want to come across as disinterested or uncaring, either, so a quick call or text every six weeks or so to check that everything is okay is usually a safe bet.
You should also let your tenant know what to do and when. For example, you may offer up both your email address and phone number as contact details, but only check your emails once per day. This isn’t much use in an emergency. By expressly stating to your tenant that a direct phone call is the best option in certain situations, you’ll be able to act immediately when you need to.
Waiting for tenants to come to you with problems can be a misguided strategy in terms of protecting your investment, and it’ll also do very little for the relationship with your tenant. Instead, why not be proactive and take charge of the situation?
We’ve already touched upon the regular call to ensure everything is as it should be with the tenant and it’s this short conversation that’ll allow you to ask if anything needs attention in the property. You’ll give your tenant a green light to ask about a minor repair that could, if left, become a big problem.
This will build confidence between you and your tenant, and could ultimately save you money as well. Win-win.
Listen to, and act on, feedback
Asking for feedback is something all big corporations do these days, and you should do the same with your tenants. Getting honest observations and constructive criticism from those who matter is vital if you want to improve your business, but you need to act on what’s being said. Simply asking for feedback isn’t enough.
Remember not to take negatives personally, they are there to help you get better and grow your business. Assess all comments and act accordingly. You’ll be amazed how dramatic an impact this one simple step can have.
If you are a landlord and all of the above has got you excited, great. If not, and it all seems more trouble than it’s worth, you might want to consider hiring a property manager to handle the relationship with your tenants for you.
Here at Petty Son and Prestwich, we have a dedicated team of property management professionals doing just that for landlords in and around Wanstead, East London. If you’d like to discuss how we can help you and your buy-to-let business, give the team a call. We’re always happy to talk property here at Petty’s!