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  • Writer's pictureKeith Wood

What Tenants Wish Landlords Knew

There’s a lot of advice out there about what landlords wish tenants knew, and if more tenants understood the challenges you deal with, they might become better renters. Or at least more understanding renters. But that confusion happens in reverse, too. If you can remember some of these things about your tenants, you may find it easier to build a good working relationship that lasts even through the toughest times.

They’re Not All the Worst

Every landlord has at least one tenant in your history that even the sound of their name riles you up. They were the one who trashed your property, had to be evicted, or did anything and everything to make life difficult. But not every tenant is awful, and all of your tenants won’t be a repeat of that one truly awful person.

Yes, you need systems in place to weed out bad tenants, and yes, trust must be earned. But if you treat every tenant as if they’re not to be trusted or about to burn the house down, you won’t be able to establish a good working relationship. And when there’s a leak in the kitchen or you need to replace the HVAC in the summer, you want a good working relationship with your tenants.

Most Don’t Want to Be a Bother

Ever wondered why a tenant waited three days or even three weeks to call you about a leak or a broken fixture? It’s not necessarily because they don’t care. They’re busy, and they know you are too. For some tenants, they may not want to be a bother. It’s also possible, not having owned a home, that they might not understand how serious an issue is.

From the very beginning of their lease make it absolutely clear that they can and should contact you as soon as something goes wrong. It’s better to find out later that it was nothing than to let a problem sit for a month and get worse. Give them as many ways to communicate with you as possible so the method doesn’t stop them from letting you know what’s going on. Text, email, and Facebook Messenger can all be part of your lines of communication.

Added Convenience is Worth the Money

This won’t be true for every rental and every tenant, but in a reasonably priced property in a good neighborhood, many tenants are willing to pay more for convenience. Everyone’s lives are busier and when your tenants are growing their careers or raising young families, time is something they just don’t have. When you can offer amenities that save them time, they will often happily for that.

Lawn service, cleaning service, cable and internet, home security -- these are all features that, when appropriate, can be added to your rental. You can charge a higher rent as a result -- which should, at minimum pay for itself, and give tenants a reason to want to stay long-term. When you’re buying investment property to rent out, consider the neighborhood, proximity to schools, and other larger conveniences that renters would appreciate as well. Market your property to reflect these added conveniences, and charge a rent that reflect the neighborhood and the value of your rental.

This is Their Home, Too

When a renter cares about a property, it becomes their home. Yes, factually, it’s your property and you get to decide what happens to it. But for the person or family who lives in it every day and makes a life there, they care deeply about what happens in it.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make necessary business decisions. But it’s something to remember when you communicate those decisions. For your tenants, whatever you decide to do impacts their lives and their home. Which means they can become very emotional or passionate about what happens there. You would too if someone could decide the fate of your home.

As a landlord, you have to be able to think about your property as a business, and treat your tenants in a professional manner. Sometimes that means you have to do things they won’t like. But if you remember that your tenants want a safe, warm, comfortable home, and that most of them really do care, it’s easier to work through those tough spots together.

Need help finding good tenants and working with existing tenants? Work with a property management company that has the policies and practices in place to help you as a landlord. Contact ERA American Real Estate today.

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