In an ideal world, you would have an established strong and trustworthy relationship with your tenants prior and during their tenancies, ensuring a smooth rental period. In order to make this a reality, landlords should approach their tenancies with clear and honest communication whilst ensuring that all interactions with their tenants are kept professional. When it comes to certain concerns, i.e. evictions, it is paramount to approach these with sensitivity and understanding, as how you deal with such cases can say a lot about a landlords professionalism.
Here are some key areas we feel would promote open and honest communication with your tenants:
Established policies in place
The first step in ensuring that a solid relationship is built with your tenants is to have clearly defined policies and lease agreements are in place before the tenants move into your property. It is of utmost importance that your tenants understand their and your rights and responsibilities so that both parties can feel more secure that the terms of the agreement will be followed.
One thing to remember is to ensure you have all your policy documentations and lease agreements in a written form so that these can be accessed by your tenants at any time in case anything is required to be reviewed.
You can also provide a more “out of the box” approach for your tenants to understand your policies and agreements. For example, create “Understanding your Tenancy Policies” PowerPoint presentation or a video shared on a private social media account/page (that includes the landlord and their tenants) where tenants can then ask relevant questions in the comments area and everyone can refer to these at anytime.
Agree a communication channel with your tenants
When agreeing on the lease, you and your tenants should choose a communication platform that suits you both to ensure easy contact is established on a daily-basis, if necessary. For example, you can use social media platforms, Whatsapp, emails, you can share your personal telephone numbers, the choice is yours.
Ensure all maintenance concerns are dealt with promptly
As a landlord you should ensure that any maintenance issues that arise with your properties are fixed promptly and efficiently. There are maintenance concerns that you will not be able to fix yourself. In that case, it is important to have a group of external contractors and professionals that can support you with any serious or urgent issues that may arise with your properties. We recommend adopting a maintenance management system where you can manage all communication regarding a repair under one platform, schedule and track the progress of a repair and also allow your tenants access to this system so they can stay informed of the progress of a repair.
Do not forget the notice
Within your lease agreement, there should always be a specific clause that outlines your rights to conduct inspections, including when a landlord can enter the property without a notice. We recommend that landlords do inspect their rental properties from time to time, however in such cases a notice should be sent to the tenants at least 48 hours before an inspection takes place. Be mindful that the landlord-tenant relationship can be damaged if a landlord shows up without any warning by breaking the trustworthy professional relationship that was initially established.
We hope the aforementioned points will help you become more effective communicators, leading to healthier and long-lasting landlord-tenant relationships.