King Solomon’s Proverbs speak frequently of the importance of justice and equity in dealing with others. Today, the busy rental market plays a large role in housing’s overall recovery. And because landlord-tenant problems not only slow that recovery but also cost time and money, housing experts recommend a few key ways property owners can bring fairness and equity to the landlord-tenant relationship.
Establish and Maintain a Professional Relationship
Don’t be the friend who collects the rent. Real estate professionals recommend building on the professional appearance you put on to interview the tenant. Be friendly but not a friend. Some housing experts suggest landlords refer to themselves, especially in writing, as “we” rather than “I” in order to emphasize the business aspect of the relationship.
Be Specific About Expectations
As recent housing market reports show, the rental market is hot right now, so those well-screened ideal tenants have other options and other places to go. One way to keep them is to lay out all policies and expectations clearly from the outset – in writing. Have a pet deposit policy? Let them know when they rent, not when they get a dog. Need to raise the rent? Send a notice well in advance.
Respond Promptly to Calls
Whether managing investment properties solo or through a manager, it’s important to respond promptly and professionally to calls – not just for emergencies but also in all situations. Offering alternative numbers as backup or other contact options can also help. Tenants faced with a landlord who won’t respond when they need it may find another who will.
Offer Bonuses and Incentives
Though it may not be possible or appropriate in every situation, landlord/tenant relation experts say that perks and incentives such as high speed internet service, early rent payment rewards and bemuses for referring other tenants can help make renters feel valued and keep landlords competitive. Even a bit of recognition such as a birthday or thank you card may help keep a tenant’s loyalty.
Give and Expect Respect
Tenants are people too – and respect and courtesy can keep them paying rent. Some housing experts suggest referring to renters as “residents” – a neutral term that softens the top down hierarchy of landlord/renter. Giving advance notice of a need to enter the property – over and above that required by law – is a courtesy, and offering help during the inconvenience of needed repairs can also demonstrate that renters are valued and respected.
Recent rental market studies reveal that renters are willing to pay more to get more. A landlord/investor willing to go that extra mile or so can get – and keep – the tenants that keep investments humming – on the way to building wealth as Jason Hartman recommends. (Top image: Flickr/PaperCat)
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