Managing a rental property is hard work. There’s an endless rotation of seasonal maintenance and necessary repairs, along with mounds of paperwork and legal navigations. But even those crucial duties don’t relate to the most vital part of property management: fostering quality tenant communication.
Many new landlords don’t anticipate running a rental to be a customer service gig. But because there’s no rental industry without renters, developing productive correspondence with your tenants is an absolute must. When tenants don’t feel like their landlord is addressing their needs, they’re not likely to want to renew their lease. And that leads to costly periods of turnover. With our business’s focus on good communication, Rent Portland Homes by Darla Andrew consistently puts in the work to make sure our tenants are happy and heard.
How To Communicate With Your Tenants
Finding the right balance when contacting your tenants can be difficult. However, with a few tips, tricks, and tools, you’ll navigate the back and forth between your renters like a breeze.
Keep It Professional
The most critical element of tenant communication is respect. Treat your tenants with respect, and you’re far more likely to receive it in return. While you might not want to come off as too chilly or aloof, it’s usually wise to maintain a degree of distance between your tenants and yourself. Getting too friendly can muddle the expectations–after all, you are both in a business relationship, and it’s essential never to lose sight of the terms. It’s not only awkward when you have to switch from “friendly mode” to “landlord mode” to remind your tenants to pay their rent or mind the terms of their lease, it can also cause animosity as your tenants feel like they don’t know what to expect each time they see your name in their inbox. Being consistent and professional is always the best course.
Know When To Automate
One of your best tools when it comes to tenant communication is a good boilerplate. There are many emails you’ll need to send out again and again to different tenants, whether they’re seasonal safety tips or lease renewal reminders. Rather than having to sit down and agonize over your phrasing each time, take a moment to write up a few one-size-fits-all writing templates to use each time you need to send a non-personalized email. It might take longer initially, but it’ll save you a lot of work in short order.
Watch The Clock
Managing a rental might be a round-the-clock task, but your tenants probably won’t love to receive a rent payment reminder at six o’clock on a Saturday evening. Unless it’s for something urgent, like an emergency repair or other time-sensitive issue, it’s professional to keep your correspondence to regular nine to five business hours. If your tenant emails you first, there’s no reason not to respond (if you want to). But when it comes to making the first move, wait until working hours.
Keep Good Records
The time may come when you need to provide proof that you contacted your tenants about a specific issue in the past. That’s when you’ll be grateful for all the annoying bookkeeping you’ve been keeping up with during your time as a landlord. A good email organization system is an excellent paper-free way to keep track of all your previous communications; just stay consistent with your methods. Ensure your email is set to store correspondences indefinitely, and consider making paper backups of important exchanges. Having a paper trail can protect you if you end up facing any legal issue.
Speed Is Key
Last (but far from least), be sure that you’re responding to your tenants as quickly as possible. You should make sure your tenants can contact you by phone or email and aim to respond to any messages from them swiftly. If you know you won’t be able to write a proper response for a while longer, you might consider sending a follow-up to let them know you’ve received their message and will get to it soon. Knowing that you’re aware of their needs and taking steps to address them is a great way to let your tenants know you’re looking out for them–and boost your resident retention.
Why Is Communication So Important?
Communication is vital in both directions, and renters can’t read your mind any more than you can read theirs. If you can’t make your expectations known as the property manager, your tenants probably won’t be able to meet them. On the other hand, if your tenants aren’t open with you about any potential problems in the rental, you might not become aware of an issue until it’s already turned into a much more costly repair. Your tenants should trust you to be open about how you want them to treat your property, just like you should trust them to let you know if they have a leaky pipe or malfunctioning appliance. Being open with questions and concerns from both directions is the first step towards ensuring that everyone in the business relationship feels like their needs are met.
We Handle All Tenant Correspondence
Of course, even the most seasoned landlord can struggle with tenant communication. If you’re feeling stressed about striking the right tone with your clients and writing some solid boilerplate text, hiring a property management company might be the answer. As the premier property manager in the Portland metro area, we’re here to help.
Rent Portland Homes is a people-focused business. We know how important good communication is, whether we’re in touch with our clients or tenants. Renters are the lifeblood of our business, and connecting with tenants can be one of the most rewarding elements of the job. Our perspective on communication is a huge part of what sets us apart from other property managers in the Portland area. In Darla’s long years of experience, she heard time and time again from friends and clients who had dealt with managers who would never respond to their emails and calls. In the end, she decided to create a business dedicated to doing better.
We will never keep you or your tenants waiting to hear back on an email or repair request. If you’d like to talk to us about all of our services, call or text us at (503) 515-3170, or fill out the contact form on our website at any time. We’ll get back to you right away!