Both commercial and residential landlords understand that keeping good tenants around can be as important and challenging as finding a high-quality tenant from the beginning. If your tenant feels valued and decides to lease at your property long-term, it can save you valuable time and money.
One of the simplest things a landlord can do to foster a positive relationship with residents and tenants is make a genuine effort to communicate. The following concepts can help establish this level of healthy communication:
- First impressions count: This advice goes for both parties. A landlord should approach every property showing like a sales pitch. You want to communicate a professional, positive attitude and a willingness to please. Along the same lines, a good tenant should be polite, ask good questions and be on time to a showing.
- Screen your tenants: Not only does this afford you the opportunity to review a potential tenant's credit history, references and background, but meeting with your tenant prior to leasing will also allow you the ability to establish expectations for both parties early in your relationship. This helps build trust and understanding from day one.
- Walk through the lease: Go over the details of the agreement clearly with your tenant. This will illuminate important aspects of your relationship, such as how you intend to handle complaints and repairs and your policy for notice given to enter a tenant's unit or apartment. This is also an opportunity to make sure the tenant understands the rules for rent payment and behaviour.
- Take care of your property: Be proactive about your property's safety and maintenance. Determine how secure your property is now and take measures to better protect it, if needed. Disclose all hazards, including lead or mould. Make efforts to repair any issues, especially those that could be harmful to others. Your tenants may feel encouraged to communicate if you provide them with maintenance request forms. This can promote a positive relationship where your tenant keeps you informed of issues at your property, saving you hassles and expenses in the long term.
- Resolve disputes: Listen to your tenants. It is to your benefit to avoid costly litigation and try to resolve conflicts without involving attorneys. Often, conflicts can be diffused when your tenant feels heard and you make a genuine effort to address the concern in question. Meet with your tenants and try to reach a resolution informally, or invite a neutral third party to mediate your discussion.
The best way to handle landlord-tenant disputes is to address them as early as possible. Better yet, you can take regular steps to avoid them in the first place. Keep these tips in mind as you bring in new tenants to your property and interact with your existing ones.