Any successful landlord can tell you the importance of maintaining a healthy relationship with your tenants. You don’t necessarily need to be best friends and go out to dinner, but you should be on the same page regarding what you expect from each other. It is no surprise that the landlords who rush the process for the sole purpose of receiving a check are the ones that experience the most complications. A good relationship can be forged by something as simple as making a follow up phone call or having the driveway shoveled in time for work. Without a healthy relationship you are destined to run into trouble. The dynamics of your tenant relationship may be the most important aspect of investing in buy and hold property.
Like most other relationships, communication is the key. Before your tenant even moves in, you should take the time to review the lease and expectations. Stress to them what is important with the property and highlight areas that are essential to the lease. If you are strict with policies regarding parking, smoking, pets and timely payments, go over those a few times to drive the point home. If you have a property manager, you can refer any problems to them, but if they cannot be reached they should always be able to contact you. If they do, be up front with them. Don’t be afraid to tell them it can take up to 24 hours to get any items repaired. Put all of your cards on the table and be as honest as possible. If your tenant feels comfortable with you, they are more likely to pay on time.
Every landlord has the expectation that they will receive their checks on time every month. This is typically the case, but if you want to take some measures to improve your chances you can provide an incentive program for early payments. This doesn’t have to be a large amount of money and it doesn’t even have to be a monetary consideration. A bottle of wine or a case of beer can often do the trick. It is little things like this that will keep your tenant happy. At the end of the day, your success in the property is solely based on you collecting your rent checks every month. Once those stop coming in, you have problems. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, you should do the little things that you would do to make any other relationship work.
It is important that you hold up your end of the bargain for whatever you say you are going to do. If you say you will have the dishwasher repaired in 24 hour,s you had better do it. The same goes for fixing a window, replacing the dryer or anything else in the property. If you make a pattern of constantly overlooking your tenant or outright lying to them, you will lose their trust. Once this happens they will be less inclined to care for the property and perhaps the rent check. You goal should be to have your tenant in place for as long as possible. If you do not keep your word, they will surely be looking elsewhere before their lease is over.
If you treat your tenants like you would treat your friends, they will be much happier and will go the extra mile to take care of your property. If you take care of your tenants, they will take care of you.