The landlord-tenant relationship is a special one... and it can be a bit finicky.
But one thing is for certain: we need each other.
It's been going on for hundreds of years: Landlords have empty properties, and tenants need them to live in.
It’s difficult to think of a better fit than that.
And yet, it's difficult managing any landlord-tenant relationship, with issues and conflict being commonplace.
Below, we've covered everything you need to know to start improving the landlord-tenant relationship with all of your tenants.
Read on to learn more.
Why building a good landlord-tenant relationship is worth your time
Creating stronger relationships with your tenants won’t just be good for your rental property and business as a whole; it’ll also be beneficial for them.
Here’s a look at how both sides will benefit from an improved relationship.
Benefits for landlords
Landlords can benefit from improved relationships with tenants in several ways.
To start, you should enjoy lower vacancy rates since people will enjoy having you as their landlord and be more inclined to remain in their rental units.
With those lower vacancy rates, you won’t have to spend as much preparing apartments for new tenants or marketing them.
Additionally, you’ll typically get improved recommendations and reviews when you take care of your tenants.
According to PowerReviews online data, 95% of consumers read reviews before making decisions, so this benefit is more important than you might initially think.
In addition to this, a great landlord-tenant relationship means your tenants are:
- More likely to follow the guidelines of your lease agreement
- Less likely to cause issues, and
- More likely to communicate with you when there is one.
Finally, when you have a good relationship with your tenants, they’re likelier to let you know about problems in their apartments and the community sooner.
They’ll tell you if there’s something you don’t know about so that you can fix it before it damages your property any more than it already has.
Benefits for tenants
Improving the landlord-tenant relationship isn't just for you.
Your tenants get plenty of benefits as well, which then reciprocates back to you in the form of better retention and happier tenants.
Benefits to tenants include:
- Having a less stressful living situation
- Getting more leniency with late payments and problems (when possible)
- Having more responsive landlords who address problems faster
- Getting a better recommendation from the landlord to help them secure a new apartment faster
How to create stronger landlord-tenant relationships
Now that we know why stronger landlord-tenant relationships are worth pursuing let’s take a closer look at what it takes to cultivate them.
Here are eight tips you can use to do so.
1. Know the laws in your area
The foundation of a strong landlord-tenant relationship is a clear set of rules so that both sides know what is expected of the other.
The first step toward creating a clear set of rules is understanding the laws in your state, city, and country.
If you don’t know the laws in your area, then you may find yourself having to adapt your rules on the fly or leave a key obligation to your tenants unfulfilled. Both of these situations can sour your relationships with tenants.
We’ve created a list of the Top 10 Most Important Landlord-Tenant Laws to help you get started with your research.
2. Establish and communicate clear rules through your lease agreement
You can use the research you did in the last step and combine it with your own rules and preferences to create a comprehensive set of guidelines for each tenant living at your property.
Include these guidelines within your rental agreement so that the tenant receives them as soon as they move into the property and encourage them to read through it so they understand your expectations.
That includes everything from:
- How they should pay rent (to how you collect rent payments)
- Late rent fees
- Maintenance problems, property damage, and inspections
- And anything else that comes to mind
It’s important to communicate these clearly, which could mean having them translated into a non-English language.
You may also want to post the rules of your property on your website or somewhere on your property so that it’s easy for tenants to review the rules when they’re unclear about something.
This is all about setting the stage for a productive relationship. You have to be clear about your expectations of tenants in order to have any hope of those expectations being upheld.
Once you’ve established this strong foundation, building a great relationship on top of it becomes much easier to do.
3. Set the stage with a good first impression
It all starts with a great first impression. When you first meet a potential tenant on a tour, be warm and welcoming to them.
Give them the opportunity to ask questions, and try not to do anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or unwanted.
It can also be helpful to share tips about the neighborhood, such as nearby amenities and attractions. Doing so will help you establish a reputation as a helpful, thoughtful landlord from day one.
4. Screen tenants thoroughly before they move in
When someone decides to apply for one of your units, it’s important to screen them thoroughly – not just because you need to be careful about who you let into your space, but also to avoid potential conflicts down the line.
If you end up letting someone move into one of your units and they can’t afford rent, that’s going to be a major source of conflict throughout the lease term.
The same is true if a new tenant has personal or professional issues that you don’t know about – or even ongoing legal trouble.
The point is that if you’re not 100% sure about who you’re allowing to move into your units, that opens up the door for many potential problems down the line.
With more thorough screening, you can avoid these kinds of issues and prevent them from disrupting your landlord-tenant relationships.
5. Deal with complaints fairly and efficiently
If you’ve been a landlord for a while now, then you know that the unexpected can, and often does, happen.
Your units may have issues with any number of appliances, fixtures, and utility connections throughout the completion of a standard lease.
When these types of issues come up, you have to focus on resolving them quickly and effectively. If you don’t, then you could be the best person in the world, but your relationships with tenants would still be strained.
As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to provide excellent living accommodations to your tenants throughout the duration of the lease term.
Fulfilling that responsibility is critical to having a good relationship with the people that live in your building.
6. Make yourself available
If you want to build a relationship with someone, you can’t just meet them once and expect smooth sailing.
That’s why it’s important to be available to your tenants when they need your assistance.
Whether that means:
- Responding to emails promptly
- Giving tenants your phone number, or
- Being in the office during predictable parts of the day
... your tenants need to be able to get in touch with you when they need something or have a problem.
You may also want to consider setting aside dedicated time during the week or month for your tenants.
For example, you could host a community gathering once a week or month to give everyone the chance to voice their opinions collectively.
These kinds of initiatives go a long way toward showing tenants that you care and want to do the best that you can for them – regardless of what that looks like.
7. Respect tenant privacy
This one should be a given, but it’s worth repeating here just in case: you have to respect tenant privacy if you want to maintain good relationships with your tenants.
That means only entering their dwellings with approval or when necessary for the good of the property.
Respecting tenant privacy also means keeping their sensitive information safe, such as income, demographic information, and billing details.
Privacy violations may be the easiest way to disrupt an otherwise productive relationship with a tenant. That’s why it’s worth taking the time to ensure you have everything in place you need to avoid these.
8. Invest in the right tools
For modern landlords, technology can be a major component of building a strong relationship with a tenant.
It makes life easier for tenants, opens up new avenues of communication, and simplifies the role of the landlord so that you have more opportunities to engage with tenants to create lasting relationships.
There are lots of different tools that can help you build stronger relationships with tenants, from websites with payment portals and maintenance requests to rental property management software that has all of the above like Doorloop.
If there’s some aspect of your role as a property manager that you’re struggling with, then there’s a good chance that some technology out there can help you with it so that you can start delivering a better experience to your tenants.
Improve your landlord-tenant relationship with DoorLoop
Building a good landlord-tenant relationship isn’t always easy, even when you’re willing to put in the work.
If you struggle to keep up with everything on your own, then it may be time to start looking into your options for support.
That could mean hiring a property manager to take over this role on your behalf.
Or it might mean using software like Doorloop, which helps you manage and grow your rental portfolio from anywhere with powerful tools on a straightforward, easy-to-use platform.
Request a free demo of Doorloop today to learn more about what it can do for you.