landlord-tenant relationship

Fostering a great relationship between landlords and tenants is not a herculean task, though it can be difficult at times.

Like any relationship, it’s important for both parties to meet halfway, and finding a prospect willing to put in that effort takes extra vetting. Renters should carefully avoid a terrible rental situation, and managers should find the best way to properly screen tenants.

Whether you are a property manager or a renter, there are benefits for everyone when you pay close attention to strengthening your relationship with your respective other half. Here is why a healthy relationship between a landlord and tenant is something you should actively seek.

The Benefits for Tenants:

Having a great relationship with your landlord can have many benefits, long after you cease renting from them, personally. Finding a great apartment in a tight rental market can be difficult, but having an excellent reference from a past landlord or property manager who can attest to how great of a tenant you are, is invaluable. Developing a good relationship with your landlord now can help you nab that perfect rental down the road.

During your tenancy, there are even more benefits to ensuring your landlord-tenant relationship is great. A landlord that has experienced you as a great tenant, will be more likely to address small maintenance requests promptly and can be more forgiving when it comes to rent payments. Much like the proverbial boy who cried wolf, if you have a history of excessively bothering your landlord for small maintenance tasks that you should be caring for (like changing the light bulb or air filter) they will be less likely to quickly address your needs. And while they are still required to keep the rental habitable, there can be some small-but-frustrating issues that fall by the wayside if you have a poor relationship with your landlord. Similarly, being on good terms with rent payments will mean that your landlord will be more forgiving during an emergency situation that may cause you to be late, and–while it landlords often must raise rent incrementally to account for increasing property expenses, your landlord will be less likely to raise the rent to the max on a tenant they know cares for the property.

The Benefits for Landlords or Property Managers:

It’s clear that a great landlord-tenant relationship helps renters, but the benefits are just as noticeable for landlords or property managers. A great landlord-tenant relationship directly influences your vacancy and turnover costs. The better history you have with your renter throughout the lease term, the more likely they will be to renewal at the end of their lease term. Not only will a great rapport with your tenant influence their decision to live at your properties, but it can lead to wonderful recommendations, and there is nothing more helpful than a word-of-mouth recommendation to ensure that potential renters are clamoring to live at your multifamily residency or a property in your portfolio.

Attracting–and keeping–great tenants are crucial to your property’s profitability, but it’s equally important to continually instill a sense of investment to your current tenants, as well. Having a good relationship with your renters does just that. Suddenly, you are not an abstract caricature of a landlord, simply there to collect rent, you are an attentive and reasonable person. The better the landlord-tenant relationship, the more your tenants will care that their care of the rental has a direct impact on you. Simultaneously, having a great relationship with your tenants guarantees that you are more approachable, and you will be more likely to hear about issues like late rent or maintenance problems sooner.

Tips to Ensure a Good Relationship With Your Tenants:

To ensure a great landlord-tenant relationship, both sides must be willing to foster its growth. Landlords must be willing to listen to their renters, and always approach the interactions through a lens of customer service. It can be useful to create a fun and enjoyable environment for your renters–this is particularly true for multifamily properties where other properties will boast of their own amenities. Cultivating a sense of community and utilizing resident events whenever possible is a great way to do this. Help ensure that your tenants become invested in your property, and give them the tools to make the space their own without causing damage. Above all, ensure that you have set knowable expectations for your renters from the start. At move-in, go over the lease details and elaborate on your maintenance response policies and procedures. Good communication is the key foundation of the relationship with your renters.

How to Have a Good Relationship With Your Landlord:

For renters, it’s important to avoid unknowingly damaging your landlord-tenant relationship. Be sure that you know exactly what maintenance tasks for which you are responsible, and pay your rent on time, every time. If you come across an issue or emergency that has (or will) result in a late payment or minor property damage, be forthright with your landlord. Speaking to them sooner allows them to plan more fully. Above all, while it may be tempting to tell a lie, even a white-lie can cost you and will certainly damage your relationship with your landlord.

Having a great landlord-tenant relationship can make tenancy a breeze, and can set you up for success for this lease term and beyond. And while there will be roadblocks and situations that require careful communication, overall, the effort you put into developing a great landlord-tenant relationship will certainly pay dividends.

This article was originally published in Nov 2018 and has since been updated.

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