When checking in with your residents, there’s a fine line between being helpful and accommodating, and getting too involved. While you want to make sure all your renters are comfortable within your community, are respectful of each other, and report damages or repairs needed on your property, you also don’t want to seem invasive or set a precedent that allows your residents to depend on you too much. Next thing you know, your tenants will be requesting you to change their in-unit light bulbs, get involved in petty resident drama, or you’ll have a bad online review at the end of the lease. The trick to seeming like a good property manager lies in striking a balance between the two extremes.
From living in countless rentals, I’ve had experience with both communicative and non-communicative landlords and property managers. My worst experience lied in a 2-bedroom apartment with a leaky faucet, broken bathroom fan, and the dreaded black mold. Despite calling the property management company multiple times, and leaving written requests, the manager never got back to me. My roommate even took off time at work to visit her office during her slim hours and was told by the secretary that she was wasting her time. While I’m sure you’re a lot more involved with your community, it’s important to note that the “no communication” method doesn’t work. Sure, all residents like their privacy, but having a “no communication” policy puts your renters, property, and reputation at risk.
Obviously some communication between you and your residents is better than no communication whatsoever, but how many notices, emails, and text messages breach the threshold of too much?
Legally you must provide written notice to your residents if you’re going to be in their unit. While the amount of time the notice must be given varies by state and purpose, providing notice is the easiest way to keep communication between you and your residents going. When performing repairs or renovations that take a long period of time, it’s vital that you keep your renters in the loop. Despite having extensive repairs that took 3 weeks to do, my previous landlord never updated me on the progress after the initial written notice. When posed with questions, they would only respond with written notices and formal emails. An informal text, email, or newsletter following up on a recent repair or giving an update to a long renovation can boost your landlord-tenant relationship. Utilizing property management email and texting tools, like with CICTotal Manager™, that allow you to send a mass text message or email blast to your residents straight through your property management software can quickly send reminders and updates to facilitate communication. For example, you can text your community “The parking lot is being paved on Tuesday. Please park on the street.”
Additional things like move-in checklists, resident newsletters and Facebook groups aren’t expected by most renters, but can significantly improve your relationship with your residents. The happier your renters are, the more inclined they are to renew their lease or recommend a vacant unit to someone they know. If you’re in the process of looking for new tenants, start that relationship on the right foot by providing them with a convenient application process. Then, be sure to maintain a balance between not communicating and over-communicating from here on out.
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