Communication Part Two: Common Landlord Complaints Resolved

In contrast to the previous posting, I aim today not to end with a “to be continued”, but to leave you with conclusiveness. In this manner, I may reconcile you – the readers – in an effort to navigate through the perils of the relationship with your rent counterpart, as you inevitably must have – be you landlord or paying inhabitant. I will concede that it could be a most fitting conclusion to the aforementioned ellipses to reiterate the common complaints of the landlord/property manager while expressing my opinions regarding the best methods to to resolve said matters. Tenants, pay attention, as you must face these issues appropriately…here’s how.

Let’s begin my going over the Top Landlord Complaints:

  1. Non or Late Payment of Rent
  2. Bad Maintenance (Interior and Exterior)
  3. Lack of Responsiveness from Tenant
  4. Excessive Noise
  5. Illegal Tenant Activity

Firstly, I would like to note to ye Landlords that approaching any of the above issues with undue abrasiveness may lead to an extension and exacerbation of the problem, so I expect the provided advice will be used with appropriate conduct. Now, let’s deal with our issues; some solutions are preventative in nature and the rest flow when preemptive warfare is ineffective.

Non or Late Payment of Rent


Preventative Approach: Check credit reports! If the score is bad, find out why; if the report notes that the prospect is currently behind on multiple payments, it is likely that they will frequent the realm of rent tardiness. Some companies look for first and last months rent plus security deposit, but this will not assist anything as it further cripples the tenant’s bank account unnecessarily. With poor credit renters, you must have a reference to a past landlord, double checking effectiveness of rent payment, as credit alone is not an end-all regarding the judgement of one’s ability to pay. Added lenience on roommate renters is suggested, as all roommates may be held accountable for the entirety of the rent. Finally, a lease co-signer might be necessary, as the tenant will have added urgency to prevent corruption of not only her credit score but that of a close one as well. This are all common practice and should be of no surprise, but be wary that when a tenant is expected to be continuously delinquent, there is little chance for a healthy relationship with the landlord as tension is an inevitable side effect. If a strong, long lasting community is a desired goal, avoided potential late and non payers (if you have the luxury to do so). Finally, the RentPost technique is to provide reminders of upcoming and late rent through any avenue of contact (text message, e-mail etc.). Beta testers of RentPost Software get the unique opportunity first hand as to how the system works.

After the Fact Solutions: So, you’re facing a tenant who is tardy and has already endured late fees. Instead of seeking late payment by force and threats, summon the tenant politely, notifying them of the problem and asking if there is anything that can be done to assist them. With tact, one may avoid any undue social displeasure and actually work to the contrary, further promoting a sense of community. Knowing why a tenant is late goes a long way: money shortage? laziness? mistake? – all causes are to be handled differently, and without know the particular cause of your tenant’s tardiness, you will not be able to properly address it. Taking notes of causation each time a tenant is late provides tenant track record and a window of observation into tenant livelihood. Eviction may be counterproductive, as this increases likelihood that back-payments will never be collected. Instead, try setting up a payment plan or settling on some negotiated amount, guaranteeing at least some portion of the rent; however, if there are other tenants eager to replace tenants, removal of problematic tenants may be most suitable. Regardless, flexibility in dealing with tenant issues will always be considered and appreciated.

Poor Maintenance


Preventative Approach: Proper screening helps here, but tenants (or guests) make mistakes, leaving garbage or any unsightly objects outside for all to see. Post the rules, and hold community gatherings for all to mingle. In this way, tenants will become more considerate of the community – it is much easier to disrespect a faceless person rather than one met by a hand shake. Interior maintenance is solved many different ways, depending on the clientele. Return partial amounts of the security deposit upon approved inspection. For example: if tenant agrees, check the unit half way through the lease, and return half the security deposit if everything is satisfactory, creating incentive to maintain a quality living space.

After the Fact: Again, approaching these matters with delicacy is important to avoid alienation or patronizing vibes. Notify the tenants that keeping the trash outside of the public eye would be greatly appreciated, offering alternative suggestions as to how to deal with the trash or object(s). Again, offer assistance in the matter. Remember that the tenants indirectly employ you – without them, there is no cash flow. You work for them! A proper means of communication is necessary here, as many tenants avoid landlord calls. Online software can again alleviate such concerns as it will leave notification on tenant profiles, while giving you (the landlord) notice that the tenant has opened the message. This documents correspondence and generates a more in depth tenant profile, incase such a profile is ever necessary in the future. Lastly, a connected community is a healthy community – another perk of management software is that tenants within the same community can connect with one another, letting people know of furniture for sale or future gatherings – just another way to humanize the surroundings. It’s a good sign when tenants wave upon passing one another!

Lack of Tenant Responsiveness


Above, we briefly touched on the matter. Software that engages both landlord and tenant, using many avenues of correspondence will at the very least provide reassurance that the message has been received. Next, lead by example; if the landlord seldom responds with punctuality, similar conduct should be expected to follow from said tenant. Poor communication may, alone, be the pill of disaster in terms of tenant relationships. Do not start the trend of a “no talk” policy. Proper organization is crucial, and if such organization is too difficult or expensive, turn to a capable, inexpensive software to handle the tedious nature of tenant requests.

Excessive Noise


Proper screening can provide insight as to which tenants will tend to be noisy, but do not reject said tenants simply for these issues. Instead, proceed with caution: place the new tenant where noise will be less of an issue (secluded area, or next to other potentially noisy tenants). Do not put a group of recent college graduates next to a long standing family; avoid the tension! Also, make the rules clear upon entry to the community, and politely correspond with noisy tenants. Such tenants are much more likely to respond positively to a landlord who approaches such situations with care as opposed to abrasiveness. Community gatherings again may facilitate respect necessary to promote a healthy, non-noisy environment.

Illegal Tenant Activity


Preventative: Simple background checks should handle this one.

After the Fact: If you become privy to tenant illegal activity, it is typically a good idea to remove the tenant immediately. However, approach the tenant, and give the lawless person to explain his/her side of the story. Some situations may not warrant tenant removal, so do not approach the situation bureaucratically; however, proceed with caution and skepticism. Don’t just throwing tenants out for minor legal troubles, but make sure the criminal master minds are not operating out of a unit in your complex. Build a relationship with community police force for two reasons: 1. they will occasionally patrol the area, and 2. if you know the officer, he is less likely going to overstep his boundaries when looking for suspicious activity.

One theme remains through all these issues, respect in proper communication will be the cure all for your tenant troubles. Do not manifest tenant troubles unknowingly by setting the bar at abrasiveness. Handle with care, and watch the community flourish – remember it all starts with YOU – the landlord!

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Tony Salloum


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