Traveling through the world of rent, we at RentPost have acquired a deep understanding of the renters market from many different perspectives, including investment, interpersonal, professional, and even historical thanks to The Witt. Through our plight, we have uncovered a commonality, affecting all perspectives – communication. It marks the fine line that divides rent’s interpersonal and professional interaction, and the manner in which it exists (or doesn’t!) truly impacts tenant-landlord dealings from the ground up. No matter how its sliced, communication is the word, so… let’s talk!
We will start the day by listing the most frequent complaints from Tenants, and proceed by elaborating as to how effective, proper communication can ease all associated tension within tenant relationships.
Common Topics of Complaint from Tenants
- Work Orders
- Lack of assistance with inquiries
- Rudeness from landlord
- Nearby Tenants
- Deposit reimbursement
Starting from the top: it’s easy to understand how an unanswered work order could displease a tenant, and it is typically a result of an unorganized landlord or manager. Always react to the work order, even to simply say “we have received the request.” In this manner, the tenant is not left lingering in a frustrating state of limbo. Another idea – leave a list of approved service contacts (plumber, electrician etc.), so the tenant may personally handle the situation (while deducting the cost from rent and sending you the invoice). In the matter of privacy, non-communication as to when a person will be entering a renters dwelling is a common source of hostility. A landlord MUST have confirmation that a tenant has been notified 24 hours ahead of time – voicemail does not count. Here’s a technique: most e-mail accounts allow for “read receipts,” that inform you when the recipient of the e-mail has opened the message – a more than adequate form of confirmation, especially considering the dates and times opened are recorded – send e-mails!
As the issue of privacy begins the drift from professional to personal interaction, quality of the interpersonal relationship is highlighted when focussing on tenant inquiries that are not part of the landlord’s contracted duties. For example: John Tenant has an unusually high water bill and is concerned of a potential problem. John asks the property management team, but they provide him no answers or direction, simply because it is outside their realm of responsibility. He feels blown off…. at the very least, the management team could provide the phone number to a utilities inspector and follow up with the results. In this fashion, the tenant will feel appreciated and satisfied, engendering a sense of community and belonging. John is now more likely to respect his management team, as the team has shown a mutual respect. Tenants break fewer rules, seeking to improve the quality of the community when they bear reverence for the landlords/managers. There is never a need for landlords to flex muscles of superiority over tenants; this is always rude, and will always disintegrate healthy relationships – be amicable!
On a similar note, generating a sense of respect between tenants will serve to ease the tenant-tenant tension, as occupants will consider their neighbors before turning up the volume or throwing garbage for all to see. A way to facilitate friendly interaction between tenants is to offer community gatherings for all to savor and interact; moreover, such an act earns “brownie points” for the landlord. It is always harder to disregard a person without a face; paint the picture for tenants, and observe the benefits. Lastly, remember that outgoing tenants are fantastic sources of referral; avoid leaving a bitter taste in their mouths by handling proceedings with security deposits in a simple, equitable, itemized way. DO NOT overcharge frivolously for necessary adjustments to the recently vacated apartment. If you don’t mind I speak from a personal account, I was once charged $15 for a water bottle left in the refrigerator. Though the instance was years ago, it is my most lasting memory of impact regarding the apartment complex (whose name will remain unspoken).
To reiterate, RentPost’s vision is to improve the world of rent, and in many situations, the problem areas are of interpersonal relationships held between tenants and landlords/managers. Though a number of different issues arise in the midst of rental agreements, a majority result from or are exacerbated by poor communication. Beyond that, a number can be solved with proper communication. Our next edition will review the complaints of landlords, and more specifically, how to ease your mind through proper communication. Do not let interpersonal tension turn a good investment into a struggling business. Lend a helping hand by lending your ears.
The Rent Lobster