Renter Advice

Landlord-Tenant Relationship: 10 Tips to Keep It Healthy

995 views January 15, 2024 Karina Jugo 4

A healthy landlord-tenant relationship is vital. 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 aspects.

Through our plight, we have uncovered several commonalities affecting all perspectives. This article discusses 10 ways parties to a lease agreement can make the rental experience smooth and seamless. Ultimately, cultivating good relations between landlords and tenants through fair practices and mutual understanding is essential for housing situations that work.

10 tips to manage a healthy landlord-tenant relationship

A healthy landlord-tenant relationship is essential for an enjoyable and smooth housing experience for both parties. With open communication, clearly set expectations, respect, and mutual understanding between landlords and tenants, many conflicts can be avoided.

This section outlines actionable tips for both landlords and tenants to help foster positive relations that allow them to work collaboratively to address issues promptly. Following these simple best practices can go a long way toward easing tensions and facilitating a peaceful coexistence.

1: Choose tenants wisely.

Who is this for: Landlord

Choosing responsible, trustworthy tenants is key for landlords to maintain positive relationships because it sets the foundation for open communication, accountability, and cooperation. Vetting tenants thoroughly via rental applications, background checks, references, interviews, and credit reports helps verify they will likely pay rent on time, follow property rules, report issues promptly, avoid disturbing others, and fulfill their end of the lease agreement.

Having good tenants makes it easier for landlords to address problems collaboratively, upkeep properties responsibly, collect payments smoothly, and ultimately cultivate harmonious relationships built on understanding and reliability from the start. The right tenants help prevent conflicts down the road.

2: Put everything in writing.

Who is this for: Tenant and Landlord

Landlords and tenants should put all aspects of a lease agreement in writing to clearly define expectations, responsibilities, and policies, as well as to protect both parties in the event of a dispute. A written record eliminates confusion and provides documentation to refer back to, ensuring transparency around important items like rent, security deposits, maintenance duties, house rules, and more. Ultimately, a detailed written lease safeguards landlords and tenants alike.

3: Set clear expectations

Who is this for: Tenant and Landlord

It’s vital that you provide tenants with your expectations before they even sign a lease. Providing further information in the lease packet and policy guides can also be very helpful. This is a great way to inform your tenants and reduce the risk of future problems.

Setting clear expectations creates mutual understanding around responsibilities, policies, and procedures. A detailed, written lease agreement outlines important guidelines around rent payments, maintenance requests, occupancy regulations, noise levels, guests, pets, and more. Additionally, landlords should communicate upfront about best practices for submitting repair requests, contacting the landlord, protocols for entering the unit, and other property rules. 

Tenants should also clarify requirements and ask questions at the outset. With defined expectations set through ongoing dialogue, appropriate behaviors, two-way cooperation, and accountability are encouraged. This transparency provides the foundation for positive interactions where both parties feel respected and valued. 

4: Pay rent on time.

Who is this for: Tenant

Paying rent on time upholds the tenant’s key financial obligation and ensures landlords receive consistent income to cover mortgages, taxes, maintenance, and other expenses. When tenants pay rent reliably and landlords provide safe housing as contracted, it fosters mutual accountability and sets expectations for upholding the lease terms respectfully. 

Late or missing payments strain the landlord-tenant relationship, create distrust and force landlords to pursue collection notices or evictions – confrontational processes. By making timely payments, tenants demonstrate financial responsibility and strong communication, enabling landlords to also complete their duties responsibly. 

breaking a lease

5: Keep the landlord-tenant relationship on a professional level.

Who is this for: Landlord and Tenant

It’s wise for landlords to maintain a professional relationship with tenants and not become too personally close in order to keep appropriate boundaries. Getting too friendly may cloud a landlord’s judgment if issues arise like late rent payments or property damage. It also prevents tenants from attempting to unreasonably negotiate lease terms. 

Keeping things professional protects against uncomfortable situations down the line should eviction ever become necessary. A friendly but formal rapport allows landlords to make sound and fair business decisions without being influenced by emotions or jeopardizing personal relationships. 

Both parties benefit when a line is drawn between personal and financial affairs, keeping the landlord-tenant relationship responsible, straightforward, and conducive for all parties to perform their duties effectively.

6: Respect tenant privacy.

Who is this for: Landlord

Upholding tenant privacy demonstrates mutual trust and consideration. Tenants have a reasonable expectation of personal space, autonomy and discretion within their rented units. When landlords intrude unnecessarily, make unauthorized entry, over-monitor or impose arbitrary restrictions, relationships sour quickly. 

Tenants may feel violated and landlords seen as overbearing. However, if landlords make repairs at appropriate times, provide proper notice before entering, and avoid policing tenants’ personal affairs, tenants feel more comfortable raising issues openly while taking responsibility for property conditions. 

Respecting boundaries regarding tenants’ private domestic life fosters good faith, accountability and open communication from both parties. Tenants also learn they can rely on their landlord’s integrity, further strengthening the landlord-tenant relationship.

7: Address maintenance issues promptly.

Who is this for: Landlord

Being quick and prompt on maintenance and repairs keeps the property in good working condition for both the landlord’s and the tenants’ benefit. It shows tenants that the landlord cares about their living conditions and comfort. 

Leaving issues unaddressed can allow small problems to become bigger problems if left unattended over time. Catching and resolving them early prevents hassles down the road and demonstrates the landlord’s responsiveness. This strengthens positive relationships with tenants who will be more likely to extend leases and recommend new renters.

8: Be a good neighbor.

Who is this for: Tenant

Harmonious tenant and community relationships enable peaceful enjoyments of the property for all residents. Boisterous parties, incessant noise, and disregard for shared spaces strain interactions with fellow tenants and neighbors, sparking complaints and tensions. 

In contrast, tenants who make efforts to limit loud activities, properly dispose of waste, control pets, respect parking availability, and be courteous in common areas empower open dialogue and accountability with landlords and neighbors. 

Taking personal responsibility and being conscientious of how one’s actions impact others promotes goodwill. Landlords are more inclined to retain considerate tenants who attract, rather than drive off, quality future renters.

9: Offer renewal incentives.

Who is this for: Landlord

Offering incentives can strengthen the landlord-tenant relationship by showing good faith, building trust, and promoting accountability. For example, landlords may offer a discount for paying rent early or on time; they may also reduce or waive fees when tenants properly dispose of waste, help with shoveling, or participate in a rental improvement idea.

Tenants who feel their actions are appreciated are more likely to communicate openly about issues. Incentives make both parties feel valued and heard, strengthening mutually beneficial bonds. This allows landlords to better retain quality, long-term tenants who respect the property – the ultimate incentive for harmonious relationships on both sides.

10: Send out newsletters and tenant manuals

Who is this for: Landlord

You can do a few other things to help educate your tenants on changing housing concerns and develop a much more positive relationship. A monthly newsletter can keep them updated on developments in the community. Newsletters are also a great avenue for promoting different programs such as referral incentives. The odds are fairly good that at least one of your tenants knows someone who is looking for a place. 

A tenant manual is also an excellent idea, as you can’t get many details into a lease contract due to space constraints. Consider putting together a manual that can help further illustrate things. You can offer troubleshooting tips for common issues and procedures for all sorts of situations to help solve problems before they escalate.

landlord-tenant relationship

Landlord-Tenant Relationship: Common Tenant Complaints

Landlord-tenant disputes usually arise when something goes wrong with the following:

  1. Work orders
  2. Tenant privacy
  3. Lack of assistance with inquiries
  4. Rudeness from landlord
  5. Nearby tenants
  6. Deposit reimbursement

1: Work orders

What’s the complaint: Unanswered or delayed response to repair or maintenance requests

How to prevent conflict: Continuously respond to work orders, even simply saying, “We have received the request.”

Additional tips for Landlord/Tenant:

  • Use property management software with built-in features for managing work orders.
  • Leave a list of approved service contacts (plumber, electrician, etc.), so the tenant may handle the situation personally (while deducting the cost from the rent and sending you the invoice).

2: Tenant privacy

What’s the complaint: Non-communication regarding when the landlord or service personnel will be entering a renter’s dwelling

How to prevent conflict: Landlord MUST have confirmation that a tenant has been notified 24 hours ahead of time – voicemail does not count.

Additional tips for Landlord/Tenant:

  • Most email accounts allow for “read receipts” that inform you when the recipient  has opened the message – a more than the adequate form of confirmation, especially considering the dates and times opened are recorded.
  • Use property management software like RentPost™ which enables tenant notification for inspections or repairs and maintenance activities.

3: Lack of assistance with inquiries

What’s the complaint: Ignoring tenant inquiries that are not part of the landlord’s contracted duties

How to prevent conflict: Landlord or property management team can demonstrate goodwill by offering to assist tenants in small, meaningful ways.

Additional tips for Landlord/Tenant:

  • Provide the contact details of the relevant utility inspector and assisting in following up on the results.
  • Extend undemanded favors such as helping an elderly tenant set up an online grocery order, introducing a parent to reliable neighborhood babysitters, or providing fresh contacts when utilities or appliances fail unexpectedly.

tenant disputes

4: Rudeness from landlord

What’s the complaint: Some landlords may come across as rude to tenants by being short when responding to requests, acting impatient when hearing concerns, or making overly harsh statements in tense situations.

How to prevent conflict: Landlords should carefully listen to understand tenants’ perspectives, speak and write professionally using a neutral, respectful tone, and try seeing issues from tenants’ point of view.

Additional tips for Landlord/Tenant:

  • Follow up on requests in a timely manner, provide reasoned explanations around rental policies, and focus discussion on resolving problems constructively.
  • Act with empathy and compassion. Reset relations by rebuilding trust, showing accountability, and demonstrating willingness to collaborate through disputes.

5: Nearby tenants

What’s the complaint: Some tenants unfortunately disturb neighbors by playing loud music, having raucous gatherings, letting pets run loose, or making excessive noise.

How to prevent conflict: Landlords should directly but diplomatically address the problem with the offending tenant. The landlord can cite relevant lines from the lease around quiet enjoyment and offer concrete solutions like keeping music low after 10 pm or hosting fewer guests.

Additional tips for Landlord/Tenant:

  • Enforcing rules fairly and issuing citations ultimately protects surrounding neighbors.
  • If disturbances continue despite warnings, the landlord can issue fines, notify the tenant in writing, or work towards eviction only as a last resort.

6: Deposit reimbursement

What’s the complaint: Problems around security deposit returns often arise at lease end due to unclear documentation of preexisting conditions versus new damages.

How to prevent conflict: Establishing expectations from the outset via documented walkthroughs and a clear understanding of normal wear-and-tear versus tenant negligence helps mitigate deposit conflicts down the road.

Additional tips for Landlord/Tenant:

  • Recognize the need for meticulous move-in and move-out inspection reports, high-quality photographs, compliant policies, condition statement deadlines, and security deposit cap awareness.
  • DO NOT overcharge frivolously for necessary adjustments to the recently vacated property. (Speaking from a personal account, I was once charged $15 for a water bottle left in the refrigerator!)

landlord-tenant relationship move out

Landlord-Tenant Relationship: Common Landlord Complaints

Over the years of working with landlords and tenants while working on the RentPost property management software, here are the most common issues landlords face:

  1. Non or late payment of rent
  2. Poor property maintenance (Interior and Exterior)
  3. Lack of responsiveness from the tenant
  4. Excessive noise
  5. Illegal tenant activity

1. Non or Late Payment of Rent

What’s the complaint: Late or non-payment of rent creates cash flow issues for landlords, forcing them to allocate additional resources just to recover agreed-upon dues.

How to prevent conflict: Foster collaboration by asking tenants to make rent a priority so they fulfill their contractual duty while enabling landlords to uphold theirs.

Additional tips for Landlord/Tenant:

  • Encourage tenants to set up an auto-debit system in their bank account or use property management software like RentPost™ to automatically collect rent payments and provide reminders of upcoming and late rent.
  • Offer incentives like small discounts or rewards for paying early or on the exact due date. Even modest benefits motivate good pay habits.

landlord-tenant relationship pay rent

2. Poor Maintenance

What’s the complaint: Neglected repairs and issues like plumbing leaks, faulty heating, broken appliances, pest problems and mold growth can impact quality of living and safety.

How to prevent conflict: Landlords should establish clear request procedures and response timelines. Provide multiple contact methods like phone, email and tenant portals that streamline reporting.

Additional tips for Landlord/Tenant:

  • Designate emergency/urgent requests then follow through promptly to demonstrate good faith efforts. 
  • Use third party servicers when needed and be proactive with bi-annual inspections and preventative upgrades to keep units appealing and tenant grievances minimal.

3: Lack of Tenant Responsiveness

What’s the complaint: Urgent issues go unreported and messages are ignored by tenants, so problems escalate, leaving landlords unable to uphold housing standards.

How to prevent conflict: To encourage engagement, landlords should build rapport in visits, provide convenient contact options, demonstrate prompt follow-through on past complaints, and remind tenants periodically of reporting duties in a friendly tone.

Additional tips for Landlord/Tenant:

  • Conduct frequent inspections for more visibility while keeping communications open. 
  • Be diplomatic yet clear on expectations around residence obligations, stressing accountability on both sides.

disputes between tenants

4: Excessive Noise

What’s the complaint: Noise in the form of late night parties, loud music, screaming fights, and barking dogs disrupt the peace, privacy, and right to quiet enjoyment expected by surrounding neighbors. 

How to prevent conflict: Landlords must enforce lease policies about noise and nuisance activities through direct requests, written warnings, fines, and eventually eviction if reasonable efforts fail.

Additional tips for Landlord/Tenant:

  • Address problem tenants promptly and understand the frustrated neighbors’ perspectives to preserve the rental’s reputation and allow for responsible, more conscientious tenants in future.
  • Include clauses in lease agreements that clearly outline expectations regarding noise levels, specifying quiet hours and the consequences of violating these terms.

5. Illegal Tenant Activity

What’s the complaint: Selling illicit substances, violence/assaults, and vandalism can deeply strain community relationships by making residents feel unsafe and losing faith in property oversight.

How to prevent conflict: While landlords cannot control tenant behaviors directly, promptly addressing illegal actions through enforcement of zero tolerance lease policies is key.

Additional tips for Landlord/Tenant:

  • Upon confirming offenses, issue fines, make police reports, or begin eviction proceedings to send a strong signal to perpetrators and the community alike that such egregious breaches of the lease warrant swift action. 
  • Strictly uphold standards around lawful use and occupancy to protect surrounding neighbors, prevent future disruptions and restore the property’s security. Remove problematic tenants if needed to rebuild community trust.

security deposit tips

Landlord-tenant relationship acts and laws

Many state and local municipalities have specialized regulations, but most identify rights, responsibilities and procedures for both landlords and tenants around deposits, maintenance, discrimination, safety standards and lease terminations.

Here are some key federal, state, and local laws in the US governing the tenant-landlord relationship:

  1. Fair Housing Act (FHA) – Prohibits discrimination in rentals based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or family status.
  2. Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) – Regulates the collection and use of consumers’ credit information for rental applications.
  3. Landlord Tenant Act (Hawaii State) – Outlines security deposits, disclosures, rental agreements, landlord obligations, and eviction processes in Hawaii.
  4. Warranty of Habitability (NYC local) – Requires landlords ensure safe, livable conditions for tenants in NYC housing.
  5. Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance (Chicago local) – Governs security deposits, rental applications, evictions related to foreclosure, and more for Chicago rentals:

Click here to access key statutes pertaining to landlord-tenant law in each US state.

Our Takeaway

To reiterate, RentPost’s vision is to improve the world of rent and in many situations, the problem areas are interpersonal relationships held between tenants and landlords/managers. One theme remains through all these issues: Respect and proper communication will be the cure-all for your tenant troubles.

Do not handle tenant issues unknowingly by setting the bar at abrasiveness. Handle with care, and watch the community flourish – remember it all starts with YOU, the landlord!

Authors

  • Karina Jugo

    Karina Jugo is a content administrator at RentPost who works directly with real estate and property management experts to create resources and guides for property managers. She has more than 15 years of experience in content research and writing for various industries.

  • Jacob Thomason

    Jacob Thomason is the CEO and co-founder of RentPost, software platform providing property managers, landlord or owners with the tools necessary for property management. Jacob is a software entrepreneur with with a vast array of expertise ranging from business concept design to software architecture and development. He is running RentPost for more than 14 years and helping property managers and property owners.

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