How to Have a Good Landlord-Tenant Relationship

How to Have a Good Landlord-Tenant Relationship

Remember you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Great tenants are a landlord’s biggest assets and nightmare tenants are a landlord’s worst fears. With many years of experience working with different tenants in different markets, you will find that 80% of the time, the situation can be diffused through one simple motto: Treat Others How You Wish To Be Treated While Remembering You Are Running a Business.

Use these Tips for Having a Good Landlord-Tenant Relationship

1. Have a well written, clear, and concise lease that illustrates expectations on both sides – For example, if your tenant always pays on the 1st, but it is now the 5th and you haven’t received rent — don’t start out by saying, “My money or else you will be kicked out!”

Send a friendly note saying you haven’t received rent and are following up as things can get lost in cyber space. This can solve the problem and kept the good landlord-tenant relationship. It eventually won’t though, which is why you also have a lawyer’s phone number in your back pocket. But start out with friendliness first and the lawyer and “meanness” last.

2. Being right doesn’t mean your house or pocketbook wins – The point of this game is not being right but keeping your house in great condition and occupied with a paying tenant. Possession is 9/10th of the law. A tenant could demand her security deposit back, but that would only cause issues because the landlord was still within the window of her legal limit. Instead she would be better off sending a polite “follow-up/reminder.” Because even if she is right and the landlord doesn’t return it on time, the only way to win is going to court. In that instance, are you truly winning?

3. The customer is not always right, but say no politely – It is human nature to push the boundaries. Children do it, adults do it, lawmakers do it, we all do it. If you start with the no gently, redirect, or create a yes, then you can build a friend instead of an enemy.

For example, a tenant recently ask for upgraded flooring. The house was rented on a 3-year contract for the price it was because it wasn’t upgraded. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the budget. Instead of saying no, you could say yes with an increase in the rent, splitting the difference. Now it is the tenant’s decision. They decided it wasn’t worth it to them and we kept a good landlord-tenant relationship.

As humans we get too emotional, and we’re all guilty of it. When we start thinking with our hearts and not our brains, being wishy-washy or changing our minds, it causes a lot of turmoil. This is how business can turn south quickly instead of maintaining a good landlord-tenant relationship.

You will occasionally see a posting on one of the forums, such as a member describing a messy situation for a friend who needed some advice. Ask yourself, “Is it a bad tenant or did the landlord cause it?” They may say that it was totally the landlord’s fault. When in doubt always get someone else’s thoughts on a situation. There is a reason why the saying “fresh eyes” exist. Bounce ideas off my fellow landlords and trusted advisors.


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