Regarding the concerns of renters as unimportant is never a good idea for landlords, especially in the age of online feedback. If you develop a reputation for ignoring the needs of your tenants, you’re liable to notice a significant decrease in the number of rental applications you receive for your property – or properties. Although some landlords intentionally treat their tenants as expendable, others draw the ire of renters without meaning to. As such, first-time landlords who wish to remain on amicable terms with their renters should be mindful of the following behaviors.
Approaching Renovations and New Construction Improperly
Renovations and new construction stand to inconvenience your tenants in a number of ways. First off, there’s the noise factor. Depending on the type of renovations being carried out, persistent noise pollution is liable to occur, thus serving to annoy any renters in the vicinity. Secondly, there’s the time factor. If renovations and new construction projects are completed in a relatively timely manner, many renters are likely to take the temporary inconveniences they bring in stride. However, if such projects are drawn out over a period of weeks or months – or even longer – tenants’ patience may start wearing thin.
With this in mind, make a point of only working with contractors who are fully licensed, bonded and well-versed in the type of projects you undertake. In addition to being able to complete jobs in a timely and professional manner, your ideal contractors will be adept at using planning and zoning software.
Taking Too Long to Address Maintenance Issues
No renter relishes having their maintenance issues ignored. For example, if something goes wrong with the plumbing or electricity in someone’s apartment, it seems only fitting that they be able to call someone. However, if you intentionally make yourself unreachable or simply neglect to provide tenants with contact info, addressing maintenance issues in a timely manner may prove difficult.
This stands to hurt you in a number of ways. For starters, it will frustrate and anger tenants, many of whom won’t hesitate to voice their dissatisfaction online. Secondly, the longer it takes you to address maintenance issues, the more serious those issues are likely to become. Thirdly, some tenants may understandably opt to withhold rental payments until such time as their issues have been fixed.
In the interest of avoiding such communication mishaps, make sure to provide your tenants with a work email and phone number – and respond to their communiques as quickly as possible. You should also employ a maintenance staff that’s large enough to service a property that houses the number of tenants you have. For instance, if you own an apartment complex with hundreds of units, one or two full-time maintenance professionals is insufficient.
As an additional precaution, all tenants should be advised to seek out good renters insurance policies. Furthermore, as the property owner, you’ll need to purchase landlord insurance, since homeowners insurance can’t be applied to rental properties.
Hiring Property Managers Who Aren’t Dependable
Landlords who own multiple properties or have day jobs that are unrelated to their real estate ventures often enlist the services of property managers. As the title suggests, this person manages virtually every aspect of a property. From collecting rent to addressing tenant concerns to creating maintenance schedules, a property manager serves as your proxy at practically every turn.
While hiring the right property manager can make your life a lot easier, it must be understood that not all property managers are equally dependable. So, no matter how much faith you have in the manager you hire, check in with them on a daily basis and insist on being kept abreast of everything that’s happening with your rental property. Although leaving all the responsibilities of rental property ownership in the hands of a capable manager may be tempting, landlords should always play an active role in the running of their respective properties.
Placing tenant concerns on the backburner is never going to serve you well. In addition to drawing understandable ire from your renters, this kind of approach to rental property ownership stands to destroy your professional reputation and possibly even land you in legal trouble. Luckily, many of the mistakes landlords make in dealing with tenants are easily avoidable. Fledgling landlords who want to get off on the right foot with renters and maintain consistent favorable relationships with them should avoid the behaviors discussed above.