Fostering a good relationship between all parties to a tenancy will allow everyone to get so much more out of the experience. It’s basic logic. Treat your tenants with respect; be considerate of the fact that your property investment is their home, and they will (hopefully) show you the same courtesy. Remember, these are the people you rely on to sustain your asset. Happy tenants are more likely to look after the premises, pay their rent on time and allow random strangers to wander through their home at the end of a lease. Communication equals cooperation, so your property manager needs to be amicable, approachable and professional in all dealings. And as a landlord, you should be attentive to any reasonable requests from your tenants. Managing thousands of rentals over the years here at Metropole, we’ve seen and heard it all.
But the following top five things are what tenants hate the most when dealing with inconsiderate landlords and property managers.
1. Poor treatment No one likes to feel disrespected. If a tenant believes the property manager they’re dealing with treats them badly, problems are more likely to occur during the tenancy as the lines of communication start to disintegrate. Find out how the property manager you engage handles conflict and complaints by throwing a few examples their way and measuring their response. If you sense an unwillingness to work with you in resolving the issue during this line of questioning, chances are your tenants will too.
2. Left hanging Being ignored is another common bugbear. Let’s face it, we all hate being told ‘someone will get back to you’ and that just never eventuates. Even if the response is, ‘We’re sorry but the landlord isn’t agreeable to your request,’ every query presented by your tenants deserves a timely response. It’s just common courtesy.
3. Bad management of maintenance requests Quick and efficient processing of all maintenance requests received from tenants should be your property manager’s priority. They need an established protocol around how to proceed in addressing different issues, along with specific instructions with regard to repairs that can be organised on your behalf if you happen to be unreachable in an emergency. One of the questions you should ask a prospective property manager is what process they have in place around the reporting and management of maintenance items, including expected outcomes and timings for completion. Remember, you are legally obligated to maintain your property investment in safe, liveable repair, so this is an area you literally cannot afford to ignore.
4. Being kept in the dark In this day and age, it’s not difficult to send a quick email advising the progress and approval of a repair or other type of tenant request. But again, this is an area where renters experience significant frustration in many instances. If something is taking a little longer to organise than anticipated, or requires multiple visits from tradespeople to obtain quotes, it’s essential that your tenants be kept in the loop and informed as to what’s going on.
5. Rent rises
While you’re entitled to increase your rent in line with market fundamentals, how your property manager approaches an increase can either make it more palatable to tenants, or alienate them entirely. By the time the question of an increase arises, a professional property manager will have established a good rapport with your tenants and have the courtesy to call them before sending out written notification of a rent review. They’ll know how to soften the blow by explaining about comparable rental prices in the area, making your tenant more likely to sign on for another year and less likely to pack their bags and head out the door, feeling hard done by.
Just be nice
The bottom line is, treat your tenants how you would like to be treated and make sure your property manager is doing the same. Most of us have all been tenants ourselves at some stage, so use that experience to display a little empathy for your residents and you’ll find it goes a long way in maximising your portfolio’s returns.