Monday, November 3, 2014

How To Communicate Effectively With Your Tenants

This article is to help landlords and property managers build a great reputation amongst their tenants leading higher retention for rental units and protection in case of tenant disputes.

A profitable business requires traffic with a loyal customer base, and an open door policy to run effectively with feedback from customers. Effective communication with tenants will help build a better reputation for your company by resolving issues faster.

The cost structure is centered around collecting monthly rental payments from tenants. Quick attendance to the tenant's needs ensures they maintain happy, paying rent, and keeping bad press off the internet by communicating upfront with the Boston property management companyIf tenants know you are open to resolving issues they will come to you first. 

Good communication with tenants is the oil to keep the business's motor running and is integral for maintaining a strong return on property investment.

Communication Methods That Drive Quality Living For Your Tenants

All tenants will feel like they have some say in matters and don't want to feel at the mercy of their landlord. Having poor communication will lead to issues with property management team when something goes wrong. The combination of timing and messaging are the keys to making sure that the tenants have been given enough notice to react to the landlord or property management. Attempt to avoid any "surprises".

Expected scenarios and the best ways to communicate in each situation:
  • Share Expectations From Day 1- When tenants move into the building, you have to set the precedent for how, what, and why the common shared living expectations are. Give the new tenants a Boston move-in guide so they know what to expect from their landlords and their neighbor(s) in the building or house. With shared expectations, tenants will be forewarned not to have late night parties, smoking in the house, the rules on pets in the units, no mischief night, etc.
  • Telephone Calls Only During The Daytime If Necessary- People within your property may have various communication styles. Tenants do not always always have time to call you back and vice versa. But try not to call them at night after 8pm if you can. Most people are ending their work day around that time, and the last person they want to have to deal with is their landlord. If necessary, call when it's an absolute emergency (i.e. a fire, water or gas leak) that requires their immediate attention or input. Email is often always better for both parties.
  • Post Notification Letters To Tenants- Put everything in writing, because if it's not written, then it's not documented. Write up and send out letters to tenants that each party can keep the documents for their personal records. Tenants have protection laws in their favor versus landlords, so it's good to have a paper trail to protect yourself in court if you ever are in a dispute with them. Examples of documents include eviction letters to a tenant, property management crew doing work on the premises, or responding to a complaint from a neighbor about your tenant. If you physically mail these letters, make sure they are certified letters to make them officially professional and not personal.
    Collecting tenant feedback and data on Twitter
  • Social Media- You need to receive as much feedback about your building to keep it up to the satisfaction of the tenants. Using social media channels is like a customer service survey, a great way to collect data to learn how to socially market your properties for new tenants, and to get your reputation improved by making you and your property management team accessible and tangible to the tenants. Tweeting pictures of the property, creating a YouTube channel for how-to videos for repairs they can do themselves in their units, or having a Facebook "like" page to post contests and pertinent information to tenants are great ways to use this channel of communication. 
  • Texting To Tenants - People have become more accustomed to seeing more messages from countless different media channels throughout their daily routines. They tend to tune out certain message more than others. But when it comes to messages regarding their living situation, they are more likely to react quicker to what is sent to them. When it comes to SMS mass texting to your tenants, make sure that you have their approval first because not everyone is comfortable with disclosing their personal cell phone number to others. 
Tenant to landlord: "I never got a damage bill from you!"
  • Keep Calm At All Times- Running a business like owning a property has its stressful moments. But understand that the customers are the tenants. Communicating with tenants in a confrontational manner is never going to improve the landlord's reputation. The best way to sound in communication with tenants is to address them as "sir" or "ma'am" to make them feel welcome at all times during their tenancy.
  • Emailing To Tenants- It is important to cover your tracks that you have used all forms of communication to contact your tenants. Email is the most official way to keep track of conversations and notices, but remember that tone is often difficult to convey, so be polite and NEVER USE ALL CAPS. Emailing them in a blind-copy, or "BCC" message with a subject that briefly speaks to the matter you are emailing them about skirts the excuse that they did not get their texts. 

Final Thoughts

Like a main road during rush hour-commuting time of the day, communication with tenants is a two-way street that requires a facilitator like a traffic signal or law enforcement official to regulate the oncoming traffic. In these terms, the vehicles on the road driving the communication lines of business are the tenants in your property. The traffic signal is the technology that needs to run at all times of the day and night in order to ensure fluidity of the direction the tenants,

The same can be said community building and regulating your property with great communication to tenants for resolving issues.

Share some of your best examples of proper communication that has helped you gain positive feedback from tenants.