Like any relationship, the one between tenants and landlords has its ups and downs. Everyone is happy when the rent is paid on time, the air conditioner works in the middle of July, and the front yard is kept neat and trimmed. You don’t have to be friends with your tenants or have a personal relationship with them in order for everyone to get along and be friendly. In fact, both landlords and tenants only have to do two things to have a great relationship: Listen and communicate.
Take a look at what both landlords and tenants can do to have a good working relationship.
What Landlords Can Do
- Call in advance and schedule a time to come over to the property that’s convenient for your tenants. Never show up unannounced.
- When a repair is called in, follow up with the information you have with your tenants: how long it will take before the service repair company arrives, how long it will take the part to come in, etc. Keep your tenants informed, and they’ll feel like they know what’s going on.
- If you see a problem on the property, set a time to meet with your tenants to go over it and remind them of their responsibilities as a tenant. Be friendly and polite to keep the tension down. People don’t like to be told they’re doing something wrong, so frame it as a reminder.
- If a tenant who usually pays on time experiences a personal problem that causes them to pay late, be willing to work with them, but also set your expectations. You may waive the late fee once but no more. You might give them an extra week or two this month but not every month.
What Tenants Can Do
- Contact your landlord immediately if there’s a problem with your rental. Don’t wait to report a leaky pipe, broken appliance, or other problem. The longer it’s left unfixed, the more expensive it becomes.
- Accommodate your landlord as best as you can when they need to come to the property to fix something or if they want to set a meeting to talk to you. Everyone, including your landlord, has a busy schedule to keep.
- Be upfront if you’re struggling to pay the rent due to job loss, illness, or a recent death in the family. If you normally pay on time, your landlord may be understanding. Not communicating (and not paying) causes tension that might dissipate if they knew the reason.
- Make sure you understand your responsibilities under the lease agreement. If you don’t, ask and get clarification.
- Take care of your home and when you move out, leave it better than you found it. Keep it clean and neat, report damage immediately, and talk to your landlord about upgrades or changes before you do anything.
Landlords aren’t awful people and neither are tenants. If you’ve had a bad relationship in the past, the problem may have been in how well you communicated with each other. Instead of assuming the worst about your landlord or your tenant, keep an open mind and be willing to listen to each other. As long as you talk to each other, you can have a good relationship.