One of the most important tasks a property manager has is effectively communicating with their tenants. And, since all tenants are different, there are several ways a property manager can go about communicating with each tenant to meet their individual needs.
Communication is the key to any successful business. And, property management is no different…
When a tenant has a problem or needs assistance, they expect a timely response that is handled in a professional way by the property management company. On the other hand, if you need to contact your tenant for an annual inspection, a change in the lease agreement, or for something as simple as an early rent payment reminder, you have multiple lines of communication available for getting into contact with your tenant.
Today, we will take a look at the many ways property managers can contact their tenants so that you will have a deeper understanding of when to utilize each method.
The thought of communicating with a tenant face-to-face may terrify even the most confident property manager. While thorough tenant screenings typically yield high-quality tenants for your rental home, there is always a chance that someone may overreact when angry, upset, or confused.
That being said, there are times when meeting with a tenant face-to-face may solve the issue more effectively. Sure, you could text, email, or even send a certified letter. However, if there is a serious issue at hand, these other communication methods sometimes fall short.
Try setting up an official meeting with tenants that express serious concerns. Or, when a tenant is giving you more than the usual “tenant trouble” consider contacting them for a face-to-face meeting.
Face-to-Face meetings between Property Managers and Tenants Can Result in:
- A sense of urgency showing your tenant you care about their issues
- Quickly corrected behavior on the part of your tenant
- A natural conversation that can reveal many solutions at once
- A tone that you are serious about your job and don’t take tenant matters lightly
- A friendly and inviting approach that will solve issues quickly leaving both sides satisfied
When you cannot arrange a face-to-face meeting with your tenant (or simply prefer not to), another viable option is to call the tenant and speak to them over the phone. The same goes for your tenants. They should be able to contact your property management company to address any concerns they may have.
Sometimes it is best to keep phone conversations about simple matters. For instance, call tenants to confirm that the maintenance crew has been scheduled for a repair. Another perfect time to phone your tenant would be during lease renewal time. This is a very personal way to express to your tenant that the lease term is coming to an end and that you would love for them to reconsider signing for another term.
If the matter is a serious one, then discussing it in detail via the phone may not protect you in the way you would like should the issue be taken to court. That is why if you must phone your tenant, documenting all phone calls with a complete description of everything discussed is a wise idea.
Email and online portals are a great way to communicate effectively with your tenant for many reasons. For starters, both options offer both you and your tenants a convenient way to contact each other. In addition, the correspondence can be saved by both parties should a legal dispute arise later on.
There are, however, some drawbacks to using electronic communication for all matters related to the properties you manage:
- Not all emails are accessed regularly and important messages can be easily overlooked.
- Spam folders do a great job of inappropriately flagging good messages and hiding them.
- Not all of your tenants will be technically advanced enough to access emails or online portals.
- They may not hold up in a court of law as a legal document.
While emails and online tenant portals offer an active way for tenants to communicate issues to you, when you are trying to communicate something important to them, it may be better to choose another option for legal reasons.
With the rise of smartphones, it makes sense that you would sometimes feel comfortable enough texting your tenants. And, so long as your tenants agree to this form of communication, this can be a great way to stay in touch.
Text messages are received quickly, are rarely lost, are less apt to go “unread,” and cater to a large part of people who prefer this method of communication. In addition, as part of a legal dispute, text messages can sometimes come in handy as a legal form of correspondence. Just make sure that your state and local laws agree before you rely on text messaging for all things property related.
Though mail seems as old as time itself, it is widely accepted that hard copies of all important documents sent via mail is the best form of communication. Important matters involving lease agreements, inspection notices, and late rent payment notices are best sent via first class certified mail to your tenant.
Certified mail proves that you at least attempted to contact your tenant should a serious matter be taken before a judge. After all, attempting to communicate is all you have to do. What your tenant chooses to do with said mail is up to them. You are simply responsible for protecting yourself.
There are many ways of communicating with your tenants when you are the property manager. And, as long as both parties agree to the decided form of communication, there should be no problems with keeping in touch about all things property related. Just make sure you always take the necessary precautions to legally protect yourself and your business in the case of a tenant dispute.
Good communication should be the crux of your property management company. Tenants rely on being able to get in contact with you at all times, and your property owners pay you to be available. In the end, making yourself accessible to tenants using a variety of communication methods will certainly set you apart from your competition and help make your property management company much more successful.
Managing property is no easy job, but it can be fulfilling and profitable when done correctly. Remember that the relationships you create and the guidelines you follow are of the utmost importance to your success. With the necessary know-how, you can avoid costly and frustrating mistakes and become a better property manager.
Patrick Freeze is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and President of Bay Management Group, a property management company headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated from Dickinson College where he studied Economics and Business. Patrick has over ten years in real estate and over seven years of property management experience. He is a licensed real estate broker and a member of multiple organizations including NARPM®.
Disclaimer: LandlordSource does not represent the article content in this website as legal advice. It is shared information only and up to the reader to use this information responsibly, seeking legal advice as necessary to their business.
LandlordSource can help you with tenant communication. Review the Property Management Systems for Owners, Tenants, and Vendors for more communication tips. This product includes 3 manuals – owner, tenant, and vendor – plus 27 forms.