How important is great communication for Property Managers & Landlords? HomeHero finds out.
A lot of work goes into being a successful landlord; there’s no doubt about it. Of course, being financially savvy plays a huge part, and so does devising a strong investment strategy—and they’re both equally as demanding.
However, being a landlord isn’t just about purchasing a property and watching the rent roll in each month (Aah, if only!) It’s also about practising effective communication with your tenants.
While this may seem pretty straightforward, it can also be tricky to maintain. Especially since social distancing is in place and new ways to converse with one another has emerged.
But with the right attitude and helpful advice on your side, productively communicating with your tenants can start to feel like second nature. So, let’s talk this through together.
Why is effective communication important?
Before we get into the Do’s and Don’ts, let’s discuss why effective communication is crucial for your line of work and how practising it will benefit both you and your tenant(s).
As a landlord, you’re essentially running a business. And with every business comes great customer service, and that’s what successful landlords remember when engaging with their tenants.
So, if you stick to the fact that your tenants are your most valuable customers, you’ll start communicating in a way that makes them feel happy. And you know what that means? Less hassle and extended tenancies for you.
If the property’s maintenance is managed on your behalf, it’s essential to put yourself in contact with your tenants. Far too often, both parties can feel like unknown entities, and you risk only existing as words in an email or through the mouths of others.
But if you reach out and maintain contact with your tenants, you’ll be able to humanise them and yourself, too. Putting a face to the name will instil trust and reduce the chances of any disputes turning into anonymous internet spats.
Now that’s all out in the open, let’s get into the nitty-gritty.
Do: Understand your tenants’ needs.
First and foremost, landlords should always communicate with tenants in a way that suits their specific needs. You should double-check this with them and prepare services in advance.
For example, suppose your tenant cannot speak English or has a hearing disability. In that case, it’s your responsibility to ensure that all correspondences are in a language or format that they can understand.
You may choose to use translation apps to bridge the gap or stick to written communication wherever possible. In the event of a maintenance emergency, you’ll need to ensure the protocol is accessible for them to use.
If you don’t double-check this and fail to ensure your communications are inclusive, you could be held liable under UK discrimination legislation.
As a landlord, you should always be aware of the correct terminology to use and shape your language accordingly. This way, any communication you have will be respectful and a win-win for all involved.
Don’t: Forget to give tenants your contact details.
Okay, we may be pointing out the obvious here. But there are so much more landlords can do other than listing their address and number in an email signature.
Of course, it’s wise to give tenants a list of various channels where they can contact you, including a phone and text messaging number, email and a complete mailing address.
From there, you can liaise with your tenants about what their communication preference is. While older tenants may prefer to converse over the phone, younger tenants will most likely communicate via text or email.
You’ll then need to clarify which communication method you prefer and when you’ll answer messages for each channel. By outlining this, you’ll set out reasonable expectations for responsiveness immediately.
This level of transparency and professionalism will help boost productive communication while also ensuring the tenant has everything they need to contact you.
Do: Adopt an open-door policy.
Next, you’ll want to adopt an open-door policy with your tenants. This involves making it clear from the get-go that you’re readily available to talk to your tenants and answer any questions they may have.
The primary aim of this approach is to foster openness and transparency. Not only will it put your tenants at ease, but it’ll also help you to stay on top of things like maintenance and repair issues.
In a 2015 survey, 24% of landlords said that tenants keeping quiet about problems or damage was their biggest pet hate. But with an open-door policy in place, you can prevent this lack of communication from happening.
Whether it’s a request for a rent payment extension, a question about their tenancy agreement, or an issue with the facilities, tenants should always feel comfortable contacting you. It’ll save you a tonne of aggro!
Don’t: Take too long to respond.
We understand that being a landlord is no easy task—and when you’re juggling loads of responsibilities, it can be easy to let tenant requests slip down the priority list.
But if you take too long to respond or just go completely off the radar, this can damage the relationship between yourself and your tenant.
And when it’s an issue of maintenance or repairs, it’s even more crucial that you respond promptly.
In the same survey, 44% of tenants revealed their number one pet peeve was landlords not fixing repairs quickly enough. A further 40% said that landlords who are hard to contact or unresponsive were the biggest annoyance.
If this becomes a recurring pattern, then the tenant will most likely consider ending the tenancy—and if it’s on a rolling contract, it could quickly hurl you into a race against time to try and find another tenant.
On the flip side, if you respond promptly and schedule a date for repairs, it’s essential to give your tenant a warning in advance. After all, no one likes an unwelcome surprise!
Do: Use instant messaging.
While phone calls can be beneficial, such as tenants reporting emergency repairs, it’s widely considered a little outdated and impractical for most landlord-tenant interaction.
The main reason is that most communications should be in written form—especially if it involves agreeing to something, like a rent increase or a date for repairs.
So, you may think emails are your next best channel, and you’re right—emails are perfect for communications of a more formal nature, such as signing legal documents or consenting to arrangements.
But unlike email, instant messaging platforms such as Whatsapp or Slack tend to elicit much faster responses. This is perfect for last-minute changes to visits, answering any quick questions or booking a time for more formal communication.
Don’t: Be intrusive
Lastly, landlords shouldn’t be intrusive. There’s nothing wrong with being attentive, but there’s a fine line, and landlords should aim for the right balance.
Overstepping your boundary may include leaving a string of messages, calls or showing up unannounced. We understand that this can be a little tricky if you’ve had bad experiences in the past.
But bombarding the tenant screams that you just don’t trust them, and it can start to put them on edge. Equally, this can happen if you’re too friendly with your tenant—it’s a professional relationship, so treat it as such!
HomeHero’s operating system for the home, enables Property Managers and Landlords to diagnose resident communication with our AI assist, from reporting a leaky tap to answering FAQs on your behalf.
The automated chat function means less back and forth for you and your tenants, it’s a win win. From simple short-cut replies to conversations so real that you don’t know you are chatting to a bot – automated chat improves customer service and reduces your teams workload too. The best bit? HomeHero’s omnichannel chat enables you to reply from one place, using the residents communication method of choice. Making it much easier to juggle the 24/7, out-of-hours multi-channel expectations. Interested in hearing more, book a demo with our team.
So, there you have it; HomeHero’s do’s and don’ts of communicating with your tenants. And while no one size fits all, we hope this guide will help keep you on the right path.
Time for another? head to Property Insider for more helpful articles.