Why Landlords Should Maintain a Professional Relationship with Tenants
A sales director of our acquaintance reported some time ago that he had advised a colleague, the sales director in a different division, that he was making a mistake by becoming too friendly with his salespeople. “It’s in the nature of things that you’re going to need to let at least one of them go at some time, and you will find that a lot more difficult if you are too close.” The colleague ignored him for three years, but later acknowledged that the advice had been good, when trouble blew up with one of the salespeople and the director found it difficult to take the hard line he knew was necessary.
This also applies to landlords and tenants. Of course, you will want a good relationship with your tenants. A professional relationship. Letting that relationship move from the professional level to one of friendship can lead to difficulties. This is not about being unfriendly. It’s about remembering that the landlord/tenant relationship is, first and foremost, a business matter.
Communication is a vital part of any professional relationship. You know what you want, the tenants know what they want, but have you exchanged that information with each other? Are there no misunderstandings? Have you made sure that any differences of opinion have been brought into the open and dealt with?
From time to time, there may be difficulties. It’s possible that the tenant will want you to do things that you don’t believe are reasonable. We are not talking necessarily about big things – every tenancy is likely to throw up small areas of disagreement. The tenant wants a new bathroom, and you’ve agreed that this is overdue, but the tenant wants to take charge of selecting the new fittings and is asking you to buy things that are simply outside what you consider a reasonable budget. A survey says that the rent you are charging is 10% below the market level for that kind of accommodation in that area. You want to recoup that 10% with a 5% increase this year and the same again next year, but the tenant will not look kindly on an increase.
These are the kind of discussions landlords and tenants have with each other from time to time, and they need to be carried out with courtesy on both sides. This you will find easier if you have maintained a professional relationship with the tenant. You have to continue to deal courteously, even when courtesy is noticeably lacking on the tenant’s side.
Documentation can help you avoid arguments, and it can also be a good way to demonstrate professionalism. You have a tenancy agreement, but do you also have a written policy document that says exactly what your intentions are in relation to every aspect of a tenancy? If not, perhaps you should have. It’s a lot easier to defuse a potential row over, for example, how frequently the property is to be redecorated if you can point to the relevant section in a document that was given to the tenant at the time the tenancy began.
If you’d like assistance in managing your landlord/tenant relationships, get in touch with us. That’s what we do.
We don’t believe any of the tenants in properties we manage would complain they are dealt with unfairly. Nor do we believe any of the landlords for whom we manage properties would feel their interests are not being looked after. That’s what we call professionalism.