One of the challenges of being a landlord during a significant economic downturn is staying in touch with your tenants. There are many reasons why tenants might be hard to track down: if they worry they aren't going to be able to pay rent, it is understandable that they might avoid your calls. Still, as your guide to Winter Garden property management, we know that communication is essential to staying successful during any crisis.
This is one of those moments when your long-term communication strategy with your tenants can pay off in a big way. We recommend staying in clear contact with your tenants in the good times and the bad times since it will make your overall picture of how your tenants are doing much more apparent.
Get Good Contact Information Early On
It's normal for a tenant to move through initial paperwork rapidly, possibly not giving you a clear email address or phone number or not letting you know how often they check each one. A valuable addition to your early interactions is a thorough contact form, asking them the best ways to contact them, whether they accept text messages, and how often they check the email they provide.
These pieces of information can give you a variety of ways to get in touch with a tenant. While you'd hope that you wouldn't need to use a lot of forms of communication, if you and this tenant eventually end up in a dispute, having contact information may be very helpful down the road.
You never know what you might need to ask a tenant—or what they may need to ask you. Making communication easy in both directions ultimately helps you do your work as a landlord better. You can hear about important news from them faster, whether its the unfortunate need to move out early to urgent repair issues with the property. Many tenant disputes and disappointments are rooted in misunderstanding, so facilitate a clear path to discussion each time you contact your renters to avoid disasters.
Of course, if conversation isn't your forte, you can always rely on the experts in Winter Garden property management to successfully field all forms of contact with your renters for you!
The Benefits of Email With Tenants
While other forms of communication might be needed, email is a valuable method of communication with tenants. You can email all your tenants at once without having to make individual phone calls. You can share announcements and clarify policies if someone brings up a gray area.
This form of communication is rapid, painless, and doesn't usually require a response, though it's easy to ask for a quick answer at the end of an email if needed. We recommend starting and maintaining a reasonably regular email correspondence with your tenants from the beginning, so they know to expect contact from you.
Normalize Contact Throughout a Lease
Part of why a monthly or bi-monthly email messaging might be a wise choice is that if tenants are accustomed to hearing from you in good times and responding, they may be more likely to respond during the lean years. If your tenants encounter a crisis because of job loss or hours being cut, the last thing they want is to jeopardize their living situation.
If they've been getting emails from you all along and receive a warm, concerned email from you that asks how they're doing, you are more likely to get a response than if your only emails come during scary or uncertain times. This is also true for other media, like social media groups, texts, or phone calls. By normalizing contact, your tenants learn to trust that they can respond without as much fear.
Property Managers Help Clear the Communication Lines
A good relationship with tenants can provide a lot of benefits, such as faster knowledge about maintenance issues to a clear path forward when payment is delayed. However, you may find communicating with tenants to be stressful or more time-consuming than you like.
A Winter Garden property management professional spends lots of time communicating with tenants and can easily help you by setting up a plan for how they will communicate with your tenants. You can discuss ahead of time what kinds of announcements you want to go out each year and when. Your property management partner handles the rest!
When tough times do arise, you'll be glad that your tenants have grown to trust Verandah Properties, the leader in Winter Garden rental care. We work to start a positive rapport with your tenants, from their first inquiry through the application and screening process, and throughout their stay in your property. We recognize that the tone and attitude of a message are almost as important as the substance—but we also make sure the substance of our messages to tenants is clear so that they have the resources and information they need.
During a crisis, when tenants seem to 'go dark,' your efforts at communication will not be in vain because you'll have developed relationships with them through consistent contact. This will make it even easier for you to provide payment plans and collect rent.
You can streamline your approach by considering the insights we offer in our free resource, the Collecting Rent in a Crisis Handbook!