Both landlords and tenants have been hit hard by the effects of the pandemic. Though we’re slowly catching glimpses of what a return to normalcy will look like, the situation at this point still seems shaky. Some tenants will still struggle to right their situation.
There are many ways to extend a hand to struggling tenants. Put the tips below into practice to show your tenants that your care for their well-being extends past their ability to afford rent.
- GOOD LANDLORDS stay up to date
- GOOD LANDLORDS keep their lines open
- GOOD LANDLORDS anticipate issues
- GOOD LANDLORDS follow words with actions
- GOOD LANDLORDS hold on to good tenants
Follow any news and developments in your local area revolving around health protocols and tenant laws. Share these developments with your tenants and verify that they are accurate and originate from credible and vetted sources.
Informing your tenants about these changes directly helps them filter out irrelevant information. It also establishes you as a reliable source of information, which improves their confidence in you.
While necessary, shelter-in-place orders have made the pandemic an isolating experience to live through. Let your tenants know that you’re available for concerns. Take special care to reach out to tenants who have gone through major changes because of the pandemic – especially if these changes may influence their stay on your property.
As you provide opportunities for discussion, set expectations around your response. Give your tenants clear guidance on when they can expect you to get back to them about their concerns. If you need to take extra steps or consult a third party, say so and keep them updated on the progress of their issue.
Should you have plans to change previous policies, be transparent about the process and give your tenants enough time and leeway to adjust to the proposed changes.
This ability will be useful for landlords even after the pandemic wanes. Developing your ability to predict and prevent impending issues will help you keep minor problems small.
Ordering regular maintenance helps develop this skill. It not only hones your clue-hunting skill, but also saves you the cost (and your tenants the inconvenience) of a major repair. Once you’ve decided on a maintenance schedule, notify your tenants well in advance. This allows them to prepare and take measures to stay safe and minimize their contact.
Regularly enforce any health and safety guidelines that you’ve announced. Remind tenants patiently that the guidelines are meant to make the property a safe space for them. Some tenants may still not comply. Talk to them personally and let them know politely which specific consequences will follow for repeated violations. Depending on what’s allowable by law (including Fair Housing), this might come as a written warning or a fine.
For more general concerns, it’s good practice to act on announcements that you have already made. Stick to proposed timelines and immediately notify your tenants of any changes that have to be made. This becomes more important if there’s maintenance to be done that will disrupt your tenants’ routine for an extended amount of time.
Good tenants increase your rental property’s value by making it a positive and attractive environment to live in. Retaining your good tenants also allows you to focus on other aspects of managing your property, like managing the books. And you don’t have to worry about constant complaints from other tenants or following up on late payments.
If your good tenants are struggling, offer them options and recognize where you can compromise to keep them. This can mean giving them different options for settling payments, such as accepting advanced payments or allowing delayed ones.
Even if you do everything right, good tenants might still choose to move out. In this scenario, their decision might have been reached for personal and financial reasons. To facilitate the process of leaving, make the terms for ending the lease agreement clear and simplify the process as much as you can. Provide a plan or timetable that leaving tenants can refer to at any time. It should contain what to expect and when. With that in place, you can also gauge how much time you need to find a new tenant for the property.
Need more tips for new landlords? Contact Sundance Property Management today. We advise landlords in Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina on which strategies they can take to maximize property value and rental income.