Building rapport and mutual understanding is a priority for New Orleans property managers.
As a landlord or property manager, you want your tenants to be happy, and you want to avoid unpleasantness — including unpleasant things like damage to your property and legal complications.
A mutually trusting relationship with a tenant may take a while to develop. The only way to do it is through clear, open, honest communication from the very start.
Let your tenants know that you’re eager to answer their questions and to address any concerns, and that you will do your best to respond promptly. Because different people prefer different forms of communication, give your tenants more than one way to contact you: phone, regular mail, email, text. Don’t provide an option for a mode of communication that, for whatever reason, doesn’t suit you. But your tenants should have at least your phone number and your email address. If one method of contact in particular, like a phone call, is preferable in case of an emergency, make that clear. Some property managers also use software portals to help streamline communication.
Be a good listener.
To communicate well, listen well. Listen actively. By making sure that you understand what the other guy is saying, you reduce the need for follow-ups and help prevent the kind of tension that can arise from miscommunication. Periodically summarizing what you have just heard is one good way of avoiding confusion and showing that you are being attentive. Ask questions about anything that is unclear. Especially when a tenant is frustrated about a matter, give him a chance to fully express his view, even if you think that he is missing something relevant or not being entirely reasonable.
Prevent misunderstanding by setting clear ground rules. Each party should know exactly where he stands with respect to various obligations. Keep your promises and acknowledge setbacks. Don’t over-promise. Too-optimistic projections about, for example, when a non-emergency repair can be done may end up vexing a tenant who would have accepted a more realistic schedule.
On the other hand, if you require your tenants to do something, like maintain the property a certain way, you are justified in expecting them to fulfill their part of the bargain as well. Just make sure that what they need to do is clear. It’s often a good idea to provide a separate brief list of the main obligations of the tenancy, a brief summary that omits all the boilerplate that is necessary to make a rental agreement fully precise.
Be prompt and transparent.
Some minor repairs can be handled by your tenants. And not all problems require immediate attention. But you need to be able to move fast when an emergency arises requiring that a repair be performed immediately. No matter how harried you may be at a particular moment, don’t ever make tenants feel as if reporting a problem to you may be more trouble than letting it slide. If tenants begin to feel that you don’t want to hear about the problems, they may defer reporting them to you. Or never get around to reporting them at all. Then you face the likelihood of resentful tenants and serious damage to your property. You want to know right away about things like mold, flooding, a rotting floor board, or a renegade toilet so that you can deal with the problem as soon as possible.
Check in with your tenants every once in a while.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Promise to stay in touch. Then stay in touch: informally, with a phone call and other casual encounters; formally, with a semi-annual property inspection for which the tenant receives plenty of notice. If you can prevent a maintenance problem by keeping an eye on things, it’s good for you and it’s good for your tenants. You protect your investment, and your tenants feel that they’re in good hands.
Hire a New Orleans property management company.
Being a landlord is not for everyone. Managing a property effectively takes a lot of time and effort. If you’re not in a position to devote that kind of time and effort, let a professional New Orleans property management company with an established track record like Satsuma Property Management do it. You remain the investor, and we handle the day-to-day operations. Whether you have one property or many, we will save you time and money.
If you’re a property owner looking for help sourcing, screening, and retaining tenants, contact us or call (504) 621-5400 to learn more about how we can take the stress out of owning rental property in New Orleans.