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Problems faced when communicating with your tenants

By Shannon Callanan

Communicating with your tenants is key to a successful tenancy as an investment property owner. However, there are some certain ways you should go about it. If you rent your property through an agency, there is really no need for you to have direct contact with your tenant. Your property manager takes on the responsibility, much like the middle person. We know communication between landlord and tenant is crucial, but why is it important that you don’t interact with them personally? It could set a precedence that could lead to a number of issues down the track and here is why:

RENTAL ARREARS
This is one of the factors that can easily sour a good landlord/tenant relationship. Sometimes, due to unavoidable circumstances, tenants fall behind in their rent. As sympathetic as you may be to their situation, it is important to remember that investment properties are a business. Having a good property manager mediate between you and your tenants means you don’t have to be emotionally invested in the conversation. plus, property mangers have procedures in place to recover the rent far more effectively than you can. The last thing you want is to have to play the ‘bad guy’, and your tenant thinking all you care about is the money.

PROPERTY MAINTENANCE
Communicating with your tenants is ill-advised for another good reason: property maintenance. You tenants may be very nice and you might even think there is no harm in giving them your private contact information; however, this could be a bad idea. When something requires attention on the property, are you really the first person you would like them to contact? Without a property manager to liaise with, you run the risk of your tenant calling you up every single time there is a minor issue, and this could mean interrupting your weekend, holiday or special occasion. To eliminate the potential intrusion in your life, your property manager should be the first point of contact and even make arrangements on your behalf with your consent.

ROUTINE INSPECTIONS
It is not a good idea to become ‘mates’ with your tenants for the simple fact that it is just plain awkward when it is time to do the inspections. If you find an issue during the inspection, it is a lot more difficult to address the problem with a tenant who may feel a little too relaxed about the relationship. This is seen all too common on landlords renting their homes to family and friends. It is best to remain unattached, that way you never have to become personally involved in any of the ‘dirty work’.

LEASE AGREEMENT CONDITIONS
Communicating with your tenants can blur the line between business and friendship, and as such, compromises your professionalism. By you staying anonymous, your property manager is in a much better position to negotiate any particular terms of the agreement, meaning your less susceptible to being taken advantage of. It is harder to say no to someone you are on first name basis with than it is with a complete stranger. Negotiating through a property manager means you can stick to your guns more easily, without the worry of causing offence.

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