Building Community: Strategies for Developing Tenant Relationships

Building Community: Strategies for Developing Tenant Relationships

Tenant relationships can be tricky. 

You want to establish a good relationship with your residents because you know that good relationships lead to on-time rental payments, an awareness of property maintenance and needs, and a good chance that the lease will be renewed, reducing your turnover and vacancy costs. 

But you’re also in a position where you’ll have to hold your tenants accountable. You don’t want to be too friendly with your renters, otherwise it might be more difficult to enforce the lease or charge a late fee when rent rolls in weeks late. 

When you think about tenant relationships, think about an individual’s need for community. 

Tenants are not simply renting a property from you; they’re creating a home. Make this easier for them by providing resources, support, and a sense that they’re part of a community and not just a means to a rent check.

We have some ideas on how to do that, thanks to our experience as Richmond property managers. Here’s what we recommend when it comes to tenant relationship strategies. 

Communication. Obviously.

The importance of good communication is not unique to the landlord/tenant relationship. Virtually every relationship requires responsive communication and both availability and accessibility. You have to make sure your tenants can get in touch with you, especially if there’s an emergency. You have to encourage them to answer your calls and emails or your texts. 

Get to know how they’re most comfortable communicating. Some tenants will really hate the phone. Others will want to send and receive long, detailed emails. Be willing to communicate in a way that makes your tenants feel comfortable and heard. 

Remember that listening is a huge part of communication. When they come to you with a problem or a question or a request, be willing to listen and listen actively. Ask follow-up questions. Make sure you’re getting all of the necessary information before you make a decision or provide an answer. 

Effective communication is the foundation of any strong relationship, so be transparent, responsive, and approachable. This involves setting clear expectations from the start and being available to address concerns swiftly. You can improve communication right away by providing tenants with multiple channels to reach you, and by scheduling the occasional check-ins to receive feedback and address any issues before they escalate.

Simplify Your Move-In Process 

Start improving your tenant relationships and creating a strong sense of supportive community by simplifying your move-in process. Moving is not always fun. In fact, just finding a place that’s affordable and attractive can be stressful for a lot of Richmond tenants. There’s the packing and the processing and the physical moving of things and furniture from one home to a new home. Whether they’re hiring movers or recruiting friends, a move is often chaotic. There are a lot of details to manage and it’s overwhelming for a lot of tenants. 

Even if your new residents are excited about your property, they’re still stuck in the process of moving.

You can help eliminate some of that stress for your residents by providing a move-in process that’s transparent, easy, and effortless. This will create a great foundation for a positive relationship moving forward. It will make them feel like they’re making a good decision by renting from you.

Provide them with as much information ahead of time as possible. 

  • Discuss the lease agreement in detail, and answer all their questions. 

  • Make sure they are prepared for their responsibilities and understanding your expectations.

  • Give new tenants a brief introduction and orientation to the home and the neighborhood. Show them how to turn the appliances on and where they can find the thermostat and which day trash is collected.  

Your residents need to know how they should pay rent and what they’re responsible for in terms of maintenance and landscaping. All that information should be in the lease, but if you talk about it, you can reinforce those things and demonstrate your willingness to communicate. 

Maintain and Respect Your Richmond Tenant’s Privacy

We just talked about the importance of communication. 

And, while it's important to be attentive, respecting tenant privacy is also a huge factor in developing and maintaining good tenant relationships. A respect for your resident’s privacy fosters trust. Always provide ample notice before entering a tenant’s space, and limit check-ins to reasonable hours unless it's an emergency.

If they’re not interested in what you’re offering, whether it’s a coffee date to check-in or an invitation to a neighborhood block party, respect their decision and don’t be pushy.

Offer Personalized Experiences that Enhance Community

Making tenants feel valued can create a stronger loyalty to your property. When they feel like they’re part of a larger community, they’ll feel safer, more content, and more supported. Small gestures and personalized experiences go a long way. You might want to leave a welcome basket when your tenants move in. This might include small household items like a coffee mug, a magnet for the refrigerator, or some dish towels for the kitchen. 

You can acknowledge birthdays or significant milestones. Celebrate holidays with community events or tokens of appreciation. If you’re renting out a building with three or four rental units, for example, you might consider having a coffee hour every month so tenants can get to know each other and feel connected. 

Maintain the Property Well for Optimal Tenant Relationships

It will be very difficult to salvage your tenant relationship if you’re ignoring basic maintenance requests. 

Be responsive when it comes to repairing your home, not only because it keeps your tenants satisfied, but also because it’s good for your property. A well-maintained property shows tenants that you care about their quality of life and the community they call home.

Focus on preventative and routine repairs so that there are fewer emergencies. Property owners don’t love dealing with emergencies because they’re expensive. Tenants are also disrupted and the entire experience is frustrating for everyone. So, limit the risk of emergency problems by scheduling routine inspections and having major systems like the HVAC and the plumbing serviced annually. 

Work with your tenants to maintain your home, not against them. Make sure you’re clear about what you expect from them, whether it’s air filter changes or keeping up with the outdoor space. 

Avoiding deferred and unreported repairs is also important in the maintenance of your property and your good tenant relations. You want to be sure that your tenants understand the importance of making maintenance requests as soon as they notice that something is wrong. You don’t want them to avoid making those repair requests. 

Upgrades and updates are important to good tenant relationships as well. When it’s time to discuss lease renewals, your tenants may ask for a new appliance or a fresh coat of paint in a bedroom. Be willing to consider these requests. It could mean the difference between keeping a tenant and having to invest in expensive turnovers. 

Tech-Driven Tenant Relationships in Richmond

Online PaymentAre you providing convenience to your tenants? 

You should be, and this is often achieved through an investment in good tech. Technology is a big part of everything we do these days, and you’ll find that tenants will expect a tech-driven rental experience. 

  • They’ll want to pay rent online. 

  • They’ll want to submit maintenance requests online

  • They’ll want to be able to access lease documents and other information electronically. 

Online rental payments are the preferred method of payment for most tenants today. They will be thrilled not to have to drop off or mail a check. They’ll also appreciate the ease of scheduling payments in advance or on a recurring schedule on the first of every month. Depending on the payment platform you’re using, they’ll likely be able to store bank account or card information, making the entire process easy and convenient. 

Talk to them about how to pay rent and when it’s due and ways they can pay. 

Make those maintenance requests equally as stress-free. For emergencies, you’ll likely want a phone call so you can be sure you’re notified right away. Routine requests, however, can probably be sent via email or some other online platform. Not only does this give your tenants more flexibility and ease, it also provides you with the documentation you may need to track when repairs were requested and made.

Building and maintaining strong tenant relationships is going to take time, but we strongly suggest that you start right away. During the marketing and showing process, you have an opportunity to show them what it will be like to rent from you. Be accommodating and resourceful. 

Tenants are looking for ease, convenience, and a personalized touch. By applying these strategies, you can create a thriving rental community that benefits everyone involved. Tenants will enjoy a better living experience, and property owners will see a positive impact on their investment.

If you’re struggling to connect in the right way with your tenants, we can provide some help and support. We can also manage the entire tenant relationship for you, when you leverage our Richmond property management services. Contact us at PMI Presidential.