Being a rental property is 90% customer service and 10% risk analysis. When you agree to lease your rental to a tenant you are agreeing to provide them with a very important service—a home. And as landlords, you all know the work and maintenance home-ownership requires. You also know how to prioritize the care of a property. But your tenant might not.
So when your tenant has a leaky faucet, a few missing roof tiles, or a water heater on the fritz they might see an emergency where you see a little repair. Conversely, a crack in wall, or loose floor tile might be indicative of a large scale foundation problem where your tenant only sees an ascetic blemish.
Communicating repair expectations is key to avoiding panic. When discussing rental care and property maintenance with your tenant here are a few expectations to cover:
1. Inform the tenant of your preferred contact method—email, phone, mail
2. Ask the tenant to notify you immediately if there is an emergency
3. Give them a form they can fill out and send you so you know the details of the requested repair
4. Let them know when they can expect a response—remember the time it takes for you to respond and fix something should be reasonable
5. Be sure to let them know what your maintenance priorities are
6. Let them know when the repair will be made and who will be arriving to fix the problem
7. Discuss who is responsible for lawn and pool care
8. Tell them all repairs, even minors ones, need to be done by you or get your stamp of approval
9. Inform them of your damage policy and ensure they know they will be held liable for any mistreatment of property (list this in the rental agreement and make them initial the clause to ensure knowledge)
10. Schedule regular visits with the tenant and be available even when there isn’t a problem and perform a thorough walk-thru of the property before and after the tenant moves
Communicating effectively with your tenant is the best way to maintain a healthy and productive landlord/tenant relationship. Even if it means having a few hard talks!
As always, happy tenants equal happy landlords.
Happy renting!