Effective communication is the foundation of any successful rental business.
As a landlord, you’re responsible for communicating with tenants, employees, vendors, maintenance contractors, and many others. Strong communication skills are required for all of these relationships.
Much of your daily tenant communication occurs in a digital environment. Alongside phone calls and texts, you’ll also need to learn to navigate a resident portal or chat feature on property management software.
But excellent communication is more than just being savvy with technology. You must also be mindful of tenant expectations, honest about policies, and willing to accept constructive criticism.
Here are six tips for communicating with your tenants and how to implement them in your rental business.
Managing a rental business in the twenty-first century means communicating over text, email, or chat. These digital communication methods are convenient and fast but not always the best for delivering a detailed message.
Whenever you communicate via a digital channel, you must realize how your message may be interpreted. Be abundantly clear what you mean. Misunderstandings are common over text and lead to frustration for both parties.
This may mean taking the time to write out complete sentences and adding links or references where necessary. The small amount of extra time and effort is well worth avoiding the risk of miscommunicating or upsetting tenants.
Don’t Give Out Personal Contact Information
Some landlords think that by making themselves personally available to tenants, they provide the most direct access and service.
It may be tempting to allow tenants to text or call your personal phone, especially if you have a day job or frequently travel out of the office. However, be cautious about giving out your personal information. You may have good intentions, but it’s much harder to set boundaries between private and work time when tenants can reach you 24/7.
Instead, use the chat feature on your property management software. Many platforms allow you to post announcements to your entire resident community and send individual messages to tenants with specific questions or instructions.
The chat feature centralizes all your tenant conversations, creating organized communication and preventing messages from getting lost. It also gives tenants consistency, as they’ll always know how to contact you.
Respond Appropriately to Reviews Online
If you’ve ever received a negative review about your properties, you know how upsetting it can be. However, don’t let your emotions cloud your judgment when it comes to responding to negative feedback online.
If a tenant leaves a complaint on an online review site, respond to the post immediately. Thank them for giving feedback, apologize for the tenant’s bad experience, and indicate any next steps or action you intend to take.
A polite, mature response to criticism can save your reputation even if the review is rude or disrespectful.
No one likes to be misled about something as important as housing. Respect your tenants by being as transparent as possible when you communicate.
This means providing facts and details to prospects up-front, being honest about any rent changes, and encouraging tenants to be transparent with you. Tenants who notice your honesty are more likely to come to you with questions, concerns, or problems with their units that could save you time or money down the line.
Collect Resident Feedback
The best communicators are the best listeners. As a landlord, the best feedback you can receive about your rental business comes from your tenants.
Make resident response surveys a regular part of the year. Aim to write specific questions instead of only asking for general feedback. This way, your tenants have a chance to vent about problems that may have otherwise remained unmentioned while you gain valuable insight for improving your properties and tenant experience.
Use Property Management Software
There’s a good chance you communicate with tenants more frequently online than you do in person. You need user-friendly tools and a familiar interface that tenants can learn and rely on should they need to reach you.
Property management software is this tool. On their resident portal, your tenants can message you about repairs via the maintenance portal, discuss billing on the digital payment portal, and ask general leasing questions on the chat feature.
There’s no better tool for digital communication in real estate than property management software.
Building Communication Skills for Rental Management
How you interact with your tenants reflects the principles and practices of your rental business. Do you care about your tenants’ perspectives? Do you consider their feedback and accept their criticism? By following these six tips, you can build a skillset for effective communication and reveal your values as a rental business.