When being nice backfires and when it helps to build a great relationship
The landlord-tenant relationship is a tricky business to manage. On the one hand, you (the landlord) may feel under pressure to give your tenant what they want, so that they are happy and therefore cooperative. On the other hand, you are running a business, and unnecessary overheads must be avoided.
In theory, your relationship should be simple. You and your tenant have a business relationship, and there are terms to be adhered to. As your agent, our job is to ensure that the terms of the AST are upheld. Simply put, if a tenant requests a new wheelie bin, our job is to turn around and to explain that this is not the landlord's responsibility.
Unfortunately, tenants may have expectations bourne from any number of factors, be it a previous landlord granting a particular request, or a tenant being told by misinformed friends that “their landlord should really be doing it themselves”, or from a previously badly managed landlord-tenant relationship with the roles being unclearly defined.
So, to answer the question, your agent must be nice, so that your tenant feels comfortable and safe. But, your agent must also be firm, to ensure that your investment is optimally managed.
A good property manager should be a great communicator, able to keep your tenant happy that they are receiving what is contractually their right, whilst keeping a firm line to ensure that they don’t feel entitled to anything that is not the landlord’s responsibility.
Make no mistake; it is crucial that your tenant feels that they are treated well. Tenants who are cared for and respected are more likely to understand a firm decision, even if they want a different outcome. Happy tenants are more likely to care for your property, to stay longer, and to pay their rent on time. Come rent review time, happy tenants are far more likely to be cooperative.
Furthermore, applicants searching for a home to rent are increasingly heading to review sites like AllAgents to see whether the agency renting out a property is legitimate, and well liked by other tenants. Neglecting communication with tenants can seriously affect how quickly your property is let.
In summary, try to make sure that your agents are nice to your tenants, but that they are looking out for your interests without compromise.
How we “are nice” at Rent North East:
- Tenants are kept in the loop and updated in regards to maintenance issues.
- Tenants are asked to rate contractors on completion of works to help us weed out any contractors who do not provide a great service.
- We love chatting to our lovely tenants, and they in turn know that they are always welcome for a coffee at our office.
- The coffee cup at the top of this post? We gave those out to tenants a while back. They say “number 1 tenant” on them. Just a little something to help keep a great relationship with our tenants...
- We proactively seek feedback from tenants so that any issues can be addressed as quickly as possible.
Crucially, all of the above do not relate to the terms of the contract between you and your tenant, for which we would always take a firm line.