If you plan on managing a rental property (or more than one), you should know that your reputation matters. How you’re perceived, both by your current tenants and your prospective ones, could impact your stream of revenue and how you’re able to grow your business in the future.
Fortunately, there are a handful of techniques you can use to boost your reputation and maximize your potential income.
Why Reputation Matters
It may seem like the landlord business is purely mathematical; you simply need to offer the right property at the right rental price. However, your reputation as a property manager or online letting agent can impact your business in a few different ways:
For landlords, tenant turnover is the single greatest threat to your livelihood. If your tenants leave prematurely, or in cycles that are too short, your rental income will plummet. Maintaining a good reputation will keep your tenants around for longer, so your income stream is stronger and more consistent.
Referrals and recommendations
Having a good reputation also means your current tenants, neighbors, and associates will be more likely to refer prospective tenants to you and your properties. You’ll fill your vacancies faster, and keep that revenue stream strong.
A good reputation can also make it easier to work with other landlords and other neighbors in your neighborhood. You can collaborate to solve mutual problems, and resolve disputes faster and more amicably.
These are especially important to consider because landlords are often portrayed in a negative light, and your tenants may have had bad experiences with previous landlords.
So what can you do to improve your PR as a landlord?
Strike up a personal relationship with your tenants
You don’t need to be friends with your tenants, but you should have a harmonious relationship with them. Try to meet your tenants face-to-face before they move in, and have a personal conversation with them. If and when there’s a problem, talk to them about it rather than sending a cold, typed notice, and be open to hearing their comments, questions, and concerns. Your tenants should feel comfortable with you, and be glad to have you as a landlord. Alternatively, you can always have property management companies in Houston TX handle the relationship for you.
As much as possible, offer flexibility for your current tenants. If they’re struggling financially, consider giving them an extension on their next month’s rent, or offer a temporary discount. You may also offer some flexibility with the rules for well-behaved tenants, such as allowing certain pets.
Reward your loyal tenants
The longer a tenant stays with you, the more valuable they’re going to become to your business. It’s, therefore, in your best interest to reward your best-behaved and longest-lasting tenants; consider extending a discount on rent, or sending a gift basket around the holidays.
Be active in the community
The colder and more distant you are, the worse your reputation as a landlord is going to be. It’s better to get active in the community, however and whenever you can. For example, you can spend time tending your property’s lawn and garden, or attend neighborhood meetings to stay on top of the latest changes. Even walking around and talking to the neighbors can be beneficial for your long-term reputation.
Resolve disputes proactively and quickly
Even the best landlord will have to handle an occasional dispute or complaint from a tenant. For example, you may have a noise complaint from one tenant about another tenant, or there may be a repair that needs to be made as soon as possible. It’s in your best interest to address these concerns as quickly and resolutely as you can; not only will it keep your tenants happy, it will also prove that you truly care about your property. Tenants notice these kinds of things.
Engage with neighbors
Finally, consider engaging with your neighbors, including tenants of other buildings, homeowners, and landlords in your area. Joining a neighborhood group on social media can be a valuable way to forge and maintain these connections. The friendlier you are, the more likely people will be to refer tenants to your vacant properties when they open up—and the more welcoming your neighborhood will seem, overall.
If you use these strategies, you should be able to maintain good relationships with all your tenants, and fill all those vacancies faster. It takes time and effort to remain in good standing, especially if you’re managing multiple properties, but it’s worth the investment.