Do your tenants call you at all hours complaining about loud neighbors or the garbage pick-up day not working for them? Do you find yourself muttering about what isn’t working with your tenants? Are you chattering to yourself about how hard being a landlord is, and only if you had more time and fewer headaches with tenants?
Many landlords find themselves overwhelmed, tired, and dissatisfied with the part of their job that deals with tenants. Is it possible that you haven’t set important boundaries with your tenants? Maybe they expect too much from you because you can’t say “no” to their requests. Keep reading to learn healthy ways to set boundaries and expectations with your tenants, so you have more time and less dissatisfaction with your job as a landlord.
What Are Professional Boundaries?
Setting boundaries is essential in any relationship because it helps manage expectations. In the property management business, providing the boundaries within the landlord-tenant relationship can help maintain a healthy relationship suitable for both parties.
Landlord-Tenant boundaries prevent lines from being blurred between the landlord and their tenant and support healthy long-term relationships. Long-term relationships provide peace of mind for the tenant and more efficient and effective business practices for the landlord, which lead to more consistent cash flow and profitability.
Why Do Professional Boundaries Matter?
Without professional boundaries, relationships become fraught with distrust and anger. By setting clear landlord-tenant boundaries, a landlord helps maintain positive social dynamics with their tenants and excellent productivity. The limits set guidelines for everyone’s behavior.
Creating and Setting Boundaries
Be clear about your boundaries and write them down. Here are some examples of what they could include:
- The times you’re available to address their concerns and within how much time they will hear back from you
- An emergency number for any communication after hours
- What repairs you will and won’t handle as the landlord
- The best way to communicate with you is when rent is due, including late fees and past-due notices, i.e., email, text, portal, etc.
*NOTE—Consider writing a Tenant Handbook with all necessary information.
Good Communication—Tell Tenants When You’re Available
Most importantly, your tenants must understand that you care about their concerns and that you will take care of them. In your lease agreement, add the components that address how they can reach you via phone, text, email, or portal. Specify by when you will get back to them if they have to leave a message.
Emergency Contact Information
If you aren’t available 24/7/365, you must give your tenants an “off hours” phone number to call where they get directions on what to do if there is an emergency, or they can leave a message until you can return their call during business hours.
Make sure your tenants understand business hours, so if they try to reach you after them, there is no surprise, and they naturally leave a message.
It is essential that you return your tenants’ calls within the time frame you promised. Keeping your promise must be imperative for you and your team. Therefore, we recommend making your call-backs the first order of business the next time you’re in the office.
Be Clear About the Repairs You Will and Won’t Do
There’s no doubt that you want to keep your property in good shape as a way to keep high-quality tenants and avoid high turnover rates. You must be careful to set expectations with your tenants, so they understand what you will and won’t do regarding repairs.
Without expectations set, there could be hurt feelings, anger, and unrenewed leases.
You are responsible for repairing your property if it becomes uninhabitable or hazardous to your tenants’ safety. Specify very clearly in the lease agreement when tenants are responsible for repairs and what is the landlord’s responsibility.
Handling Tenant-Tenant Conflict
Avoid getting involved in a tenant-tenant conflict. Keep in mind, one way to stay uninvolved is to be careful about becoming friends with your tenants. If you cross the line into friendship, you can expect uncomfortable situations.
If you must get involved, ensure that guidelines for tenant-tenant behavior are spelled out in your lease agreement. Using the guidelines specified in the lease agreement, you get to remain neutral and hold both parties to the behavior specified in the lease they signed.
Make Sure the Rent Payment Procedure is Clear
One of the best landlord-tenant boundaries you can set is how you accept rent payments. This will keep you from chasing checks and getting the run around when they claim it is in the mail.
The most convenient way to accept rent payments is via a rent portal using a rent app such as PayRent. Tenants are invoiced monthly and late fees can be automatically added. With PayRent, your tenants can make their payments through a portal, which can protect your business from late and lost rent.
You can sign up for free, add your property, and invite your renters to use the app. By adding a rent payment method such as PayRent to your lease, you can avoid unnecessary headaches.
A Final Thought
Landlord-Tenant boundaries are a necessity. Without setting boundaries for your tenants, in their lease agreement, and a handbook, you are setting yourself up for uncomfortable situations. These uncomfortable situations are a headache for you, an annoyance for your tenants, and utterly avoidable with proper expectations set upfront.
You can make a big difference in the quality of your life by setting boundaries. As a reminder:
- Tell tenants when you’re available
- Give tenants an emergency number to call after hours
- Be clear about what repairs you will and won’t do
- Avoid getting in the middle of tenant-tenant conflicts
- Make sure rent payment procedures and rules are clear