Being a landlord is easiest when tenants trust you. The more trust you build with your tenants, the more cooperative they’ll be. For instance, they’ll report broken appliances promptly and pay their rent on time. When you’re not spending all your time and energy chasing down late rent or fixing festering problems, you’re freed up to be the easy-going landlord every tenant wants.
Earning trust from tenants won’t come easy, so here are 5 simple ways to earn and keep their trust.
1. Provide plenty of perks
Perks tell tenants you care about them and want to make their life easier. Some tenants are used to landlords who only care about money. When you cover electricity, landscaping, and parking for your tenants, you make them feel appreciated and valued. Tenants who feel valued by their landlord extend more trust. Providing these kinds of perks can win a tenant over no matter how many bad experiences they’ve had.
Take note that following through with certain perks might be required by law. For instance, beginning in 2020, Houston landlords who choose to provide parking permits for tenants are required to ensure a tenant’s parking permit remains valid throughout their entire lease.
Even if it’s not required in your city, don’t leave your tenants hanging. If you’re going to provide parking, make sure you stay on top of permit renewal dates.
2. Keep tenant data secure
Your tenants will find it hard to trust you if their data is compromised from a preventable data breach. Make sure you safeguard tenant information like credit histories, social security numbers, and previous addresses.
If personal information is collected online, keep the data encrypted at rest and in transit. If the information is stored online, make sure it’s stored encrypted and that only authorized personnel have access to the database. If you store paper applications in a filing cabinet, keep the cabinet locked at all times.
3. Don’t rent a house that isn’t habitable
This should go without saying, but it needs to be said. Don’t rent a house that isn’t habitable. Don’t be the kind of landlord that rents a house that needs to be vacated before it collapses. Make sure your rental properties are in top shape before accepting any applications.
It might sound far-fetched, but one family in Memphis noticed their house literally crumbling and collapsing around them. First cracks and gaps appeared in the walls, then the floors started shifting and sinking in. On one occasion, a chunk of wood filled with nails fell from a door frame and nearly hit one of their kids in the head. The landlord reportedly said the problems weren’t easy to fix and told the family to move. The tenant crawled under the house and found the floor joints were no longer attached to their foundation.
While all of the details surrounding the situation are unclear, the house clearly should never have been rented under any circumstances.
4. Follow through with your promises
Each time you follow through with a promise you’ll earn trust points with a tenant. Many tenants are used to landlords giving them lip service so following through with even the smallest promise will make you a hero. For instance, if a tenant needs you to put a closet door back on the track, don’t make them wait a week. Pop over at your earliest convenience and just get it done.
If you can’t follow through with a promise, then communicate to let your tenant know you need to reschedule. Never leave a tenant hanging without recommitting to a new appointment time.
5. Don’t bend the rules
Don’t bend the rules you’ve set forth in your lease agreement. By not bending the rules, you show your tenants you are reliable. Not bending the rules is just like following through with your promises. It demonstrates you have a strong relationship with your word and gives tenants the impression that you are trustworthy.
There might be times when you’ll need to make an exception to the rules to resolve a problem. For instance, if a tenant changes jobs you might need to switch the date the rent is due. In that situation, don’t just make an exception. Communicate clearly with your tenant that you’re making an exception and explain your reasons. Make sure they understand that it’s an exception that should not become a regular expectation.
Tenants want to trust you
Tenants want to trust their landlord; they want easy lives, too. By giving tenants a reason to trust you, you make your job – and their lives – easier.