Posted by: phillipsre | September 30, 2011

Communication is the key!

The following is an article that Phillips submitted for the October issue of RHA’s  UPDATE. They were gracious enough to let us provide the sneak peak of the article today on our blog. The theme for the October 2011 UPDATE is,“Working with Residents during Tenancy” Read on…

Playwright George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”  With this philosophy in mind, George would have made an excellent landlord.  A good landlord knows how to communicate with a tenant, without any illusions.  How do you remove the illusion?  Start by implementing an effective communication system at the beginning of the relationship with your tenant.  It will ensure both parties understand their roles with clear expectations, which will effectively establish a positive working relationship.  Here are some steps to help create a positive communication system:

Start off with the right attitude.  Keep it positive.  Treating people the way you would like to be treated is not just a lesson we try and teach our children, but is something that can easily carry over to business.  Asking the right questions and really listening to the answers can start the relationship on the right foot. Be a good listener, show that you care about your tenants’ needs with your actions and keep your response positive.  In turn, you can make the most challenging situation a bit easier and keep the lines open for future communications.

Establish roles.  Clarify the role of the landlord and of the tenant.  In rental housing, the most common areas where roles may not be as clear are with landscape care, utility transfers and maintenance (ex: owner will repair leaky faucet, but tenant should replace light bulbs and smoke detector batteries).  When defining roles, you can also set expectations.  If the tenant’s role is to maintain the landscaping, clarify that your expectation is that the tenant will mow the lawn on a consistent schedule, as needed to maintain the same well groomed appearance as established upon move in.   Make them aware that as a part of your role as the landlord, you make regular site inspections to ensure the property is being maintained.  A professional lease form will cover the basics of your roles, but gain added clarity on the specifics of your rental property with your new tenants verbally during your move in inspection or with a written summary.

Outline your goals. Outline goals for your tenant during their tenancy and make sure your goals align with theirs.  Your goal, as a landlord, is to provide a safe and comfortable home for your resident to live in. Find out what your tenant’s goals are – they may want a great space to host large parties every weekend or a single family residence to run a day care.  If your tenant’s goal is to meet new friends, then make sure they know when the building’s social hour begins and ends and provide other information to help them reach your goals in common.

Lay out the timeline.  Along with establishing roles and goals, you need to communicate clear timelines for project commencement and completion.  If your tenant knows the yard maintenance crew comes every Tuesday morning they will not be surprised when they hear leaf blowers at 8:00 AM.   A tenant can let the landlord know that they always get paid on the 1st of the month so the rent won’t be paid until the 2nd which will allow you to adjust your expectations.   Knowing what to expect will curb the anxiety and reduce the number of inquiries.

As a landlord, the tenant is your customer and your client.  Treat them with the best of customer service by creating a positive experience by communicating early, often and effectively.  




  1. I am constantly thought about this, appreciate it for putting up.

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