Landlords Assume the Worst When Tenant’s Don’t Communicate
Landlords can only assume the worst when your payments aren’t made on time and they don’t hear from you or you avoid them.
We just took over the management of quite a few single-family homes with existing tenants.
As communication is critical to fostering a good landlord-tenant relationship, we invested the resources into sending each new “client” a Welcome Packet that included the following:
1. An introductory letter explaining how we operate to meet their expectations and where to send their payments, who to contact about what, etc.
2. A questionnaire to confirm their contact information, the terms of their lease and inquire about any outstanding repair issues.
3. A business card to carry with them.
4. A refrigerator magnet with all our contact information.
We also emailed this information to the clients we were provided email addresses for and of course called each of them.
Now we understand that everyone has busy lives to lead and dealing with a new landlord may not be a high priority for a tenant, but tenants do have contractual and financial responsibilities. Just as a tenant has the expectation that a landlord will promptly address a maintenance issue or a billing mistake, landlords expect tenants to promptly acknowledge communication efforts and rent payment issues.
Despite all our communication efforts with our new clients, few were proactive in contacting us. Most we’ve had to chase after to establish communication with them. Many that we subsequently got in touch with claimed they never got our letter or email. Several admitted getting our email, but just deleted it without reading it.
Of course, most of those we had the biggest challenges establishing communication with were behind in rent. The majority of these we didn’t hear from until we were forced to send them eviction notices.
Regardless, what did the tenants that avoided us hope to accomplish? Their avoidance of us has led to their accounts being flagged for higher scrutiny and we’re now less likely to waive late fees or grant them any other exceptions to our policies.
The tenants that didn’t respond to us until we sent them eviction notices – now all want to discuss payment plans. Why would we entertain such a request when we had to chase them so much? By avoiding us until they had no other option, they’ve forced us to assume we will have to go through the exact same hassle to get each payment of any payment plan we agree to. Not an appealing landlord-tenant relationship from our end, which increases the odds that we’ll just pursue the eviction option.
So, those of you reading this that are renting please note the importance of communicating with your landlord. You signed a lease, which is a contract and implicit in that contract are your responsibilities. Life happens, but If you don’t strictly abide by the terms of your lease contract it’s on you to communicate with your landlord. Otherwise, a landlord is more or less forced to assume the worst when you don’t take your contractual responsibilities seriously.