The business of managing property is really a business about relationships. Building and maintaining these relationships will help you as a property manager create a friendly, close-knit condo community.
Leading by example may also influence and inspire your tenants to get to know their neighbours. When a connection is established, it's easier to chat about problems or potential issues.
There are six easy ways in which a property manager can build a good relationship with a tenant.
1) Rental Application: In this telling piece of paper, a property manager gets the first glance of a possible tenant and what they may be like. This step is an opportune time to help set important criteria for future renters. The rental application will reveal some characteristics (hopefully good ones) of the tenant such as their line of work, if they smoke, or if they are pet owners. If you find the applicant to be a suitable match for a unit in your multi-family property, you can use this information as talking points later.
2) Applicant Interview: This is the point where the property manager can really create a good first impression and establish a friendly relationship. Keeping the conversation light with some friendly banter will help the possible tenant feel more at ease in a nervous situation. You don't need to dish on the funny show you caught last night, but asking them if they had a good weekend will surely help break their tension. The property manager can also learn more about the renter in this step with questions relating to their spare time, entertaining habits, etc. If they give social answers, you know it will be easier to maintain a relationship with them.
3) Lease Agreement: As a property manager, it's your job to discuss the lease agreement in detail. The tenant may not wish or bother to listen to your spiel, but it's good practice to do so. By going through the agreement, you can ensure that the tenant won't be surprised by anything if something were to happen later on in their tenancy. Be open with them and lay it out plainly so they can understand what everything means. You can also let them know that you're available to call and talk if they have any further questions or need some more clarification.
4) Realistic Expectations: One way to quickly wreck a good tenant/property manager relationship is to make promises you can't deliver. This situation often happens when it comes to repairs. Don't promise a heater will be fixed in two days when you know the repairman isn't coming until next week. Although the tenant may not like the answer, it's better to be truthful and realistic than having to deal with an angry, cold renter when the repairman doesn't show up in two days' time.
5) Maintain Clear, Transparent Communication: This tip should be a general rule for all relationships, not just tenant/property manager ones. This idea is the best rule of thumb for maintaining a good relationship with your tenants. If a good tenant lets you know they may be a day or two late with their rent this month, make sure to let them know they will get dinged with late fees. In doing so, they won't be surprised by the charges. Many will appreciate your honesty and reminders. If your tenants need to know about something, ensure that they do.
6) Mutual Respect: Mutual respect must be present if you are to have a great relationship with your tenant. If you show respect to the renter, they should return the favour. If they don't respect you, then the relationship is doomed until that's fixed. If respect is a problem that you really want to fix, talk to them. Communicate and ask what the issue is. Taking action like that may ensure they won't bail in the middle of the night, leaving the unit a disaster.
Building and maintaining positive tenant/property manager relationships isn't as hard as it may seem. You have more information about them than they do on you. Therefore, you're the one in the position to connect with them and make an effort. By having mutual respect, realistic expectations, and transparent communication, your relationships with your tenants will be great.