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A happy tenant – is it a dichotomy?

By Donna Jones

A happy tenant can make the process of owning and managing a rental property a much smoother process.  As a property owner there is probably a question in the back of your mind – Are my tenants happy? Well it’s probably safe to say that you can be often lured into a false sense of security thinking that everything is fine until the proverbial floodgates open.

Often you might associate that not hearing anything is a good thing, when in fact no contact is often a catalyst for a small gripe emerging into a festering boil.

So who is to blame for an unhappy tenant? Well you are of course. But it is an easy fix. There are two things that McPhersons Property Management cannot stress as important enough to a property owner, and these are maintenance and regular communication.

Let’s take a look at the first, maintenance.

Maintenance

Don’t see maintenance as a dirty word. More money we hear you say? On the face of things, continually pouring money into a property can just seems like a never-ending black hole. But don’t see it as a nuisance or drain on cashflow – see it as an investment; an investment could be minimal compared to the bill you may face if something serious goes wrong.

Clearing gutters seasonally can be a simple task – eliminating the ability for water to pool and cause a flooding issue. Checking the pipes once a year for cracks and exposure can mean that you’re not faced with burst pipes and having to deal with the clean-up in the middle of a cold winter’s night. A small investment in time and money could eliminate some rather large potential financial implications in the future.

And an additional benefit – the psychological impact of seeing you take pride in maintaining the property will not be lost on a tenant. If they perceive that you value the property, they will too, and potentially take better care of it.

And now for point two – communication.

Regular Communication

By maintaining a constant communication channel, you are able to address any small issue(s) a tenant has before they are blown into a full scale problem.

By simply tending to small issues such as a leaking tap, the tenant feels valued as they are listened to, and you’re seen in a positive light as you’ve acted immediately.

You don’t need to act straight away (as it economically may not make sense) but the minimum action you should undertake is to acknowledge the issue and provide a timeframe for this to be rectified. The time frame should be treated as final – no exceptions. If you fail to adhere to these, you lose credibility and the happiness meter of the tenant has taken a hit in the wrong direction.

And finally, follow-up with the tenant that the remedial actions taken have been undertaken and have fixed the problem. Too often we think the problem has been tended to, only to find that it hasn’t been finalized in the eyes of the tenant.

The strategy for communication is simple – Often. Listen. Acknowledge. Action. Follow through.

Above and beyond = happy

Now, you’ve probably noticed we’ve snuck in a third one here. Maintenance and regular communication are the bare minimum to ‘get’ a happy tenant; but to maintain a happy tenant, you need to go above and beyond. Small personal touches are what tenants (and people in general) will remember.

Small gestures where you celebrate wins of the tenant can be seen as monumental – for example, if you’re aware your tenant has just secured a new job role or been promoted, a card in the mail or a bottle of wine as a gesture can be game-changing. A card or a small gift on a birthday or at Christmas are other opportunities to show the tenant that they are valued and appreciated.

Other opportunities may also include investing in your property where there are tangible benefits to the tenant and where they didn’t see it coming. For example, things such as introducing a heat pump, a dish washer or some form of equipment (new boiler, solar panels, etc.) that will reduce the tenant’s monthly electricity bill, will all have a positive ramification (unless implemented at the wrong time to the tenant!).

Conclusion

The happy tenant is one that continues to feel valued, and in turn is one that pays their rent on time, and treats your property like theirs. If you don’t have a happy tenant, we dare you to take an honest look at the relationship you have with your tenants and the maintenance and contact (and its frequency) that you’ve had in the past six months. If it isn’t as positive as it should be, now could be the time to talk to McPherson Property Management to rectify this.

It’s our job to take care of the maintenance and ensure regular communication with your tenant, one less worry that you’ll need to take care of in your busy life. A happy tenant may just be a call away – call McPherson Property Management today.

Image Credits

Burst pipes. January 1, 2015, by Chris Sloan, CC BY 2.0

Capulet Communications, by kris krug, CC BY SA 2.0

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