Tips for Tackling Tenant Requests

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 13 August 2019 10:06
Tackling Tenant Requests Tackling Tenant Requests

You juggle beautifully all the responsibilities of the physical and financial maintenance and care of rental properties but tenant relations can be the most time consuming and taxing if we allow it. Tenant requests can pile up and it’s easy to dismiss or diminish their importance in a busy office. Handling reasonable requests begins with a change of mindset.  

Improve Tenant Relations

An office can be managed with professionalism without losing touch with the needs of the residents. The term tenant relations gets bounced around the industry. Relations is short for relationship. Good relationships need to be cultivated and it starts with remembering that tenants are not rivals but partners. Their role pays the bills, and ultimately provide the funds so you get paid.  

That professionalism is communicated to the tenant through our attitudes and expectations by the actions we take but also by our body language, facial expressions, choice of words, and in our policies and procedures.

Change Perspective 

Property managers and landlords are in the selling business. That sounds impersonal, but if we are clinical about the industry, it ultimately is just a structure or plot of land (ie: mobile home or RV spaces) rented out for a period of time. However, to the resident, it is home. 

Changing your perspective on the importance of home to your residents may change how you approach requests. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment and add opportunity and relationship costs to your business profitability matrix. 

Be Open-Minded 

Pause before dismissing a request. Perhaps your tenants are asking for a unique resident event or amenity. Why not give it some consideration, or present an alternative? At the very minimum let them know you are listening and care. 

Try not to be quick to deny or use stall tactics as that sends a negative message to your tenants. Every request, no matter how seemingly insignificant or odd, should still be considered carefully. Just having an open-minded attitude may just improve productivity, profitability, or even office moral. 

Be Consistent

Sometimes we can swing the other way and give too much of our time and resources and over commit and under deliver. Just as it’s not a good idea to deny a request quickly, it may be beneficial to give some thought before approving a request as well. This new way of processing and evaluating creates a buffer of time so that you are not saying yes or no too quickly. 

Communicate in Writing

Communicating good or bad news to your tenants should have the components of tenant relationship building with consistency. Sometimes the answer is an approval; sometimes denial. Sometimes a request, even a reasonable one, can be denied if it is not in the best interest of the portfolio, business goals, or the tenant. 

Regardless of the reasoning or decision, it is highly recommended that all communication be handled in writing. Remember, having communication in writing is helpful for legal purposes as well as relaying information and showing professionalism. 

Consider a policy that all requests be submitted in writing. Directing your tenants with verbal requests to either a request form or to your property managements online portal to submit work orders. Check your local and State laws if email and/or other electronic forms of communication are acceptable for your communication needs.

Always Follow Up

Follow up on each request even if it is just a quick note to let them know it is being considered. Leaving requests unanswered will result in more phone calls and office visits from tenants. It might also create negative online reviews for you or your office.

You might have sent a note out when you received the request, and another when it was approved, but consider sending out a final follow-up after the request was fulfilled. You could include your letter with a tenant survey, or ask them to leave feedback on the process. 

Requests to Always Approve

They may seem an insignificant or low priority, but requests regarding plumbing such as a dripping faucet, hot water fluctuations, toilet clogging, garbage disposal concerns, slow draining bathtub, and all other plumbing issues should be approved quickly. Those are warning signs to investigate before they become bigger issues. It’s best to have trusted vendors already in place to dispatch as needed. 

Requests to Always Investigate

Requests regarding accommodations and/or maintenance issues that fall under landlord responsibilities should be considered fully and investigated. Some states offer detailed descriptions for what should be covered under landlord responsibilities, other states do not. It is important to keep up-to-date with your local and state regulations to keep yourself protected from liability; but even more importantly, to care for and protect the resident and residence.  

Be Proactive

If you were hosting a family member or dear friend, you’d want the property to be in the best shape, all appliances in working order, neat landscaping, and a welcoming environment. Routine proactive maintenance and caring for your portfolio and residents should be a priority and may bring down the number of tenant requests from the start.  

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