Ever hear the saying “A first impression makes a lasting impression”?

Other property managers have shared with me that how you start off communicating with someone sets the tone for how people will respond to you.  Additionally, there are many ways to break barriers and gain trust faster when trying to ensure positive resident relationships.  Win-win!

Introduce yourself:  This one is really for newbies to a property.  Sometimes people need to be replaced suddenly and for the replacement, this can be a challenge as they may have a long list of duties to tend to first.  Between collecting rent and catching up on maintenance and repairs, resident relationship management can easily take a back seat.  By introducing yourself in the first month, either in person or by letter, you can get a feel for what your tenants are like and how to approach them in the future.

Stick with the facts:  As individuals, people have lifestyles and situations that are distinctly different from the next person.  Unless you have evidence of an specific and/or illegal act being committed, it’s best not to speculate or gossip about how a person lives.  If it’s a matter of a disturbance on the property, try to address the issue without passing judgment.  Your job is to be a neutral party.  Be Switzerland if you will!  Should the problem be continuous, note the incidents in full detail to present to the owner before taking legal action.

Have a schedule:  Your tenants have lives outside of work and though you may not be able to accommodate all of their individual needs, you can work together productively.  For instance, if they know that you have the landscapers coming by every Saturday afternoon, they will know this is not the right time to have a small gathering at their home.  Though there may be an occasional surprise or two which are out of your control, when people have an idea about things like a maintenance schedule, this makes for great management of a great resident relationship.

Keep your promises:  The same way that tenants make a promise to pay by a certain day, or a promise to live by certain standards, you should do the same.  Even if it’s something minor like changing a light bulb, you should be definite and open about what duties will be performed when—and follow through. If things come up, communicate with the tenant.

Show the tenant some love:  Sometimes, there will be incidents that are out of their control when it comes to paying rent such as major illness.  It could also just be a misunderstanding that simple communication could solve.  If and when at all possible, speak with them by phone or in a setting away from foot traffic.  It’s simple gestures that also make a difference and contribute to effective resident relationship management.

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