Effective Communication Strategies for Killeen Landlords and Tenants - Article Banner

As a landlord, strong communication is an essential part of maintaining successful relationships with tenants. In an industry driven by both people and customer service, you’ll likely encounter many different scenarios where effective communication must occur. Whether it’s delivering important updates or responding to issues that arise at the property, staying in contact with your renters is essential for keeping a positive exchange of information between all involved parties. 

By understanding how to foster effective landlord-tenant relationships through clear and concise communication strategies, you can ensure productive conversations are taking place before, during, and even after the tenancy when you’re working through security deposit returns and move-out inspections. 

As a company providing exceptional Killeen property management, we have learned a lot about how communication must work with landlords and tenants in order for it to be productive, effective, and meaningful. 

Here are some of the best strategies we can share with you.

Communication During the Leasing Process

Focus on responsiveness and transparency even before your tenant becomes your tenant. During the marketing, showing, screening, and leasing process, you’ll have the opportunity to establish a professional and pleasant relationship with your potential tenants. 

Make sure you respond to questions and calls when you’ve listed your property and people want to schedule showings. You won’t have an easy time limiting your vacancy and finding a well-qualified resident if you refuse to answer your phone or respond to inquiries. You’ll also show prospective renters that you’re difficult to reach. That won’t make them feel great about renting from you. 

Respond to inquiries. Set up showings proactively, whether it’s with your present or using self-showing technology that’s widely available. Answer the questions that tenants have, and be a resource for them while they’re considering your property. 

This is also an opportunity for you to do a bit of pre-screening. Before you schedule a showing, you can ask about their plans for moving. Ask them:

  • Why they’re looking for a new home.
  • When they’ll be ready to move in.
  • How much rent they can afford.
  • Whether they have pets
  • How many people will be living in the property

Once you know that the timing works out and that they’re in the right range financially, you can schedule a showing and help them move through the application process. You don’t want to waste your time showing or screening tenants who are not qualified. 

Share Rental Criteria with Potential Applicants 

One great way to communicate with prospective tenants during the leasing period is to be upfront about what you’re looking for in a resident. 

A set of standard rental criteria will help you remain consistent when you’re screening. It will also give you an opportunity to allow prospective tenants to screen themselves. When you provide the required income level, the necessary credit, and your standards around past evictions and criminal history, they’ll know whether it’s worth their time and application fee. 

Talk About Expectations Before Move-In

Once you’ve chosen a tenant, you’ll need to focus on how you communicate with them and what kind of expectations you’ll want to share. 

As you discuss the lease agreement and all the responsibilities that come with it, make sure you talk about what you expect. Talk about expectations in terms of communication and behavior. Go over the most important parts of the lease, including:

  • Rent collection policies
  • Maintenance request procedures 
  • Cleaning and upkeep responsibilities 
  • Landscaping or lawn care responsibilities 
  • How to reach you

Talking through some of the most important, and potentially confusing, parts of the lease agreement will ensure that everyone understands their role in this relationship. You want your tenants to feel empowered and supported going into the tenancy. Let them know what you need from them and make sure they know that you’re available and accessible for anything they need while they’re living in your property. 

Focus on Active Listening

Listening is one of the most underrated communication strategies that you’ll need to use as a landlord. 

It’s easy not to listen, especially if you have tenants who are constantly complaining, making requests, or pushing back against what is required of them. However, you have to listen. When you listen actively and with empathy, you will be a better communicator and a better landlord. 

Tenants often just want to be heard. Even if there’s a problem that you cannot solve for them, listening to their story and commiserating with their situation will go a long way. Active listening can also help you better persuade, negotiate, and require certain things from your tenants. When you show them the respect they need by listening to them when they’re sharing with you, they’re more likely to return that respect and work with you on what you need from them. 

Whether they’re calling you on the phone, sending a lengthy email, or talking with you in person, take the time to listen. Ask questions to show that you’re concerned. Follow up with them in a few days to find out if there have been any developments in what they discussed with you. 

Provide Multiple Ways to Communicate 

Tenants will have different communication preferences. A large population of tenants always prefer electronic conversations. They want to text or email or use an online portal to send a message or make a maintenance request. Others will call you on the phone in pursuit of a verbal conversation. Make space for many different communication methods. This leaves the door open a little wider for your residents to get in touch when they need things. 

When you have a tenant who likes to complain or feels the need to over-communicate in most situations, it’s easy to let those calls go straight to voicemail. However, you generally want to encourage your residents to communicate with you quickly, especially when we’re talking about maintenance needs. Deferred and unreported maintenance issues are only going to cause higher expenses and more frustration for you. Let your residents know you want to hear from them, even if the news is bad. 

 Working with a Killeen property management company provides landlords with several benefits, especially when we’re talking about communication. We provide online portals, where tenants can send messages, pay rent online, and submit maintenance requests electronically. This takes care of all the communication needs with your tenants, and it makes us the point of contact – not you. 

It’s less practical for independent landlords to provide a portal. But, you can set boundaries for how and when it’s a good time to communicate. Maybe you only want phone calls when there’s an emergency, for example. Or, you’ll respond to non-emergency text messages only between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Feel free to establish those guardrails and then communicate them with your tenants. 

Document All Communication with Killeen Tenants 

Keep careful track of the communication between you and your tenants. This will protect you if there’s ever a dispute or a conflict around what was expected by one party or the other. 

Having maintenance requests in writing will allow you to document when the repair request was made, when you responded, and how the issue was ultimately handled. Tracking rent payments will allow you to support any late fees that are charged or eviction that are filed. 

Even conversations that you have with your tenants should be documented. It could be as simple as making a note in the tenant’s file or even sending an email to that tenant, confirming what was discussed and what action items might be coming out of that conversation. 

When you have every conversation and correspondence documented, there’s less confusion, less risk, and a lot less room for disagreements and disputes. 

Keep Contact Information Current 

Communication StrategyThis is a communication strategy that’s essential for both landlords and tenants: updating contact information. Tenants need to know how to get in touch with you at all times. If a water heater begins leaking in the middle of the night, they’ll need your phone number so they can let you know about the problem. 

Make sure your tenants have your current cell phone number, any additional phone numbers that will get them to you, and your email address. You should also be vigilant about keeping your tenant’s contact information current. You need to know the best number to use for them, as well as the best email address. You have their physical address; but at the end of the lease term, be certain that you get a forwarding address so you can send them the remaining security deposit. 

Everyone communicates differently. 

However, you must have some strategies and standards to keep communication open, consistent, and reliable. This is an important part of your landlord/tenant relationship, and it will impact the entire rental experience that you and your tenants enjoy. When you communicate well, you can tackle any problems or issues that may arise. When you don’t share well, you put your property and your relationship at risk. 

Good communication leads to higher tenant retention rates and happier residents. If you’d like some communication help from an expert Killeen property management company, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Shine Residential Management.