Having amassed several thousand reviews over the last year and half, our team atWhoseYourLandlord has seen it all. We wanted to take a deeper look at the reviews that have come our way and breakdown the key ways landlords and property managers can win over the love of their tenants. As with most relationships in life, we’ve found that 75% of issues come down to some variation of communication – the key to any successful relationship. After checking out what we have to say below, feel free to add to the list by posting in the comments section.

 

Be Responsive

This is it. Right here. The most important thing we’ve seen. The ability to respond quickly to maintenance issues, requests for assistance, and general inquiries and questions, is so important. Some businesses go by “The 3 Ring Rule” which essentially means, all phones better be answered by the third ring. “Home providers” are just that, providers. While it may be difficult at first, there needs to be a commitment to hearing out your customers at all times.

Be open in displaying your office hours, how to best reach you when no one is at the desk, and how to best communicate when the office is closed. If you’re managing a building, the security guards should be equipped with the necessary tools and information needed to assist the residents. People live 24/7. Just because your office runs from 9-5p doesn’t mean the residents don’t exist from 5-9a.

 

Give back the Security Deposit (if not, clearly communicate why)

Renters don’t like to be screwed or jerked around. Stop playing with their money and give it back to them. If there are cosmetic things that you’ve outlined in the lease/rider, in advance, that have been damaged, by all means, count it in your expenses levied against the deposit; but, if they’ve done a bang-up job keeping the property together, make sure to cut them that check in full. Keep the receipts and mail the report to the renters within 30 days of them leaving the property. Too many landlords and property management companies simply keep the deposit and add it to their profits. This is not what a DEPOSIT is. The expectation a renter has is that “If I do my part and keep things together…practically treat this place as my home, I’ll be reimbursed when it comes time to leave.” Sadly, many landlords abuse this ability and prefer to force the hand of the renters and see what recourse of action they’re willing to contribute capital and time to in order to fight. Be forthright when it comes to peoples’ money. You’ll make tons more providing great service and treating people well, in the long run, than you’ll make by ripping them off and expecting no one to find out.

 

Invest in the Condition of the Property

If you want your residents to treat their rental as their home, you must first treat it as a home. Take care of the property. No one’s saying every property must be a luxury apartment; but, what we are saying is that repairing leaky roofing, fixing damaged pipes, and repainting the interior and exterior when necessary are what your residents naturally expect.

If you treat the property with care and show a propensity to build upon its foundation, your renters will add to it as well. Show your residents that you care about their wellbeing by looking after their current “home” the way you’d expect them to do if they owned the place.

(Side note: When a resident elects to fix something themselves because you haven’t, or when a renter embarks on their own landscaping project and makes the backyard into a beautiful garden, don’t stiff them and jack up the rent when they’re the ones that have added to the property value. That’s just not cool.)

 

Stay Updated on what’s Happening in the Community

Whether folks realize it or not, we all love to learn and be aware. We want to know what’s going on in the building. We want to know what’s going on in the surrounding community. Is there an upcoming meet and greet with new residents? Do you host a movie night? What’s the big concert coming to the park that I keep hearing about?

While you’re not going to know the answer to every question thrown your way, be sure to make yourself aware of the resources available to quickly find those answers. Stay on top of your staff and make sure they’re aware of the going-ons of the community. The more you can make yourself a resource to your residents, the more likely they’ll stick around and re-up for a new lease simply because they can’t imagine themselves living without you.

 

Treat Tenants with Respect

Although on a surface level, signing a lease seems to be a business transaction, it is, in fact, deeper than that. It’s a personal commitment. It’s a renter agreeing to abide by the rules outlined so that you and they can coexist as they choose to live out their very personal, private life. It’s important this is understood. As a human being, you know how you like to be treated and how you enjoy your home/family life.

Keep the Golden Rule in mind as you talk to and work with your residents. You’re going to run into your share of hard asses as renters, that’s understood. The thing is, if you treat everyone with the requisite respect they should expect to receive at home, you’ll find them stepping up for you and shaming folks that go overboard. Nothing is better than creating expectations and a culture of self-policing in your living community. Set the precedent, follow the precedent, and you’ll see your residents fall in line and check each other on the responsibilities each must uphold to maintain residence in that dwelling.

Written By

Ofo Ezeugwu (@ofoezeugwu) is the CEO & Chieftain of WhoseYourLandlord. He graduated from Temple University (shout out to N. Philly!), where he was the VP of the student body and also the university's youngest alumni convocation speaker ever. He's a Techstars'​ Risingstar, one of BET's #30Under30, a Black Enterprise: Modern Man, and his work has been featured in Newsweek, TechCrunch, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Inquirer, MSNBC, and more. Ofo is based in NYC/PHL and is also a professional actor and model who's walked in NYFW, been featured on the Today Show six times, and worked with Nike, ESPN, and Alfani. Ofo is also very actively plugged into the community and speaks with local high schools and middle schools on leadership, college planning, entrepreneurship, and life skills. He's a Big in the Big Brothers Big Sisters entrepreneurial program. And, he's also spoken on tech - entrepreneurship - and leadership at prestigious universities and institutions such as The White House, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Penn, Temple, Villanova, etc. He lives by the motto, "No steps backward; just forward progress."