One does not have to look hard to find negative posts, reviews, and forum threads about bad landlords. In fact, it is easy to understand why a person who a landlord has mistreated would negatively stereotype them. That said, there are plenty of ways landlords can mistreat tenants, such as overcharging, neglecting maintenance, ignoring phone calls, or behaving in other ways that harm their reputation. But what about landlords who treat tenants fairly – why do they still get such a bad rap? Unfortunately, good landlords get lumped into the negative stereotypes fueled by the behavior of bad landlords. Read on to learn how to avoid these negative landlord stereotypes that hinder your rental property business from growing.
4 Negative Landlord Stereotypes and How to Avoid Them
In today’s online age, tenants are screening landlords just as much as landlords screen the tenants. However, tenants generally get their information via online reviews, which may not always tell the whole story. Part of being a successful landlord is to build a friendly and professional landlord-tenant relationship to avoid issues before they happen. After all, no one wants to live in a space with an overbearing owner and constant turmoil. Let’s review the 4 most common negative landlord stereotypes below and review tips to avoid becoming one yourself.
- Intrusive Landlords
- Unfriendly Landlords
- Law-Breaking Landlords
- Greedy Landlords
Simply put – no one wants to deal with a landlord who randomly shows up at their property unannounced. Not only is this intrusive, but it is also illegal in many areas. Unless it is a true emergency, most jurisdictions require landlords to provide a minimum of 24 hours’ notice to tenants before entering the property.
That said, showing up in person is not the only thing that tenants could consider as intrusive behavior. Calling too often or needlessly checking in on them or the home can negatively impact the landlord-tenant relationship.
- How to Avoid Becoming an Intrusive Landlord – You may own the property, but a tenant with a signed rental agreement has the right to peace and privacy in the unit. Therefore, do not needlessly bother them or show up unannounced without a valid reason. Instead, provide proper notice to comply with local laws, but also just to be courteous.
While you should not try to be a tenant’s best friend, landlords need to build long-term professional relationships with their tenants. Thus, avoid being stereotyped as an unfriendly or unapproachable landlord. Keep in mind that a tenant who is happy with their rental and their landlord is more likely to stay long-term, which is great news for you. So, here are a few ideas below to help you to maintain a friendly and approachable image.
- Smile and Offer a Friendly Greeting – The simplest of all interactions is to smile and greet tenants when you see them. Doing so helps to build valuable rapport with residents.
- Keep Tenant Information Cards – Remembering simple information from past conversations can help you connect with your tenants and show that you care.
- Sending Periodic Greeting Cards – Consider sending seasonal, holiday, or birthday cards to your tenants as a way to engage and thank them for being a great tenant. Furthermore, take time to personalize each card with the tenant’s name. That way, they do not feel as though you sent out the same general card to everyone.
Keep in mind, being a friendly landlord does not mean letting tenants walk all over you. It is still vital to uphold rules, policies, and lease terms in all situations. That said, building mutual respect will encourage tenants to want to comply with rules and not take advantage or push boundaries to see what they can get away with.
Unfortunately, some tenants have felt the frustration of dealing with a landlord who oversteps their authority. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, breaking the law as a landlord is unacceptable. Not only does being a law-breaking landlord strain your landlord-tenant relationship – it can land you in serious legal and financial trouble.
- How to Avoid Becoming a Law-Breaking Landlord – It is essential for landlords to learn all of the laws that apply to you and adhere to them. Additionally, some regulations, like those laws concerning the right of entry, may vary from county to county. Therefore, be sure to check applicable restrictions at the federal, state, and local levels. That said, if learning all of the laws is too time-consuming, consult a lawyer that can guide you through running your business 100% legally.
Some tenants feel like landlords are only in the rental property business to make lots of money. Typically, this negative perception often happens when the tenant feels like the rental rate is too high or thinks the landlord cares more about profit than taking care of the properties.
That said, there is nothing wrong with starting a rental property business to generate income. However, landlords must balance profit with doing everything they can (within reason) to keep their tenants happy. Check out these tips below to avoid becoming the stereotype of a greedy landlord –
- Avoid Making Cheap Repairs – When a tenant faces a problem in your property, do not just give them a short-term solution. Instead, hire a reputable contractor to completely fix the problem if you cannot handle the repair on your own. Not only will this make tenants perceive you more positively – it will keep your property in better shape and help avoid costlier problems in the future.
- Provide a Welcome Basket to New Tenants – Consider including a map of the local area, bottles of water, necessities like paper towels and toilet paper, and a gift card to a nice local restaurant or coffee shop. This is a cost-effective way to let tenants know that their satisfaction matters to you.
- Do Not Gouge Prices at Renewal – Lease renewal is when most tenants expect a slight rate increase. That said, do not use this as an opportunity to raise rates unfairly to squeeze as much profit as you can. Instead, keep the rate in line with local competition and stick to a 1% to 3% increase annually.
Protect Your Reputation with Professional Rental Management
To avoid negative landlord stereotypes, we can sum up the tips above by simply saying – treat others as you would want to be treated. Tenants will have far more respect for you as a landlord if you are friendly, knowledgeable, fair, and most importantly – consistent.
If managing your properties and your online reputation seems like a daunting task, there is an easier way. By hiring local property managers like Bay Property Management Group, owners can turn over all daily operations to experts in the industry. Our team handles all aspects of your rental business for you while keeping your rental legally compliant and striking a balance between owner and tenant expectations. Give us a call today to find out more about our full-service approach to property management.