As a Harford County rental property owner it is very important for you to establish a strong relationship with your tenant. There are many benefits to this, including your tenant staying a long period of time, thus saving you the time and energy of having to regularly look for a new tenant. However, there is a fine line between having a strong relationship with your tenant and taking that relationship too far where you may find yourself being taken advantage of.
It is absolutely crucial that you set proper boundaries for your tenants – so that you may maintain a healthy and professional landlord-tenant relationship. Additionally, it is just as crucial to lay out these expectations from the start of the lease term to your Harford County property management company, and ensure that all parties involved understand what will be acceptable behavior and what will not.
In order to keep things professional, all property owners should set boundaries that will keep tenant dependencies on you as low as possible. While it is a great idea to provide exceptional customer service when it comes to caring for your tenants while they reside in your rental property, tenants should also be able to stand on their own and take care of their tenant obligations while occupying your property.
Today we are going to look at some ways to set proper boundaries with your Harford County tenants.
3 Ways to Set Boundaries with Your Harford County Tenants
Accommodating your tenant’s every problem, excuse, lie, or manipulation is a surefire way to tip the boundary balance in their favor. It sets you up for continual problems, a whole lot of stress, and possibly lost income.
If you are looking for ways to keep your tenants from pushing your boundaries and causing major headaches for you or your property management company, keep reading.
1. Limit Your Repairs
Chances are you are the type of property owner that not only wants to keep your Harford County property in great shape, but the kind that also wants to please high quality tenants. After all, avoiding high turnover rates is every property owner’s goal. However, if you are not careful, your tenants may begin to expect these extravagant repairs and upgrades that will eventually drain your annual budget.
If your rental home becomes uninhabitable or hazardous to your tenants’ safety, it is your legal responsibility to repair it as soon as possible. On the other hand, if your windows and doors could use a little sprucing up because they are outdated, it is a good idea to check with your annual budget and see it makes financial sense to replace them.
“So where is the boundary setting,” you ask?
Good question. If your tenants begin to believe you are the type of property owner that will continually make seemingly unnecessary repairs and upgrades, rather than just at lease renewal time as a thank you for being a reliable tenant, they may get the idea they can begin to request such repairs and upgrades. Worse yet, if you give in just one time and repair or upgrade something in the property per your tenant’s request, despite it not being broken or a safety hazard, you may find yourself battling a ton of future tenant requests that will dry up your bank account.
If you find your tenants asking for lots of repairs and changes to be made to your rental home, it is best to refer them to the signed lease agreement and point out what you will and will not handle as the property owner of the property. If you are using a Harford County property management company, feel free to direct your tenants to them as they are trained to handle improper requests and hold firm the boundaries you set from the start of the lease term.
2. Set a Firm Rent Payment Procedure
One of the best ways to set a firm boundary with your tenants is to determine how you will accept rent payments from them before placing them in your rental property. From there, you will want to outline in detail the procedures for making rent payments in the lease agreement both you and your future tenants will sign.
If you are unsure as to how to construct a lease agreement that sets the right boundaries when it comes to rent payments, enlist a property management company in Harford County to help you out. They have expertise in legally compliant lease drafting and can make sure your tenants understand how to pay rent each month.
Interested in how to set the strictest of rent payment boundaries?
The first thing you might consider when it comes to your rent payment boundaries is the type of payment you will accept. It is often best to accept only checks or money orders to avoid having to deal with cash. This not only discourages theft, it also prevent disagreements when it comes to how much cash is paid at any given time.
Additionally, you may want to have the check or money orders mailed to a P.O. Box (so your tenants do not know where you live) or have them mail rent payments directly to your property management company. This reduces the need for tenants to have face-to-face conversations about why their rent payment is late or incomplete.
Tenants will often have excuses for why the rent is not paid in full. Do not allow yourself or your property manager to hear those excuses. Do not give your tenants any opportunity to convince you to allow a late or non-payment of rent. The rules are the rules and tenants know this from the start of the lease term.
To add to this, make sure you implement a strict late fee structure into the lease agreement. Discuss this and the rent payment procedures with your tenant before signing the contract. Never waive the late payment. If you do it once, your tenant will expect it time and again. Do not let your tenant cross this boundary.
3. Implement Communication
Communicating with your tenants is a must. Even if you utilize a property management company, someone will be in contact with your tenants at one point or another. It is crucial your tenants understand that you and your property manager are not on call 24/7. Sure, the emergency maintenance crew is, if you use Harford County’s best property management company, Bay Management Group. However, calling in at all hours to discuss minor things that can wait until business hours the next day is not acceptable.
Make sure your tenants know who to contact and how. Further, make sure they know the business hours either you or your property manager have in place. This way if your tenant calls after hours it will be no surprise to them when the voicemail message clicks on.
Not sure how to provide this information to your tenants?
One great way is to develop a welcome handbook that every tenant receives at the start of the lease term that outlines the contact information and operating hours, among many other things.
In the end, as a property owner, even one with a property management group managing your rental home, you are running a business. It is not your responsibility to handle your tenant’s personal problems. Your business is providing tenants a place to live at a reasonable price for a profit. Period.
In order to maintain a healthy, and profitable, landlord-tenant relationship you must have proper boundaries in place with your tenants from the start. Do not budge on these boundaries, stay firm in your rules, and provide the best customer service you can while doing so.
Moreover, if you do not feel comfortable taking on this role, contact Bay Management Group today and have us do it for you. We have the knowledge and experience for handling trouble tenants that attempt to push the boundaries you have in place. Our Bay Management Group property managers will always have your boundaries respected, your property well cared for, and satisfied tenants despite our strict rules.