Owner/occupant: Communication is key in the landlord-tenant relationship.

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Author: Eileen Wirth
Date: May-June 2021
From: Journal of Property Management(Vol. 86, Issue 3)
Publisher: Institute of Real Estate Management
Document Type: Article
Length: 1,175 words
Lexile Measure: 1390L

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Measure twice, cut once. This may be familiar advice for working on a construction or home improvement project, but what does this statement have to do with landlord-resident relationships? It is the simple message of this axiom that should be taken to heart: careful preparation can avoid extra work later.

What careful preparation can property managers undertake to establish great relationships with tenants? The answer, too, is simple: time spent with each new resident at move-in. This time together establishes the tone of the landlord-tenant relationship, a rapport in which strong and open communication is critical to long-term success.

Are you projecting a feeling that welcomes your resident into their new home? Are you taking steps to ensure they feel included in the building community, or will they feel like a nuisance because you are perpetually focused on the next task that requires your attention?

Later communication will be negatively impacted if a resident believes that they are bothering management by asking questions or taking up too much time at move-in. But residents reaching out to management with issues goes a long way in successfully managing properties, so this state of hesitancy to communicate should be prevented. Property managers that have had to deal with damage in a unit due to a resident not reporting an issue, such as a small leak, understand this all too well.

Welcome to the neighborhood

Just as imperative as educating residents on the importance of reporting maintenance issues is communicating with them the expectations for living in your community.

A thorough review of the full lease is another example of a property manager engaging in "measure twice, cut once." Does your property have a common lease violation? When reviewing house rules, are there guidelines or provisions that...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A662042307