Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, you are a person first. People want to be happy, and one way to be happy is to communicate. Communication involves talking, listening, sharing, and expressing ideas whether it is in writing, talking, sign language, or through images. Orlando “rent out my home” landlords and property management companies know that clear communication and honesty is often the best place to start when establishing a respectful and effective tenant-landlord relationship. Just like in any business, customers should be treated well and with respect. Tenants are customers. The property management customers just look a little bit different than typical customers at a shop or business. Property management customers call your business, home. A home is a very special place where people create a life, make memories, and develop an emotional attachment. Make your rental property a positive place for your customers. Here are some helpful tips to ensure your relationships with your tenants are professional and positive.
Do you remember when you were searching to buy a rental property and your real estate agent continued to say “location, location, location”? Now that you are a property owner and you are renting out that property, may we suggest changing that phrase to “communication, communication, communication.” Communication is key to retaining a tenant long term. From the very beginning, Orlando “rent out my home” landlords should work to establish a clear means of communication.
- Best Way to Reach You: Tell your tenants the best way to reach you. This can be via text message, a phone call, an email, a social media message, or a property management website that allows for a tenant portal messaging system. Make sure that however you advise them to contact you, that you are able to access the phone, app, or website from anywhere. Tell tenants how to report maintenance emergencies. For large property management companies, this is often done through a hotline number that reaches an answering service. For private landlords or property owners who own just a few rental properties, this may be their direct cell phone number.
- Close Proximity: If you plan to travel or do not live near your rental properties, give the tenants the contact of someone who can quickly and easily access the property in Orlando. “Rent out my home” property landlords and property managers must be able to respond promptly when a tenant reaches out to them regarding a request.
- Be Considerate of Tenants’ Work and Sleep Schedules: Utilize private Facebook pages to communicate news or information regarding the property. This can be an easy way to communicate information to tenants without disturbing them, as each tenant has different work and sleep schedules.
- Be a Good Listener: Part of communicating effectively includes listening. Listen to the concerns, complaints, and requests made by tenants. Address these concerns quickly by taking action to make them feel more comfortable in their home. Take the time to follow up with tenants after maintenance work has been performed to see that it is completed to their satisfaction. It is the little things, like showing that you care, that goes a long way with tenants. Sometimes a tenant just needs to talk about a housing situation, even if nothing needs to be done on the end of the Orlando real estate management companies.
- Be Transparent: Be honest and direct in your communications. Orlando rent out my home advertising should be accurate when the property is vacant and at the time of the lease signing. Be honest about the condition of the property, what is included in the amenities, and offer a competitive and fair price. Be upfront about extra charges including utilities, parking fees, HOA fees, and more. Tenants appreciate honesty in communication with landlords. Property managers should clearly outline the lease agreement rules so that there are no miscommunications or misunderstandings regarding when rent is due, how tenants should conduct themselves while on the property, and what is expected of them. When it comes time for a tenant to move out, give them cleaning guidelines in advance so that they can prepare the property according to the landlord’s specifications. Doing so will help tenants receive more money back from their original security deposit.
When a tenant contacts or reaches out to an Orlando “rent out my home” property manager, be available. If you are unable to answer the call or email immediately, respond within a timely matter. This suggestion can be applied in many areas of life, including personal relationships. If you are unavailable, people will lose interest and seek help elsewhere. Do not lose a tenant because you made yourself unavailable to help them. Making yourself available does not have to rest only on the shoulders of the landlords. Establish a network of licensed and insured professionals who can assist with maintenance emergencies at 3:00 am. This network should include a pest control professional, plumber, electrician, and general maintenance technician. Showing tenants that you are able to quickly assist them and that you will respond to their concerns goes a long way for tenants. It shows them that you care and they will, in turn, take better care of the rental property.
Be Understanding and Sensitive
To you, it is just a rental property, but to your tenants, it is a home. What may seem like a small maintenance request or small complaint to you, is a big deal to them. They are the ones living in the property every day. In an Orlando “rent out my home” property, noise, nuisance, and parking complaints should be taken seriously, as well as even the most minor of maintenance requests like a squeaky door or a cabinet drawer that continues to fall into the open position. When a lease agreement is up, landlords are often presented with the opportunity to increase the rent amount, based on market values. Be cautious and sensitive when delivering a rent increase notice. Give a tenant ample notice of the rent increase, between 60 and 90 days, allowing them time to prepare for the increase or seek housing elsewhere if the price does not accommodate the tenant’s budget. Most states require a 30-day notice if the proposed rent increase amount is ten percent or less of the original rent amount. If the rent increase is more than ten percent, a 60-day notice is required. Sapling states that Florida has relatively flexible rent increase laws and it does not have any zones that are rent-controlled. Nolo states that Florida landlords can increase rent on a month to month rental contract giving as little as 15 days notice to tenants in Orlando. “Rent out my home” managers should be thoughtful and considerate and give as much time as possible for tenants to prepare for the rent increase.
Be friendly, but not friends with your tenants. Once a friendship is developed, tenants will push and expect landlords to make exceptions to the rules for them, including acceptance of late rent payments. This is a slippery slope and can land property managers in hot water and legal trouble.
Orlando real estate management companies have the ability to file an Unlawful Detainer on tenants under two conditions: a breach in the lease agreement and nonpayment of rent. Prior to filing an Unlawful Detainer, contact legal counsel to ensure that you have proper grounds for terminating the tenancy and that you proceed in compliance with the laws. Once an Unlawful Detainer has been filed, landlords are not allowed to have interactions or conversations with tenants. All communications must go through legal counsel. It is possible, however, to stop the eviction process if the tenant pays rent in full.
Documenting a Breach of Lease Agreements
Document everything. Orlando “rent out my home” landlords are recommended to conduct routine inspections of the property. During these inspections, landlords should look for maintenance repairs, safety hazards, structural stability, and any signs of a breach in the lease agreement by the tenant. Some common lease violations seen by Orlando property managers include overcrowding with unauthorized tenants, pets residing at the property when it is a pet-free property, smoking on the premises or illegal drug activity, or failure to report pest infestations. Document any breach in the agreement and notify the tenants promptly either by speaking directly with them or through a written notice. Inform the tenants that they must fix the problem within a reasonable time frame, and give them a specific date that the problem must be resolved. Let them know that you will be coming back to inspect to make certain that they are in compliance with all paragraphs of the lease agreement.
Resident Retention in the Orlando “Rent Out My House” Market
Turnover is expensive and time-consuming. If you find a good, respectful and responsible tenant, try to hang on to them. Once their lease agreement expires, give them the option to renew the lease agreement for another one year term. This is also a good opportunity to present a rent increase if the market allows for one. If you have been responsive as a landlord and have built a trusting relationship with your tenants, they are likely to stay. To learn more about how to establish healthy tenant-landlord relationships, contact Specialized Property Management Orlando today. Simply call 407-682-3355 to get started!