Have you got the time to keep in touch with tenants?

There’s a great article doing the rounds in lettings circles, offering property managers advice for keeping in touch with tenants. Forging a good relationship with people that live in the properties you manage is vital for the smooth running of the let. It will also please landlords, who are paying you to protect their asset (and do the communicating on their behalf).

Having an open dialogue with tenants means they more likely to flag up small niggles before they turn in to major problems, as well as divulging any thoughts they may have about invoking a break clause or vacating the property at the end of the tenancy agreement.

The suggestions in the article include pre-arranged face-to-face meetings with tenants, making phone calls and sending regular emails. We agree with the sentiment that using calendars and reminders to prompt you when to make contact takes some of the pressure off scheduling contact – some form of formalised diary management is prudent.

A personal relationship with the tenant, however, might feel like hard work but in a property climate where getting a roof over your head is a struggle for many, let properties are subject to misuse. Sub letting is still a major issue in the industry – from large scale operations where families are paying to live in one room and Airbnb-style holiday lets, to offering a room out on ‘mates rates’ and casual sofa surfing. Without regular communication and property inspections, these issues can go unnoticed – invalidating insurances, contradicting tenancy agreements and landing property managers in hot water along the way.

It’s not that lettings professionals are lazy when it comes to fostering relationships. It’s normally the case of a friendly call to the tenant is at the bottom of the list – getting pushed so far down by more pressing matters that it just disappears.

Time, or the lack of, is the issue. Even with all the prompts and diary reminders in the world, sometimes it’s easier to press ‘remind me later’ or even ‘dismiss’ when there’s not enough time to ring round or meet tenants for a quick 10 minute catch up.

Property management isn’t a ‘hands off’ business though – tenants shouldn’t to self manage as soon as they collect the key. What’s more, landlords are trusting you to keep communication channels open, so making sure you have time to make that call or visit is vital.

ARPM

Simon Duce is the Founder and Managing Director of ARPM Outsourced Lettings Support - a business designed to help small and start-up letting agents/property managers offer a full suite of property management and tenancy administration services through outsourcing.

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