Tenant Appreciation Course
March 1, 2000
Good tenants are a treasure. Any other kind of treasure you would guard, protect and cherish. But too many times as landlords, we forget about our treasured customers who pay their rent on time, never cause a disturbance, take care of their homes and are good neighbors.
Fact is, 95 percent of tenants are good. We want them to continue making their homes with us. Here are four ways to help show them that you are just about the best landlord there is.
1. Always do what you say you will do. Just as important, never promise something you can’t do. For example, a tenant complains about noise or inappropriate behavior from another of your tenants. Tell the complaining tenant, “I’ll look into it and get back to you. If you haven’t heard from me in two or three days, call me.” Never under any circumstances promise to fix the problem or to do something specific by a certain time; you haven’t gotten the other tenant’s side of the story.
Investigate the problem and call the complaining tenant with a summary of your findings and what you are doing to correct the problem.
If you promise to deal with the situation by a certain date and time, you had better be right on time or the tenant will remember only that you didn’t do what you said you would.
2. Survey tenants for unfulfilled expectations, then fill them. Find out if there is anything they had expected that they are not getting from their home. Suppose with the noisy neighbors your tenant never called you. He just seethed quietly in a dark corner of his apartment, thinking about moving. He’d even started checking the newspaper to see what was available. Then he gets a survey form from you wanting to know how things are in his home. Does he ever let you know.
There is no way to know all the reasons tenants don’t call you to complain. So you have to give them the opportunity to tell you what’s on their minds. Now go back to number one.
3. Do something to reward good tenants. It may not be much, but it could mean a lot. A thank you note for being such a good resident goes a long way. Too many times people say to themselves, “I always pay my rent on time and am careful not to bother anybody, but nobody appreciates me.”
If you don’t feel as if a thank you note is enough, send flowers, a box of candy, or a bottle of champagne.
4. Don’t trade off bad service or conditions for lower rent. Paint is peeling, all kinds of things need repair—none of them serious, but it looks shabby. Good tenants don’t think about the rent being low, only that the place doesn’t look very good. They might even think the rent is too high for a “dump like this.” Lower rents won’t get good tenants to trade off for unsatisfactory conditions, only bad tenants.
Keeping good tenants means keeping your eye on the customer service ball. Never miss an opportunity to do the little things and the big things to provide top-notch service to your tenants. Then you can look forward to having your good tenants stay with you a long time and thank you for being their landlord.