Good Landlords and Good Business
January 1, 2011
“As soon as the lease was signed, it was a nightmare! Her behavior is completely inappropriate and transcends normal social boundaries. She is a passive-aggressive bully, dishonest, greedy, and prone to making backhanded remarks. She is profoundly lacking when it comes to behaving professionally.” So reported a tenant about his landlord to a website where tenants can review their experiences with their landlords.
Did everything happen exactly the way the tenant wrote? Maybe. But maybe not. Whether it did or not is beside the point, isn’t it. A customer’s perception is more telling than the exact circumstances. We do know that this landlord, landlord one, spewed so much venom that her customer was angry enough to write about. Then how about this example?
“The apartment is really nice and very well maintained; you can’t even tell that someone has put a nail in the wall—ever. He is also very courteous as there was a problem with the hot water heater leaking, that didn’t even affect my apartment (I live upstairs), and he called me to let me know he had to work on it. He knew I was at work, but if I came home that I would not have water for a couple of hours.”
What an amazing difference! But how much different did one landlord act than the other one did? Notice the complaint about landlord one concerns the landlord’s attitude, not the way the property was maintained or the quality of the unit. Landlord one apparently has an all-around bad attitude and takes a “personal” interest in her tenants. Bad idea for any landlord.
Our relationship to our tenants is not to be their best buddies, to stick our noses in their business, or insert ourselves into their lives. Our relationship is one of business. We have a deal with them. They pay us rent, and we provide them with a pleasant place to live. How we go about that determines how well we do with our real estate investments.
Think about your own experiences. How many stores have you vowed NEVER to shop in again? Was it because of the quality of the merchandise? Was it the prices? Was it the difficulty in parking? Probably not. You might avoid a store for high prices or poor quality merchandise, but you won’t take a solemn oath to avoid it forever. Most likely you will never go back because of the bad attitude of the owner, manager or employees.
Our business relationship with our tenants is the same only more so. We can buy what we want hundreds of other places. Hundreds of other landlords rent properties, too. Almost every renter has a choice about where he or she will live.
People like to do business with people they like. The wealthiest people are often the nicest people because others enjoy doing business with them. Snarling, angry, exasperating people find themselves left out in the cold wondering why they don’t make any money.
Landlord two may not own any “better” or any “worse” property than landlord one. But landlord two’s tenant remembers the courtesy and consideration he received from his landlord. And it was something as simple as a phone call that landlord didn’t have to make—but did.
Apparently landlord two either realizes the importance of good customer relations or is simply a considerate person, or both. Regardless, if I was a renter, he is the kind of landlord whose property I would want to live in.
Think about the bottom line. How much turnover do you think landlord one has? And I’ll bet her tenants can’t wait to move out. What about landlord two? His tenants may hate to move, and only do so for reasons that make moving essential. They have heard the stories and fear they will end up with another landlord one after they find a new place to live. Remember, every vacancy costs at least one month’s rent.
Good customer relations make for good business. Just think, our tenants pay us thousands of dollars a year to live in our properties; they deserve our consideration and thanks. Good businesspeople value their customers; so do good landlords.