Maintaining good relations with your tenants is always a worthy goal. However, right now that’s easier said than done. Now that the world has been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic, people are more on edge than ever.
It’s becoming increasingly hard for landlords to maintain good relationships with their tenants when their tenants can’t pay rent. Unfortunately, the number of frustrated, agitated tenants will only grow larger when the nationwide eviction moratorium ends.
To maintain peace with tenants, landlords will need to up their communication game going forward. The following strategies will help.
1. Know how your local rental assistance programs work
Your tenants will be counting on you to have a full understanding of all available coronavirus rental assistance programs. Depending on your area, you might have a local assistance program that only works when the landlord enrolls.
That means your renters can’t get relief until you get approved for the program. Not knowing your role in the program can delay assistance and create tension between you and your tenants.
Tenants are struggling to get rental assistance
Many tenants need their landlord’s help when it comes to rental assistance, but aren’t getting what they need. For example, a San Antonio man told his local news station that he tried to apply for rental assistance through city and state programs, but “got the runaround” from his landlord.
The tenant said his landlord gave him pushback on crucial documents and never submitted one of his paper applications. One year later, he was still unable to get assistance and was evicted when the CDC’s eviction moratorium ended.
Be committed to helping your tenants get assistance
If you live in an area like San Antonio where your tenants depend on you to apply for rental assistance, hire a property management company. Professional property managers will know exactly how the programs work and what is required to get tenants help. If you own property in San Antonio, connect with Green Residential’s team of experienced property managers.
To learn more about what they offer San Antonio landlords, visit their website. A professional property management team won’t leave anything up to chance. They’ll get your properties enrolled quickly and will work with your tenants to ensure they get their applications in fast.
Encourage your tenants to apply for assistance
While some tenants don’t know about rental assistance programs, others are choosing not to apply because they don’t want to make the effort. Unfortunately, a large number of tenants see the eviction moratorium as a free ride to skip rent. They don’t see the point in applying for assistance since they have no intention of paying rent in the first place.
It’s an unfortunate situation, but you might have a tenant who falls into this category. Do your best to encourage your tenants to apply for rental assistance. Let them know that applying for assistance is easy and offer your help if needed.
Also, be sure to let tenants know that getting approved for rental assistance will reduce the amount of rent they owe you and it’s free money, so it won’t cost them anything to apply.
Remind them that the moratorium will end eventually and if they haven’t paid rent, they will be evicted at that time. Tell your tenants if they qualify for a decent amount of rental support, those payments could prevent them from being evicted when the moratorium ends.
2. Offer help whenever possible
You probably have several tenants that are struggling. If you own multiple apartment complexes, it’s even more likely. While you can’t save all of your tenants from an inevitable eviction, you can do small things to help them out.
For example, give those who pay rent on time a discount. For those who haven’t paid rent, give them a gift basket full of food and ask them if they need anything like toilet paper. You can also fill their basket with non-essential things like:
- A gift card to a local restaurant
- A $20 bill
- Some coffee
- Snacks like chips or candy
- Sparkling water
A little bit of help can go a long way with your tenants, especially if you need to evict them in the future. They won’t be happy, but hopefully they’ll remember that you helped them and they won’t take the eviction personally. At the very least, perhaps it will lessen the impact and they won’t be so angry.
Angry tenants are more likely to destroy your property when evicted. If you maintain positive communications and have actively reached out to help, even an evicted tenant is less likely to direct their anger toward you by destroying your rental property.
3. Take the high road
There will be some trying times ahead that will elicit strong emotional reactions even from calm people. If you encounter a tenant who tries to start a fight with you, always take the high road. Don’t argue, fight, or yell at your tenants. Don’t give them any ammunition to use against you and don’t do or say anything that will escalate the situation.
Keep yourself in a state of calm and clarity no matter what. If your tenant won’t have a calm, rational conversation with you, or they aren’t willing to work with you if you’re offering help, stop trying.
If you need to file an eviction, file the paperwork and provide your tenant with all legally-required notices. Don’t attempt any unnecessary communication with your tenant. Also, avoid communicating in text messages or over social media.
4. Don’t wait to fix anything
If your tenant reports a small problem, don’t wait to fix the issue. That small issue would probably be no big deal under normal circumstances, but during the pandemic it could be a source of major frustration for your tenant.
Tenant relationships can be volatile under stressful conditions
You can only do your best to maintain positive and peaceful relations with your tenants under stressful times. Your strategies will work with some and not with others and that’s okay. Don’t let that stop you from trying. With any effort, you’ll have better relations with the tenants who are willing to meet you halfway.