Communication is key to long-term relationships
Have you ever taken your partner out for a celebratory dinner, and been frustrated with the service provided? Your starters aren’t cleared away promptly. You sit for what seems an eternity with empty glasses in front of you. Whenever you want something, you expend continuous effort getting a waiter’s attention, then nothing. You have to ask time and again for a clean spoon. Before you’ve even paid the bill, you’ve decided you’ll never visit this restaurant again.
One of the most common complaints against property management companies is a lack of communication. When we surveyed a section of our buy-to-let landlords, one of the things they appreciated most about our service was the fact that they don’t need to chase us for a response. We’re proactive in the management of properties and proactive in our communication with clients and tenants.
Here are tips on how you can communicate better with your tenants, taken straight from our best practices.
• Build trust by responding promptly
When tenants know that they will get a prompt response, they’ll be more at ease with letting you know of any problems. They’ll also be more forgiving if there are delays in fixing a leaking tap or other minor repair.
• Work with the tenant
If it’s time to renew your gas safety certificate, call the tenant and discuss what the best time is for the engineer to call. Don’t dictate the time, but instead, act as a liaison that accommodates all parties. You earn respect from the tenant, and they’ll be more likely to keep you in the loop with their plans (such as going on holiday).
A tenancy collaboration paves the way for a smooth and easily managed relationship. There is no need to be at war with a tenant.
• Communicate proactively
Proactive communication lets the tenant know that you care about their wellbeing. And when you care about them, they care about your property. Let them know in plenty of time if you’re planning any maintenance work. Phone regularly to make sure all is well.
Make a note of birthdays (if you know them), the moving-in anniversary, and other important dates in the calendar. Send them a note, or perhaps a small ‘anniversary’ gift.
They won’t have had treatment like this from a previous landlord. For a minimal cost, you’ll be rewarded with incredible loyalty.
• Make it easy for the tenant to contact you
There will be times when a tenant has a real emergency and needs to get hold of you or report a problem that needs attention. I’m afraid unless you can afford to put in place a repair reporting facility like ours, you’ll have to make do with calls at one o’clock in the morning. Messages are likely to be fuzzy, and mistakes in communication will be made.
Our repair reporting system practically eliminates this miscommunication. It allows the tenant to properly explain the issue, and supply photographic evidence. That means when we coordinate an emergency repair, the tradesman we send is armed with all the information upfront. The repair is completed quicker and more effectively – and that saves money.
Your buy-to-let property is a box that makes money, but your tenants are human
Your investment property should be an emotionless trade, but that doesn’t mean your tenants will feel the same way. In fact, you want them to fall in love with their new home. You also want them to fall in love with you. Remember they are human, and treat them with respect. You’ll get it right back, tenfold.
Communication is a key driver of satisfied clients. Here at Ezytrac, our clients are buy-to-let investors and people who have inherited a house and become accidental landlords and whose properties we manage; and, of course, their tenants. Contact us today, either by phone +44 1522 503 717 or via our online contact form, and we’ll explain more about our client relationship philosophy that all our clients find refreshing.
Brett Alegre-Wood MARLA MNAEA