What Are Landlord Stigmas and How Do You Avoid Them in the Rental Business?
Landlords get a bad reputation, which is sometimes deserved and sometimes not. If you're a new landlord, you want to avoid being cast as a “typical landlord.” First, you must know what that means, and then, you must figure out how to set yourself apart. Here are some typical landlord stigmas, and how to avoid being labeled with them.
Only Concerned About the Money
Landlords are often noted for only caring about getting the rent money. They provide the bare minimum for tenants and charge for every little extra. They make cheap repairs that will only partly solve the problem, and they aren’t willing to pay any more than necessary for fixes.
While this is certainly true of some landlords, the bottom line is that landlords do have to watch their, well, bottom line. Being a landlord is a business and it must be treated as such. You have to watch where your money goes and avoid overpaying for services. However, you can reverse this stigma by providing extra amenities that don’t cost you a lot of money. Learn how to find good deals when you update appliances to avoid just going with the economy version. Waive an occasional late fee for a tenant who is seldom late on the rent payment.
Landlords have to be careful about being too friendly or tenants could take advantage of their relationship and treat it more like a friendship. However, that often creates the false impression that a landlord is mean and unapproachable. To overcome this stereotype, you can be friendly while still maintaining a professional attitude.
Greet your tenants with a smile and a handshake, just like a banker or insurance agent would do. Send out “thank you” cards around Thanksgiving to let them know you appreciate them as tenants. Give out small goody bags around Halloween, Valentine’s Day, or another holiday, just to let them know you’re glad to have them. Just know where to draw the line, so tenants still view you with respect but not with fear.
Out to Get You
Some tenants think landlords are just waiting to get them for some small infraction of the rules. Others have the idea they can pull any stunt and the landlord will never find out. Either view is dangerous for the property owner and manager.
Make your presence known without having a bully attitude. Let your tenants know when you’ve seen them step over the line, but you can use a verbal warning for the first transgression without being seen as a jerk. You don’t want to let tenants get the idea they can break the rules, but you don’t have to give them harsh punishment for every instance where they make a mistake.
To avoid being seen as a bully, make sure everything is in writing and that your tenants are aware of all the rules. Use the verbal warning as a way to remind them of the rules, and let them know what they can expect to happen if the issue occurs again. Reward your good tenants and you’ll find you have more rule-followers than rule-breakers.
You can maintain order in your properties and still be seen in a positive light by your tenants. Know how to be nice and professional and you’ll end up breaking the stigma of the "typical landlord" — and have tenants who actually like you.
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