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How to Set Healthy Boundaries with Tenants: 5 Tips for Landlords

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Landlord shaking hands with new tenants.

Let’s face it, being a landlord is no easy feat. You have to deal with everything from potentially difficult tenants, property management, and maintenance. It can be time consuming and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. If you want to maintain a healthy atmosphere on your property, take the time to establish boundaries with your tenants and clearly communicate rules. We’ve put together some tips on how to do that below.

Set Healthy Boundaries by

Creating a Contract With Your Tenants

The first step is to create a lease contract with your tenants. You can use this legal document to set up the rules and guidelines that you both agree will govern your relationship. Make sure to do everything you can to avoid gray areas in your lease. Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Be as specific as possible
  • Verify that you have the correct information (addresses, dates, names, etc…) noted in the lease
  • Clarify who is responsible for what (maintenance, utilities, etc…)

Don’t forget that federal and local laws may dictate parts of your lease. If you have questions, a lawyer can help clear those up.

Set Healthy Boundaries by

Establishing a Routine With Your Tenants

The next thing you want to do is establish a routine with your tenants. This should include setting and keeping specific business hours. Give your tenants a clear time when they can make rent payments, request maintenance, or ask non-emergency questions.

Of course, there will be emergencies that occur outside of normal business hours and can’t wait. You should always provide a way for your tenants to reach you outside of business hours, but make sure to clarify what is considered an emergency. That way you can avoid having tenants calling you at all hours of the day and night or on weekends with simple questions.

You can also cut down on contact both during and outside of business hours by using LandlordStation to accept rent payments and maintenance requests. This will allow your tenants to do these things when it’s convenient for them regardless of your business hours or other availability.

Set Healthy Boundaries by

Communicating With Your Tenants

You need to communicate with your tenants. You don’t have to be overly friendly with them, but you do need to be clear and direct with them. Make sure your tenants have all the appropriate guidelines and contact information.

Be sure to keep records of all communications with your tenants, including emails and notes from any phone calls. If there’s ever a dispute, this will help you prove what was said and done.

Finally, if you live close to your tenants, it can be easy to blur the professional lines. If you do, a tenant may expect special treatment. Be clear about late or missed rent, how to report maintenance issues, and conflicts with other tenants.

Set Healthy Boundaries by

Standing Up for Yourself

Some tenants can be aggressive. Be clear with tenants about what behavior is acceptable and what behavior is not, and make sure to treat all tenants equally. If a tenant is aggressive, document everything and reach out to your lawyer. Your lawyer will be able to provide guidance on what is required to start the eviction process and paperwork is needed.

Set Healthy Boundaries by

Welcoming New Tenants

Last, but not least, you want to make sure you’re welcoming any new tenants with your clear healthy boundaries already in place. One way to do this is by having a tenant welcome package or handbook that outlines all the rules, regulations, and boundaries you have. By putting it all in a welcome package or handbook, you ensure that they can’t miss the information.

This welcome package or handbook can also serve as a great way to offer information not included in the lease. A few things to include are:

  • Local utility names and phone numbers
  • Nearby restaurants
  • Nearby parks
  • Other local attractions

Providing these details allows you to be helpful without having to be available to your tenant all the time or feeling like you’re playing tour guide.

Conclusion

Setting healthy boundaries with tenants can be difficult, but it is important to do. Clearly communicated rules will make sure that tenants know what is and isn’t allowed in your rental property. Welcome new tenants and make sure that you are following your lease and not bending the rules to suit your needs. With all of this in mind, you can ensure that your property is well maintained and that your tenants don’t feel like they are being taken advantage of.

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