As a landlord your job is to find good residents for your property. Let’s be clear; good tenants pay the rent on time and take care of their housing as if it was their own. Good residents are a rare and precious commodity. You’ll set a positive tone early with your new tenant by listening to their concerns and taking action.
Here’s what to do during your first 30 days with a new tenant:
Get your new tenant online early
After the leasing documents have been signed direct your new resident to your website and the social media addresses you use to communicate with your residents. On your website should be links for
- maintenance requests
- online rent payments
- basic orientation for new tenants
- social media sites for your community
- up-to-date information regarding your complex
Your new resident may or may not tap into your online resources before she moves in, but it is important to set the tone that the most effective method of communication is via your tenant portal.
Before the move-in
Avoid hassles on moving day and run through the basic maintenance checklist prior to residents moving in. Make sure
- all appliances are in working order
- the unit is bug-free
- filters have been replaced
- the fresh paint is dry
- the unit is clean, odor free and vacuumed
Moving is a stressful experience but you can make the day easier for your residents. Your new tenant will notice your efforts! Prepare
- a spot for the moving van
- a tenant welcome letter and tenant package
- bottles of water waiting in the fridge
- a print copy of the tenant handbook
Sometime during this day you will need to go over the apartment with your new tenant, making sure you are both on the same page in regards to the condition of the unit. With the use of video all of the details can be documented and signed off by both of you in no time.
There are apps for landlords that make the inspection process quick and easy.
Within 7 days
It’s time for your maintenance and property management teams to send a welcome email introducing themselves. These messages will include information you have already covered with your new resident, but we all learn through repetition. In your communication review the standard expectations for
- rent payments
- late fees
- maintenance requests
- emergency procedures
- life safety matters
- tenant handbook compliance
Include links for each topic. Invite your new resident to join your online community via your social media and web sites.
After 14 days
Send your new resident a friendly email inquiring if she has any questions regarding the tenant handbook, any procedures or building protocols.
Also in your email include a surefire way to win friends and influence people – ask your new resident if she has 1 priority maintenance request you can address for her. Read that again: One. Yes, limit just 1 top priority. Despite the limit, you are addressing her needs and just the offer should go a long way in establishing happiness. Now you must hold up your end of the deal and address the maintenance issue within the week.
Always send new tenants a rent payment reminder prior to the next rent payment due date. Include your instructions for easy payment and provide a contact person.
After 30 days
If your resident has not already engaged in the online community, then invite her to join with links to your social media sites.
If there is one strong element that will keep good residents in a safe apartment, it is a feeling of belonging or community.
Develop a monthly online newsletter and ask tenants to contribute articles or tips. Host events that tap into the whole apartment complex. A strong community helps with building trust, credibility and rapport with tenants.
Communicating with your new tenant
Please note it’s important to keep a record of all communication between you and your new tenant. Companies such as AppFolio offer online property management software with two-way texting and customizable email features where all conversations are automatically logged in the program.
Any changes to your lease agreement and lease terms must be done in writing and require the signatures of all parties to the lease.
In order to keep the residents that pay rent on time and take care of their apartments, you have to keep the stream of communication ongoing. That takes work, but you already knew that, didn’t you? When your tenants are happy, then news will get around. They will attract more residents to your building.
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