When you're responsible for your property management, Leesburg landlords, you may find that forging strong bonds with your renters is generally rewarding and positive. Part of the problem with difficult tenants in this mindset is that you often don't see them coming—and what works well with the majority of tenants will allow you to be taken advantage of by the unscrupulous.
Scammers are more active than ever during a crisis like COVID-19. While it's tempting to be less vigilant and more trusting, this simply leaves you unprepared.
That said, there are still some wise choices you can make to both keep up communication with your renters and to prevent yourself from ending up in hot water.
Please note: This blog is not intended to act as legal advice. When in doubt, reach out to your skilled attorney or your trusted Leesburg property management partner!
Stay Professional: Warm, but Not Friends
One of the first mistakes that can seem harmless when handling your own property management, Leesburg landlords, is letting your landlord-renter relationship move from professional to friendship. You can be kind, outgoing, and pleasant with tenants—but crossing the line to spending time together socially, talking frequently, and relying on each other can be dangerous. Some people don't handle paying their rent to a friend the way they'd pay it to a friend-ly but otherwise professional landlord!
The darker side of becoming friends with tenants is the possibility of a falling-out. During the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on our community, the last thing any landlord wants to have to deal with is frustrations caused by forming bonds with your renters that violated the business nature of your relationship. This falling out could impact the tenant's willingness to keep the property looking nice or repair damages they cause, and it could also cause them to withhold rent.
For the same reason that we recommend that landlords avoid renting to friends and family, you should avoid creating these types of bonds with your renters. Creating a money obligation between friends or family can strain the relationship, and no one wants to lose close friends and family over a landlord dispute or a disagreement with your residents.
Start From a Place of Calm With Everyone
While we definitely advocate for professional relationships, that doesn't mean being harsh or intense with your renters when tempers are running high. When you feel like there needs to be an explanation due to a noise complaint or a late rent payment, make sure you are calm and patient. While some tenants are complicated, no matter what, others only become a challenge to work with because they feel like no one is listening to them. During COVID-19, when so many have been impacted on a massive scale, this is especially true.
By listening, taking notes if needed, and asking your tenants to explain what they think the next steps should be, you can often get collaborative and resolve disputes without drama or escalation. On the other hand, people who might be prone to being difficult may decide that they don't like or respect you if they don't feel heard—so this step is essential for making sure you have as few difficulties as possible.
This can be a bit harder to do face-to-face during social distancing and other measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, so it helps if you've already established alternative means of communication with your renters. Carefully using a medium like email can also make it easier to keep written records of your interactions.
Practice Good Record-Keeping
Working with a calm demeanor is one of the tools we use as one of the top providers of property management Leesburg has to offer! This approach allows you to professionally get all the facts and then get them down in writing.
Your good record-keeping is key if you end up dealing with a "Professional Tenant." This is someone who is willing to take advantage of the back-and-forth of landlord-renter relationships and has an extensive understanding of landlord-renter law to carry it out. By tracking everything your tenants request, all of your own responses, all of your requests, and their responses, you build a compelling case if you ever need to take a dispute to court.
Keep in mind, too, that the ability to settle disputes in court may be suspended during a time of crisis—so good documentation is key to ensuring you land on your feet.
Differences Between Temporary Struggles and Professional Tenants
While a bad experience with a renter who took advantage of your goodwill can color your perceptions, try to treat your residents with respect—especially during a disaster scenario.
- Many tenants who would not otherwise be late or miss rent may need some understanding right now.
- Talking through what they can handle or how they'll work to pay back rent in the future generates goodwill.
- This can also help you to keep a long-term renter who is usually completely on top of payments.
In general, you'll be able to see a big difference between a tenant's behavior before and during a crisis like COVID-19. This tends to indicate they aren't difficult tenants, just experiencing difficulty in their lives. Even when the rent is still due, a little compassion goes a long way.
That's just one of the many advantages of working with professional property management, Leesburg landlords: we know how to spot a Professional Tenant before they reach your rental home.
Professional Property Management, Leesburg, Can Help!
If you know that managing renter relationships during a pandemic is not something you want to have to handle, the best property management Leesburg has to offer may be the right choice for you. Your property manager will have organized, professional processes for documenting and working with renters—even during a crisis.
There's no need to have strained interactions with your residents: your property manager knows how to track misbehavior or missing payments so that you don't have to. If you're ready to learn more about how the best property management Leesburg landlords have access to can help you, get in touch with us at Gunn Property Services! We are your expert for property management in the Leesburg area. We've got the tools and skills you need to take on a tough property at any time.