If you’ve been a property manager or landlord for even just a short amount of time – you know the drill. Some unforeseeable problem occurs at your property, your tenant is set off, and then your tenant dresses up like Rambo and comes knocking on your door at 2:00 a.m. ready to rumble.
Well, maybe it doesn’t always happen like that even though it may feel like it, but it’s likely that at some point or another even the most attentive landlords will face a disagreement with a tenant.
Don’t Lose Your Temper
When someone is screaming through the other end of the phone or banging down your front door with an issue they are having at your property, it’s easy to quickly become aggressive in the face of aggression. Just as you feed off the tension from your angry tenant, they will begin to feed off your calm demeanor so it’s important to immediately shift the conversation to a peaceful discussion.
If you lose your temper your tenant will become even more upset and you’re unlikely to think clearly and come to a quick resolution. Use phrases like “I’m on your side,” or “I want to make this right,” in a calm and understanding voice. The last thing you want is retaliation from a tenant living in your investment property.
Sometimes it’s important to know when to just be quiet and listen. If your angry tenant is constantly interrupting you and not listening to reason – they may just want to be heard first. Set your ego and any grudges aside and just attentively listen until they’ve gotten it off their chest, and then begin an amicable discussion.
Set Clear Timelines
When your tenant’s anger is the result of problem not being resolved in a timely manner, setting clear goals and timelines for those resolutions will put your tenant at ease. Saying you will “get to fixing the broken shower” will enrage an angry tenant as it shows no resolution.
While you likely can’t resolve the issue at that very moment, let your tenant know exactly what to expect. “I can have the shower fixed tomorrow by Noon as the plumber is receiving the new part today and will be at the property first thing in the morning.”
Your tenant knows they only need to take one more shower at the gym before theirs is fixed and that kind of mental preparation and planning ability helps calm people down.
Offer Some Kind of Compensation for their Issue, if You Did Screw Up!
If the issue at your rental property is huge inconvenience to the tenant or a big mistake on your part, it may be time to fork over some cash. Let’s say the furnace is out of commission in the middle of a cold winter, and can’t be fixed for a week. This may require your tenant to stay with a friend or at a local hotel.
By offering to reduce the rent for that month or give a tenant back some of the rent they’ve already paid, or cover expenses, they will likely feel the cost savings is a fair exchange for the inconvenience the issue has caused.
And sometimes tenants scream the loudest when they’re just looking for a little compensation. It may be that a little wiggle room on expenses will turn a heated conversation into all smiles for your tenant.
Regardless, being a property manager or landlord takes a lot of patience and understanding. Maybe working with a property helper that is experienced in tenant relationships and keeping the peace will help you to avoid any potential conflict in the future!