Having difficult conversations with tenants is one of the worst parts of property management. It is very normal for a property manager to call tenants for late rent, noise issues, illicit activity, and the list goes on and on. Handling these conversations properly helps to maintain a positive landlord/tenant relationship and overall better return on investment from the property. Depending on what the issue is, you may encounter an upset or combative tenant and you need to be ready. When approaching these conversations its best to rehash what the issue is before making the call to the tenant. Being on point and matter of fact will prevent the call from being hijacked onto an unrelated or non fact based discussion. Getting your point across and leaving a clear message is the the reason you are calling, you don’t need to do more and you cannot do less on the call. Once you get off the phone with the tenant make sure that you follow up with an e-mail, we send our communications through our property management software to make sure that they are documented and organized with each tenant and available for everyone in the company to see, anybody in the office can pick up where someone else leaves off. I don’t like reading such long posts so I have done my best to be brief here, what I have said above is a good start but I have a few more items to run through below that aren’t necessary but I do feel are useful.
Don’t forget that you are talking to a human being
The person that you are talking to has feelings and emotions. Although you do need to be fact based you don’t have to be cold either. Keep in mind that although a tenant may become aggressive or angry with you it is almost never personal, don’t let a tenant get under you skin. Being understanding and listening to the tenant can help the situation go much smoother.
Don’t be apologetic
Just because you are nervous about the call doesn’t mean that you are wrong. You can discuss something that your tenant needs to correct and you don’t have to be sorry about it.
Know how to end phone calls
Getting off of the phone should be (and maybe will be one day) a blog post of its own. There are lots of strategies like telling a white lie: “I have someone that just walked into my office so I have to get off the line now” or a canned closing statement “so in summary…”. Whatever works for you make sure that you can get off the phone with the tenants
If you have any questions, comments, or if you disagree with anything I’ve said please feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail.