We have heard horror stories about landlords. From the nosy ones to those who find something to charge you for whenever they run broke and those who evict their tenants out of sheer malice. But some business savvy landlords know the importance of treating tenants well and keeping them happy.
Having a good relationship with tenants means that they stay longer and begin to think of the place as their own which means that they will look after the home with more care.
There are a few things a property owner can do to create a satisfactory relationship with tenants.
Treat the tenant as you would want to be treated, with respect and honesty. Do not take advantage of their desperation for a home and make false promises.
Make sure that you have a rental agreement that clearly outlines everything you expect from the tenant including bill payment rules and regulations. A colleague is hastily looking for a new house after their landlady attempted to charge them twice.
“My landlady came to me one morning and demanded payment. Fortunately I had the money and gave her three months’ worth.
Unfortunately, she didn’t receipt it and I didn’t worry about it thinking she was an honourable person. Last week, she started calling about the same payment. I tried to explain to her that I had already paid but she feigned ignorance,” she narrated. The impasse was broken by her daughter who happens to be a neighbour and had witnessed the transaction.
Tenants do not appreciate the landlord dropping in every time he feels like. Susan Bukulu, a business woman, describes her landlord as a generally nice guy but his problem is his lack of boundaries.
“He calls and sends massages even though I have told him that it is not necessary. My biggest annoyance are his impromptu visits apparently to just check on me,” Bukulu narrates. Much as you are trying to establish a relationship, too much of your presence makes the tenant feel suffocated. Limit your visits, calls and texts to only necessary occasions.
Don’t pressurise for rent
Ambrose Kibuuka, a businessman, has been living in his current home for close to five years and plans to leave while moving into his own home. Unlike other places he had previously lived, Kibuuka’s new landlord never puts him under pressure when rent is due.
“I can even go into arrears of five months without him complaining. This puts the obligation on me to honour his trust and clear my arrears without him harassing me,” says Kibuuka.
Olivia Kyomuhendo, a telecom executive went as a tenant but now ranks her former landlady among people that have positively influenced her life.
“I lived in this great woman’s house when I had just gotten married and I had no job. She kept asking why I was choosing to become a stay home wife at my age.
When I explained that I had failed to get a job, she connected me to a friend who gave me my first job and things got better from then. Next she advised us to start saving and set up our own home and went ahead to help with transactions since she is a lawyer. She is a great woman,” Kyomuhendo fondly recounts her experience with her inspirational landlady.
Not every landlord is able to cause such change or create such a relationship but it would be great to show kindness and treat tenants as humanely as possible.
Endeavour to keep your property in perfect condition. If something breaks down, repair it without making a fuss. A fully functioning place will make your tenants feel proud as well as giving you peace of mind. Birrex Tumwine, still fondly remembers one of her landlords’ efforts to keep his place as fully functioning as possible by filling the water tanks at his own expense whenever there was a water shortage.
Small gestures go a long way.
Give holiday gifts like calendars and seasonal greetings cards. Create an estate newsletter to celebrate the estate’s highlights. Throw a block party on a holiday.