If you’re the landlord, does it really matter if a tenant trusts you? Absolutely. A tenant who trusts and respects their landlord is less likely to cause careless damage to the property. They’re also more likely to communicate with you and work with you to resolve problems.
Here are 6 ways to earn your tenant’s trust:
Include electricity in the rent
You can build trust with your tenant by making their life easier. Reducing the number of individual bills they need to juggle and pay will help immensely.
If you’re renting an apartment to a single person or a couple, it’s easy to cover all utilities in the rent including electricity. Many tenants are looking for rentals that cover utilities because they want to know exactly how much money they’ll need to spend each month on housing costs. When electricity bills fluctuate, some people have a hard time keeping up with payments.
With electricity covered, a tenant has one less bill to worry about. It doesn’t matter if the inclusion costs them slightly more than their actual usage – eliminating a bill eliminates uncertainty. Your tenants will appreciate this. However, make sure you don’t overcharge for electricity.
There are pros and cons to including utilities in the rent. For example, some tenants don’t bother to conserve energy when someone else is footing the bill. However, depending on how your unit is set up, it might be worth it.
Don’t overcharge tenants for screening fees
Tenant screening shouldn’t be a source of income for you. Although Texas law places no limit on the amount you can collect in application fees, you should only charge a tenant what it costs you. It’s reasonable to add five or ten dollars to cover your time, mailing supplies, and gas when necessary. However, a tenant will know when they’re being overcharged, and even if they get approved for the unit, the sour feeling of being overcharged will remain and will be a point against you.
Don’t charge the maximum allowable security deposit (without reason)
Texas doesn’t limit the amount you can charge for a security deposit. However, individual cities and municipalities can have limits, so check your local laws before determining your security deposit amount.
With that said, if you are limited to a certain amount, don’t charge the maximum amount without reason. The majority of Texas landlords charge a security deposit equal to one month’s rent, and that’s a fair standard to follow. Don’t be unreasonable. Tenants face unreasonable fees everywhere they go from taxes to overpriced food and other goods. Don’t add to their frustrations and don’t make tenants feel like you’re trying to rip them off.
The same goes for late fees. Just because you can charge more doesn’t mean you should.
Include yard maintenance in the rent
These days, who has time for yardwork? Most people are working 9-5 jobs that require long commutes and sometimes weekend work. When people come home from work, all they want to do is rest and relax. Some tenants are so busy they don’t have time to mow the lawn.
Including basic yard maintenance in the rent gives tenants a well-kept yard without any effort. Sure, they could hire their own maintenance crew (whenever they remember), but wouldn’t you rather know your yard is being taken care of on a regular basis?
You can get basic yard maintenance like lawn mowing and weed whacking for $100/month or less.
Give tenants your references and your own background check
Some tenants have been forced to move because the landlord couldn’t pay the mortgage on the home they were renting. These tenants are aware that it could happen again. Other tenants have been hustled by unscrupulous landlords who never returned their security deposit.
You can create trust with your tenants by offering them references from recent renters who have a great experience with you as a landlord. You can also provide them with a recent background check that shows you have no bankruptcies, liens, or judgments against you.
Providing this information to tenants demonstrates that you consider trust a two-way street. Your transparency and honesty will go a long way.
Be willing to help when you don’t legally have to
Go the extra mile for your tenants! They will appreciate your generosity and they will feel like they’re more than just another source of income for you. When you need something from them later on, they’ll be more likely to agree to your requests, even if they are a bit inconvenient.
For example, say you have a tenant with a physical disability. Tenants are allowed to make certain modifications without your permission. However, some tenants will still call their landlord to get those modifications approved. Although it’s the tenant’s responsibility to hire someone to make the modifications, ask them if they’d like you to do it for them free of charge.
The modifications might be something as simple as installing special door handles, grab bars in the shower, or replacing a low toilet. If you can afford to cover the requested modifications, you’ll make your tenant happy and earn their trust in a big way, especially since many disabled people are on fixed incomes.
However, avoid asking a tenant with a disability if they need any modifications if they haven’t said anything. Wait until they approach you.
Tenants often get anxiety when moving out of a unit and worry about the small things. Regardless of who installs the modifications, let your tenant know they don’t need to remove the modifications when they leave so they don’t have to worry about anything.
Want someone else to do the work for you?
Being a landlord is hard work. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we’re here to help. At Green Residential, we’ve got decades of experience in property management. Our team of experts will handle everything for you from tenant screening and rent collection to maintenance and repairs.
Contact us today for a free analysis to see how we can do the work for you.