In addition to clarifying your expectations for rent, here are 8 of the most important things you can help your tenants understand:
- The rent due date is not negotiable
If your tenant is struggling to pay rent on time and can’t seem to come up with the money on a consistent date, that’s a bad sign. When your tenant first signed the lease, that was their opportunity to negotiate the date their rent would be officially due. If there isn’t a specific date that does work for them, they may be in bigger trouble.
No matter how well you know your tenant’s financial situation, avoid giving them the impression that they can pay their rent on different dates. Do whatever it takes to get your tenant to understand that the rent due date is not negotiable.
It’s understandable that circumstances change over time, and perhaps your tenant has changed jobs and has a new pay cycle. That’s different. If that’s what’s going on, you can adjust the due date going forward.
- How to shut off the water at every point
It’s dangerous to assume that everyone knows how to shut off the water when needed. If a tenant hasn’t needed to perform a repair, it’s unlikely they’ll know how to shut off the water.
If your tenant doesn’t know how to shut off the water in an emergency situation, you could end up with severe water damage to your property. If you’ve got hardwood floors or any type of flooring that could be easily damaged by water, this is an especially important piece of information to share with tenants.
Make sure you have every new tenant practice turning off the water in front of you. If you just point out the levers when you walk them through the house, they might forget what to do when a pipe actually bursts.
Don’t forget the well water
If there’s a well on your property, make sure the tenant knows how to shut off the water supply to the hand pump, too. People usually hook up garden hoses to hand pumps, and if they forget to put away the hoses in winter, the connection could burst in a freeze.
This video of a man trying to contain a bursting flow of water shows the extent of damage that can occur when the water doesn’t get shut off immediately. Don’t hesitate to show a video like this to your tenants to let them know their personal belongings are at risk of being damaged, too.
- How to turn off the gas
Whether you have a gas stove or furnace, your tenants need to know how to shut it off at all sources. In any emergency situation, such as a suspected gas leak, your tenant should know to dial 911. However, there are other circumstances where they may need to shut off the gas.
If you’re running propane on your property, your tenant needs to know how it works. Teach them how to open and close the valve on the large storage tank as well as the valve for the main source that leads to the house.
The shutting down of any gas-powered appliances located in the home should also be discussed.
- Communication leads to better resolution
If you’ve ever had a tenant who doesn’t communicate, you can surely appreciate the ones who do. Your tenants need to know that hiding out isn’t going to help their situation.
For instance, if they can’t pay their rent, ignoring your phone calls and not contacting you for several days isn’t acceptable. They need to know you’ll have more respect for them, and be willing to work with them, when they make the effort to communicate.
- Frozen pipes can and do burst
There is a special tubing material that can withstand the expansion that accompanies a frozen pipe. This special material doesn’t burst. However, you may not have that advantage and instead, you have to rely on your tenants to remember to drip the faucet on cold nights.
In a perfect world, your tenants would remember to look at the temperature daily in the winter, so they know when to drip the faucets. In reality, you may need to call them to remind them of a coming freeze.
If you haven’t already insulated your pipes and the areas they run through, check out this informational video from This Old House for some tips and tricks.
- Report everything that breaks
Your tenants may not think certain things are a big deal when they break, especially when they’re used to landlords who don’t bother with major repairs. If that’s what they’re used to, they’ll be in the habit of creating workarounds.
For instance, when their cat ruins the blinds, they’ll just put up a blanket. Or when the toilet starts leaking, they’ll wrap a towel around the base. To your tenant, that might seem like a perfectly acceptable way to handle the problem.
Let your tenants know the importance of reporting everything that breaks. What’s minor to them may not be minor to you. Not everything will require fixing, but it should always be your call.
- Landlords value the truth
Life happens, and tenants get themselves into situations they’d rather not discuss with their landlord. That’s fine when the situation doesn’t affect their ability to pay rent or involve property damage. However, sometimes it does, and your tenant tells you a story you don’t quite believe.
Tenants aren’t usually trying to be dishonest; they hide the truth when they’re embarrassed to tell you what actually happened. However, if their kid flushes a toy down the toilet, you need to know the truth, so you can solve the problem as quickly as possible.
When a tenant signs the lease, especially when they have kids, let them know that you understand things can happen beyond their control. Tell them you value the truth about every situation above everything else. Make sure they understand that telling the truth when something embarrassing happens is only going to earn your trust.
Let Green Residential Help
We can’t prevent kids from flushing toys down the toilet, but we can help you build better relationships with your tenants through our professional property management services.
We make life easier for Katy landlords by screening tenants, collecting rent, and handling those late-night emergency maintenance calls. Call us today for a no obligation quote to find out how we can help you with these services and more.