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Four Better ways for Property Managers to be the Bearer of bad News

Image is an illustration of a man in a suit holding a sign that says sorry on it.Being a rental property owner means that sometimes you have to be the bad guy. Delivering news about rent raises, amenity maintenance, or saying no to tenant requests can be difficult.  Rental property owners often choose to hire a professional property manager so that someone else can be the bearer of bad news.  Experienced property managers like Martin Feinberg know how to find ways to deliver bad news while keeping the landlord-tenant relationship intact.

Below are four things that tenants don’t like to hear, along with the best ways to break the news.

You won’t get the rental

Denying a rental application isn’t fun but every good property manager should know how to do it while being both considerate and empathetic.  Property managers should also know the legal requirements in their state before denying an application.  They need to also remember that an unqualified tenant could become qualified in the future, or could provide a referral to a tenant that does qualify.  Being aware of demeanor and tone when issuing a denial can go along way toward preventing bad feelings.

We are raising the rent. 

Sometimes, in order for a rental property investment to flourish, rent will need to be increased.  Taxes, inflation, and maintenance costs must be passed on to the tenant, and when those costs go up, rent needs to follow.  However, there are ways to lessen the surprise and distress for tenants facing an impending rent raise.  Property managers should always let tenants know why the increase is happening so that the tenant continues to feel valued. Property managers can also choose to raise the rent by small increases over a period of time rather than in a large jump to make the change more financially manageable.

This amenity is closed for maintenance

Most tenants enjoy the amenities that come with their rentals and will not be happy to hear that they won’t be available for a time.  To lessen tenant pushback, property managers should plan ahead and inform tenants as early as possible when maintenance is going to happen. This will lessen the disappointment of the bad news.  It’s also a good idea to schedule maintenance in the amenities’ seasonal downtime if possible.  Don’t refurnish the air conditioning units or close the pool for maintenance during the hottest summer months, for example.

We are keeping some of the security deposit

Image is two white text bubbles against a teal background.It can be difficult to tell a tenant that they will only be getting a partial refund of their security deposit back.  To avoid confrontation on the issue property managers should make sure tenants understand all expectations up-front. Tenants need to go over the lease, word for word, to ensure they understand what is expected of them while they are living in the property and also when they move out.  Property managers need to remind tenants that not all damage comes from property abuse, but can also be caused by neglecting to properly care for the property.  When that happens, they will be liable.

Giving tenants information that they are not going to want to hear is part of the job of a good property manager.  But bad news does not have to lead to bad relationships when property managers take some time and put in the effort to make the bad news as easy to accept as possible.