The relationship between a landlord and a tenant has to be strictly business and professional. In the past, we have run into complications that can occur when the landlord directly contacts the tenant even though a management company is in place. Today, we are sharing a couple of examples of what you don’t want to do when it comes to your tenant relationship.
Protect Your Privacy
Never give the tenant your direct phone number. The tenant will call you for mundane things. You’ll be bothered with calls about minor repairs and emergency repairs. You’ll get questions about charges in the tenant ledger. This is what you hire a management company for; they’re on your team to uphold the lease agreement, so leave these things to them. Don’t discuss anything with your tenant.
Protect the Tenant’s Privacy
Never show up at the property. The Landlord Tenant Act requires that the tenants receive 48 hours notice prior to anyone coming to the property to inspect. Even though you own the property, simply showing up is prohibited and it makes the tenant nervous.
Changing the Contract
Don’t give the tenant relief when it comes to the rent or the rental agreement independent of your property manager. Once you have made a promise or changed the terms of the contract, we cannot uphold the contract at all and the lease agreement gets voided or changed. So the tenants have a precedent if they want to waive late fees or HOA requirements and other responsibilities. Go through your property manager before agreeing to any changes.
Marketing and Advertising
Marketing the property to find a tenant independent of your property manager is not a good idea. Specific rules govern the verbiage that’s used in advertising and what numbers and contact information can be displayed. These things are monitored by the Arizona Department of Real Estate and the federal Fair Housing Act. The advertising needs to be based upon those rules. You can get your property manager in trouble and incur fines when you run your own ads or try to find your own tenant. Most property managers do a great job of marketing and can find you the right tenant.
Friends and Family
You don’t want to rent to friends or family. This creates awkward situations with those friends and family members, and it can be a deal breaker for relationships. Most of the problems we have seen with friends and families turn into disasters. Tenants don’t pay for months and the owner doesn’t want to evict a friend, so they let things go. Then they get frustrated and the property manager has to take care of it and relationship is broken. Stay away from this risk.
Avoid Making Promises
Don’t make promises directly to the tenant. If the tenant wants to put up a patio screen on the back of the house, don’t say yes and give permission. Consult with your property manager and let them make that call for approval or disapproval. You can stay out of the chain of responsibility and there may be legal reasons that prevent you from doing what the tenant wants to do.
Selling the Property
Finally, don’t try to sell your property without talking to your property manager. There are forms, documents and leases that you need to be aware of and have in hand. Your real estate agent will need them to coordinate with the tenant and understand that tenant’s rights during the marketing and sales process. We will hear all the time about owners selling and the management company being the last to know. That can cause problems in escrow and you have to think about what happens to the tenant. Buyers might expect the tenants to move out but their lease agreement could prevent it.
Your property manager is your team member and should be consulted on the decisions you’re making about the property. If you have any questions about this, please contact us at Paramount Property Management and Realty.