Effective Communication Strategies with Tenants

(**) Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning our company, JCHQ Publishing will get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links, but at no additional cost to you.

Over the years, I’ve spoken with numerous property managers who believed they were on the same page with their tenants, only to later uncover misunderstandings or false expectations that led to larger problems.

Maybe it’s that maintenance request that went unnoticed, turning a small job into a costly repair. Or those client complaints that slip through the cracks, chipping away at our hard-earned reputation. And then there are the missteps that drag us into legal quicksand.

It’s not just about managing properties; it’s about navigating a minefield of potential miscommunications. So, how about we tackle this together? This guide is here to help us all refine our communication game, sidestep those pitfalls, and build stronger, clearer relationships with our tenants. Ready to get started?

Setting Clear Expectations Upfront

The clearer you are from the start, the smoother things go. Think of it as laying down the ground rules in a new friendship. Here’s my take on setting the stage right:

  • Lease Agreements: Think of this as your rulebook. Walk your tenants through it. Highlight the key parts, and make sure they get it. No one likes surprises later on.
  • Maintenance and Payments: Let your tenants know the drill. If they have a leaky faucet, how should they tell you? And when rent’s due, how should they pay? Lay out the process, and also give them a heads-up on what happens if they’re late.
  • Staying in Touch: It’s not just about collecting rent. Tell them how you’ll drop updates or any news. Could be an email, a quick call, or maybe a notice on the front door. Also, let them know the best way to reach you if they’ve got questions.
  • House Rules: Every place has them. Make sure your tenants know yours. And more than that, be upfront about what happens if they’re not followed. Consistency is key.

Most property management firms that I’ve been dealing with have a simple mantra: clarity from the get-go. Before a tenant even gets their keys, they’re briefed on the rent collection process, the requirement of obtaining renter’s insurance, the protocol for maintenance requests, and who’s in charge of yard duties like mowing and snow removal. This way, everyone’s on the same page, and greatly reduces the chance of unexpected surprises.

Buildium is an ALL-in-ONE software that allows property management companies to manage rental applications, maintenance requests, payment collections, tenant screening, showings coordination, property inspections, renter insurance, and many more. As a landlord, I also prefer the firm that I hire to use such a platform. If you are a property manager and want to streamline your business, you must click here to check out Buildium. (**)

Know Your Tenants Better

Understanding your tenants can streamline future communications.

  • Initial Meeting: A brief face-to-face chat when they move in can be invaluable. This not only helps you understand their expectations but also establishes an open communication line from the start.
  • Feedback Mechanisms: Introduce feedback forms—both online and offline. Regularly encourage tenants to share their concerns, suggestions, or appreciations, assuring them that every piece of feedback is valued and acted upon.

Yet, consistency in rules is crucial. But we’ve all been the newbie at some point, right? Imagine shifting from a snug condo to a sprawling house; that may require time to adopt to the changes.

Some tenants might need a little extra guidance, like tips on winterizing or a nudge to change out the furnace filter now and then.

And let’s be real, we all have that one tenant who’s juggling a million things. Why not suggest they set up auto rent collection? It’ll save both of you the headache and keep those awkward “rent is late” conversations with the landlord to a minimum.

Regular and Proactive Communication

Anticipate issues and communicate in advance.

  • Routine Check-ins: Instead of waiting for a concern to pop up, have scheduled calls or visits. This proactive approach can nip potential problems in the bud.
  • Maintenance Heads-Up: Share a tentative yearly schedule and always send reminders a week and a day before any maintenance activity.
  • Emails & Newsletters: While sending regular updates, make sure they are structured and consistent. Classify them under headers like ‘property updates,’ ‘community news,’ and ‘safety alerts’ for better clarity.
  • Dedicated Phone Lines: Have distinct lines for emergencies, maintenance requests, and general queries. This helps direct issues to the right channels without delays.
  • Online Portals: Portals should be user-friendly and intuitive. Features like ticket generation for maintenance requests and a discussion forum can be instrumental.
  • Bulletin Boards: Regularly update boards with essential notices, ensuring clarity and brevity.

Transparent Problem Resolution

Building trust means showing tenants their concerns are addressed promptly.

  • Issue Tracking: Employ a system where tenants can track the status of their reported issues. Be it a broken faucet or a security concern; they should see the progress.
  • Post-Resolution Feedback: Once an issue is resolved, ask for feedback. This not only ensures the problem was adequately addressed but also displays commitment to continuous improvement.

In my interactions with various property management firms, there’s a recurring theme. Many of them are action-driven and can effectively address issues, but there’s a communication gap that often follows. Instead of informing tenants or landlords upon completing a task, they operate under the assumption that “no news is good news.”

Trust is essential, but so is communication. When tenants are left in the dark, they’re left wondering if their requests have been addressed, leading to unnecessary friction in the relationship. Effective communication post-resolution is just as crucial as resolving the problem itself.

Leverage Modern Technology

Embrace tech tools that can enhance communication.

  • Mobile Apps: Such platforms can offer real-time updates, facilitate quick chats between management and tenants, and even feature a community board for tenants to interact.
  • Chatbots for 24/7 Queries: For common questions about amenities, payment deadlines, or building policies, chatbots can offer instant answers.

Relying on memory alone in property management is risky, especially as your portfolio continue to grow and managing hundreds of properties. That’s not a job for sticky notes and recall. Investing in property management software is a must.

It streamlines rent collections, document storage, and maintenance requests. The added advantage? Online portals where tenants and landlords can track progress in real-time. This digital transparency minimizes those messy “he said, she said” situations, keeping everyone informed and on the same page.

The property management company that I hire is using the Buildium platform. As a property owner myself, I like how Buildium organizes all income and expenses of my rental properties. My property manager would link each maintenance job with the associated invoice, which is an incredible time-saver for me when it comes to tax reporting. You may click here to learn more Buildium. (**)

Effective Conflict Resolution

Conflicts can be growth opportunities if handled correctly.

  • Conflict Resolution Training: Regularly update your skills on mediating disputes. It’s essential to understand both sides, remain neutral, and find mutually agreeable solutions.
  • Open Dialogues: If multiple tenants are involved, facilitate open discussions where everyone is given a fair chance to voice their concerns.

Here is a video from Don Crawley, Author of the Compassionate Geek. In there, he shared 6 practical tips to resolve conflict. One idea that standout to me is “Assume good intent.” When we are in the midst of an argument, it’s too easy to assume the other party is simply looking for trouble and being unreasonable. However, this way of thinking would not be constructive. Instead, let’s try to have an open dialogue and come up with a common ground where all party could accept.

Empower Tenants with Information

An informed tenant is a cooperative tenant.

  • Informational Handouts: Create handouts on essential topics like waste disposal, emergency protocols, or energy conservation. Ensure every tenant has access to these.
  • Community Sessions: Host awareness sessions on topics like renters’ insurance, legal rights, and responsibilities, or local community services.
  • Skill-Sharing Workshops: Encourage community bonding and learning by organizing sessions where tenants can share unique skills or learn about house maintenance basics.

Continuous Improvement through Feedback

Strive to be better, always.

  • Regular Surveys: Conduct bi-annual or annual surveys to gauge tenant satisfaction levels and areas of improvement. Make sure the surveys are not tedious and respect the tenant’s time.
  • Incentivize Feedback: Reward tenants for their effort in providing feedback. This can be in the form of rent discounts, vouchers, or even simple thank-you notes.

Here are the MUST read articles that I highly recommend:

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to learn more about the property management career


  • The role of a property manager
  • How much do property managers make?
  • How to start a property management company?
  • Smart ways to streamline a property management business
  • Practical business practices for your daily operation (i.e. tenant screening, rental listing, property management software.)
  • and many more…

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay updated.

(**) Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. Our company, JCHQ Publishing will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking on the link. Please understand that we include them based on our experience or the research on these companies or products, and we recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something through the links. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

Disclaimer: The information in this post is for general information only, and not intend to provide any advice. They are subjected to change without any notice, and not guaranteed to be error-free. Some of the posts on this site may contain views and opinions from individual not related to JCHQ Publishing. They do not necessarily reflect our view or position.


  • Jacob Coleman

    Jacob is a content writer and a real estate investor. He has experience working with different real estate professionals throughout the years. (i.e., appraisers, real estate agents, property managers, home inspectors.) In order to build a career you love, Jacob believes not only you need a thorough understanding about the profession, but you also have to find out what type of jobs could match your personality, lifestyle and expectation.

Jacob Coleman

Jacob is a content writer and a real estate investor. He has experience working with different real estate professionals throughout the years. (i.e., appraisers, real estate agents, property managers, home inspectors.) In order to build a career you love, Jacob believes not only you need a thorough understanding about the profession, but you also have to find out what type of jobs could match your personality, lifestyle and expectation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap