One of the most difficult parts about being a property owner is dealing with all the different personalities, some of which you may not always get along with. While you want to at least remain cordial with one another, you’re going to have to deal with difficult tenants at one point or another. To make life a little easier for everyone involved, discover how to set healthy boundaries with your tenants.
Clearly Outline Your Work Hours
Establishing a routine with your tenants is critical, as it removes the temptation for you to manage requests or issues during out-of-office hours. You should make your work hours easily accessible to your tenants so that they know when they can contact you and receive a reply. If you’re a property owner who receives a lot of messages in a day, you may even want to let tenants know how long it will take to receive a response. It’s also wise to provide emergency contact information for things that can’t wait.
Outline Payment and Late Fee Procedures
In order to avoid chasing checks, outline clear payment and late fee procedures in the lease agreement. The easiest way to cut out human error is to use some form of digital payment app or hire a property manager as the middle man. If you’re not comfortable with either of these options, have tenants send their rent payment to a P.O. box, not where you live. It’s also wise to only accept money orders or checks, as accepting cash can lead to disagreements about how much the tenant paid. With checks or money orders, you retain a physical record of the payment amount.
Be Clear About What You Will and Won’t Do or Allow
If you have specific stipulations about behavior, noise levels, pets, or other tenant expectations, you need to make them explicitly clear verbally and in their lease agreement. This type of clear and consistent communication sets a standard and lets tenants know what your expectations are. You want to mitigate the risk of miscommunication and misunderstandings as much as possible. It may be worth your time to over-explain, as there’s no harm in being completely clear.
The last thing you want is to forgo your boundaries for the wrong person and have them think that’s the standard treatment. The best way to set healthy boundaries with your tenants is to be as open, honest, and communicative as possible without overextending yourself for anyone if it isn’t necessary.