Monday, February 1, 2010

Back to Basics - tip6

Tip 6
Communication
You will have more success with your tenant if you communicate regularly and fairly. This could be as simply as sending a monthly statement; or listening when the tenant has a maintenance issue and taking an appropriately speedy course of action to resolve.

TPN has seen a direct correlation to whether a tenant receives a monthly statement and the fact that the rent is paid in full and on time. This also denies the tenant the excuse of not paying because, “they did not receive the statement”. Also if there are additional charges the tenant can make the exact payment. Some tenants are forgetful. A tenant statement delivered before the payment due date is an excellent way of reminding the tenant about payment.

If your tenant is experiencing problems, they are also more likely to be upfront and talk to you when they know you have an open channel, listen and react fairly. I sign 12 month contracts with my tenants, but if the tenant has a problem and needs to be released from the contract, I do my best to facilitate this. I am up-front with the tenant that they are responsible for the rent should I not find a suitable replacement – but I also take the re-letting of the property as an urgent matter.

A recent true-life tenant dispute
My tenant was concerned about his high electricity bill. I could have:
  1. Ignored him and told him to pay or move
  2. Taken time to visit the property and personally checked the meter (switching on different appliances and watching the meter to see how it spun), sending an electrician to investigate if there was in fact a problem and finally reconciling the electricity account to the actual meter reading to find there had been an error in the billing.

Option 2 above obviously was very time consuming – but I discovered the tenant had been over-charged R1,100 over 8 months. Now I have a content grateful tenant who is more likely to remain a Paid on Time quality tenant.

A simple adage to finish this section, “Hard work pays off”

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