What does it look like to be a generous landlord?
Landlord-tenant relationships aren’t always smooth. Often, tenants and landlords are at odds with each other. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. As a landlord, you have the power to create and strengthen your tenant relationships. One way to do that is through generosity.
When you hear the term “generosity,” you probably think of someone who gives freely of their money and/or resources. However, people can be generous with other things like time, patience, and kindness.
For landlords, being generous with tenants is the best way to make your property investments profitable.
Here’s what it looks like to be a generous landlord.
Generosity is meeting a tenant’s needs without judgment
Being a generous landlord doesn’t mean giving tenants a free pass on rent. It means, in a general sense, making their needs a priority in whatever way is required to produce a positive outcome.
For example, say you have a tenant who has broken the same bathroom screen three times in the last six months. Rather than reprimanding them for breaking the screen, be generous with extending your understanding for their situation. There might be a good reason they keep breaking the screen that is related to a disability or something they can’t control.
Don’t lose your patience with tenants who seem to be a bit needier than others. Be generous enough to give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to small things.
If you’re not able to extend that level of calm to your tenant interactions, hire a property management company. Property management professionals have extensive experience working with tenants, managing their needs, and maintaining positive relationships.
Generosity is doing the right thing when it matters
You invested in rental property to make a profit. You have every right to charge the full amount of rent according to the market. You have every right to hold tenants to high standards for background checks, credit checks, references, and required income. You have every right to collect late fees for late rental payments. However, sometimes exceptions are warranted.
Say you have a great tenant who has never been late with the rent in five years. One day, that tenant needs an extra five days to pay the rent. Be generous and give them a break. Give them the extra week and don’t charge them a late fee. Frame the conversation in a positive, appreciative manner. Let them know you appreciate that they’ve always paid rent on time and as long as they get you the rent by the fifth day as promised, you won’t charge them a late fee.
Generosity is taking the hit when it makes sense
For many tenants, life is hard enough without having to worry about making their landlord angry. Tenants aren’t used to being given breaks or even leniency, no matter how long they’ve been a good tenant. Surprise your tenants once in a while and let them slide. You don’t want to do that with sketchy tenants, but your good tenants have already established that they’re reliable. Sometimes things happen and it’s good measure to give them a break.
Some landlords go all out with their generosity. For example, a Brooklyn landlord recently forgave April 2020 rent for 200 tenants. Mario Salerno, a New York property investor who owns about 80 apartment buildings, told his tenants to worry about themselves and their neighbors – not scrambling to pay rent.
Salerno isn’t the only landlord who waived an entire month’s rent to help people who lost their jobs. Nathan Nichols, a landlord from Portland, told all of his tenants to skip paying April’s rent. Another landlord from California – Jeff Larabee – did the same, except he waived the rent for three months.
Landlords who choose to forgive rent during dire economic circumstances are usually those who own multiple units. These landlords are taking a huge financial hit, but it’s not a hit that will deprive them of paying their own rent and putting food on the table.
It’s a selfless act to extend generosity to tenants who are struggling during a massive economic breakdown. Landlords who put people above profits in hard times are heroes. When everyone is affected by a broken economy, it only makes sense to help wherever you can.
Generosity and profits aren’t mutually exclusive
If you’re giving tenants a financial break, you might think you’re giving up your profits. However, by extending a helping hand to tenants, you’re actually securing their loyalty. Landlords who help their tenants – monetarily or otherwise – are more likely to retain those tenants long-term, which ultimately means more long-term profit.