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The Danger of Being Friends with your Tenant

Tuesday, 22nd November 2011

Categories: Lettings Property Management

Author: Peter Barry

If you’re starting out on a new career as a landlord, you probably have certain criteria that you’ve set yourself in order to make the experience as stress-free as possible for yourself and your future tenants. You obviously want to provide a safe and pleasant environment for your tenants to live in; you don’t want to mess them around, and you’ll want to ensure that the property represents good value for money, as well as providing you with a good income. You might also have considered how you’ll act towards your tenants when you have dealings with them.

The temptation is to be ‘Mr Nice Guy’ and to build up a good tenant-landlord relationship. Perhaps you’ll arrange to meet them in a local pub to sign contracts, or you’ll allow them to move in some of their belongings before the official start of their tenancy. After all, you want the relationship to be harmonious and for everyone to get on. However, there are a number of drawbacks to becoming too friendly with your tenants and when the boundaries between landlord and ‘mate’ become blurred, you could be opening up the floodgates to trouble.

Business is business

One of the problems that new landlords face is that they fail to see their property as a business. You should always keep in the back of your mind that by signing contracts, you have entered into a business transaction. If your tenants miss their rent, or continually pay it late, it will have a direct impact on you and your finances. You have a vested interest in keeping the property well maintained and your interests might vary vastly from theirs.

Berating a friend

If you become too friendly with your tenants, it will become increasingly difficult to raise any issues with them. For example, if the neighbours complain about the noise your tenants make, you’re going to find it hard to confront them if they’ve been at your house for dinner the night before. Likewise, if the property is in a state of disrepair at the end of the tenancy, you should withhold an appropriate amount of the deposit – not easy to do if your tenant has become your friend.

Whilst it’s important to be open and friendly with your tenants, there’s a fine line to be drawn between business and friendship and, in this particular situation, it’s best to keep the two entirely separate.

Property Visits and Inspections

It may be necessary for you to attend the property to oversee maintenance work from time to time especially when the potential repairs are costly. A tenant is more likely to respect your work on resolving matters and maintain the property if he or she knows that you are keeping a close eye on the property. Keeping in close contact with your tenant doesn’t mean that you need to need to be their best friend. You want to be in a position that they can approach you when required to but happy to ‘lay down the law’ if required.



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