How Should I Communicate with my Landlord?

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At T&H Realty Services, as a property management company in Indianapolis, we are constantly striving to communicate with our tenants in the best way possible. We manage several hundred properties, and we always wish to deliver the same customer service and appropriate form of communication with each and every one of our tenants.

Unfortunately, quite a few of those tenants do not give a thought about how well they communicate with their property manager, or landlord.

But as a tenant and a resident at a rental property, it should be just as important in how they handle their relationship with their property manager. Ultimately, it can affect not only their lifestyle and comfort, but also their financial standing.

Creating a healthy and open line of communication with your landlord can help you not only live in the best conditions possible, but also receive the fastest responses to maintenance requests. Here are some quick tips for creating a great relationship with your landlord:

1. Do not submit inaccurate information for the rental application.

Lying on an application is usually grounds for denial, and at the very least starts the landlord/tenant relationship off on the wrong foot. It’s best to be honest.

So never overstate your income or lie about credit issues; always be honest and open. It is even helpful to submit a personal statement about possible problems or issues that might surface with your application. It shows you have planned and fully thought out the process.

At the very least, a property management company or landlord will be willing to do much more for someone open and honest than someone who has lied and tried to deceive.

2. Get it all in writing.

If your landlord promises something, like a repair or new appliances before you move in, get it in black and white, preferably on the lease. Promises don’t always get things done, but written agreements will. Don’t open yourself to a situation for miscommunication and problems; remember you will be living there for most likely the next 12 months!

3. During the move-in, make sure to complete a walk-through and thoroughly record all wear and damage.

Ask for a copy of your records. At T&H, we post all move-in walkthroughs on our tenant’s portals so they can access these records at any time. This will alleviate any chance for disputes at move-out time and ensure you don’t pay for past tenant’s damage.

4. Make sure you take it into your own hands to receive all of the pertinent property information you need before moving in.

This includes, but is not limited to, the utility information, mailbox #, alarm instructions, HOA rules, sprinkler systems, etc. You don’t want to have to make a million phone calls to your property management company in the first week and seem high maintenance. Limit those calls to when you really need help or a repair.

5. Be sure you know the process for contacting your landlord in case of questions or repairs.

Every landlord and property management company is different. Here, we often get a flood of calls about repairs, but many of our tenants do not utilize the option they have to put maintenance requests into their online portal. It saves both us and the tenant valuable time by the residents being aware of what the adequate process is in getting things done.

6. Be as reasonable with your requests as possible.

Sometimes we have tenants who seem to TRY to find each and every flaw with their rental property. Always handle the very minor situations on your own, like replacing a light bulb or smoke detector battery. There are issues in which tenants are absolutely right and the landlord neglects their responsibility to resolve maintenance issues. So if you have small issues, try to solve them yourself so you can save the bigger and more difficult issues for the landlord.

7. Pay your rent, on time!

It makes a big difference in your relationship with your property manager!

These are just some of our most basic tips for handling the relationship with your landlord. It involves more thought than you may have previously thought.

Remember, you will be living under them for the next 12 months so make sure you put an effort in developing clear communication!

About the Author

Jeremy Tallman

Jeremy is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Broker for T&H Realty Services. He has been active in the Central Indiana real estate market since 2000 and leads one of the most successful single-family property management companies in the state.

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