There will always be the desire to become friends with the renters, whether you are a property manager or a part-time landlord. If you own and manage single-family rentals, you may have friends who have inquired about renting from you. It might seem a good idea at the time, and a great friend would most likely make an excellent renter. However, this may not be the case in every situation. The best option is to keep your landlord-tenant relationships professional.
Friends As Tenants
When does the boundary between renter and friend get blurred? Is it ever a good idea to befriend a tenant? On the other hand, what happens if you befriend a renter who attempts to exploit you?
Most landlords keep their distance from their renters, not because they dislike them but because befriending a tenant might be terrible.
Sometimes tenants appear to be fun people to hang out with for a soc. But unfortunately, no matter how strongly you connect with a renter, forming a friendship can quickly turn sour.
Reasons to Avoid Landlord-tenant Friendships
1. Your renter may feel cheated if you enforce the restrictions.
No matter how kind and professional you are in enforcing the regulations, a renter who is also a friend will feel betrayed if forced to modify their conduct.
Even if you go over the lease agreement with them and inform them they’re on the hook just like everyone else, they may still feel cheated. But unfortunately, allowing things to slip is frequently an unspoken understanding among friends.
2. Your renter will most likely anticipate preferential treatment.
It is often assumed that you will receive preferential treatment if you know someone in power. This may apply to businesses, including corporations and retail organizations. However, when you’re a landlord, the amenities renters anticipate might cost you more than you realize.
A renter who expects special attention will desire the following:
- Waiving late fees
- Extra time to meet lease changes
- Canceling lease amendments
- Forgoing any rent increases
- Lower rent than other tenants
- Prime parking spot
- There will be no credit or background checks.
- The rent includes utilities.
- Allowing pets when you usually do not accept pets.
- Permission to have an exotic pet
- Waiving the security deposit
- Not applying deductions from their security deposit, even if there is damage when they move out.
- Protection from eviction if they break the lease.
- and much more
All of these benefits would be fantastic if they didn’t come with disadvantages for you as a landlord. For example, if you don’t impose late fines, your renter may take advantage of you and may never pay rent on time again. If you don’t raise the rent, you’ll lose money on an asset that was supposed to generate income.
Giving tenants preferential treatment will only make your life as a landlord more difficult (and expensive). So don’t start treating your renters differently. Your renter will expect more if you start doing them favors.
3. You could lose a genuine friendship over something trivial.
Many landlord-tenant disputes are minor squabbles. It would be heartbreaking to lose a true friend over something as insignificant as requesting your renter not to put trash outside their front door or noise issues.
4. Your tenant might be deceiving you.
It’s a difficult prospect to consider, but your tenant might be deceiving you. Unfortunately, some renters are expert manipulators who will attempt to befriend their landlord to obtain what they desire. Hopefully, this will not happen to you. The best way to find out is to observe how your renter behaves when they leave.
It would be terrible to believe you’ve been friends with your renter for a year or more when, in reality, they’re merely using you for privileges.
5. Resentment can build up and cause conflicts.
Tension exists in every relationship involving money, but landlord-tenant relationships entail more than simply money. Your tenant’s money is inextricably linked to their property, and any harm to your relationship may be considered a threat to their home.
When a renter believes their home is under threat, it may cause intense animosity. As a result, they may not say anything at first, which is when things might go ugly.
Resentment that accumulates over time might lead to a renter behaving badly and paying rent late out of spite. They may even cease paying rent entirely.
Don’t let your landlord-tenant relationships deteriorate; avoid befriending them at any cost.
Avoiding Bad Landlord-tenant Relationships
Are you concerned that your friendship with your tenant may deteriorate? Whether you’ve already formed a bond with your tenants or not, here’s how to prevent a heated scenario.
1. Establish and enforce your boundaries from the start.
When you enforce limits from the start, your tenants are more likely to respect them. If you’re friends with a tenant, don’t let anything slip. Hold them responsible for what they promised from the beginning. When you start giving them slack, they’ll start demanding more.
In theory, this is no different from any other friendship. The strongest friendships are founded on trust and honesty. Without fear of retaliation, friends should be free to hold each other accountable for their commitments and agreements.
2. Avoid any forms of partiality.
Avoid any bias if you’re going to be friends with a renter. It is crucial to demonstrate to your renter that you will not play favorites or provide them preferential treatment.
Hold everyone accountable, including your buddy, if numerous renters are doing something they shouldn’t be doing. Give them no reason to believe you’ll bend the rules for them.
When you give someone preferential treatment, the other renters will notice. Even if not done on purpose, favoritism might cause conflict between you and your other renters. Therefore, it’s preferable to avoid everything.
3. Do not rent to current pals.
If at all possible, avoid renting to existing friends. It’s reasonable if they don’t have any other choices. But, on the other hand, renting to an existing acquaintance is a quick way to ruin your friendship.
If you decide to rent to an established buddy, don’t skimp on the details. Instead, create a formal lease for them, just like you would for any other renter, and treat them similarly.
4. Maintain a professional demeanor at all times.
Maintaining a professional connection with your tenants is preferable to developing a casual friendship. In addition, your renters will respect you more if you are professional and more inclined to obey the guidelines.
Managing Your Property With Professional Landlord-tenant Relationships
Working with an experienced property manager is a great way to prevent embarrassing situations with your renters. And while forming a friendship may seem like a natural progression with a tenant, in the long run, it may cause harm. Establishing a strong professional landlord-tenant relationship will help prevent uncomfortable situations. Real Property Management Consultants have the expertise to manage your properties. Our team of professionals is here to help you, eliminating the hassle of day-to-day tasks. We take the stress out of property management and ownership. For more information, contact us today!
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