As a long-time Windsor property management company, we’ve had the good fortune to work with many different landlords and tenants in our day. Each party goes into a lease with their own opinions, but ultimately their goals are the same: to enjoy the property and maintain it so that it can continue to serve its purpose for many years to come. Many landlords and tenants even wind up becoming friends, drawn together by their mutual love for the property and their desire to see it maintained.
As a third party, we’ve learned a lot about what makes the landlord-tenant relationship work, and what types of behaviours and actions can cause it to falter and ultimately break down.
Today, let’s talk about some easy ways that landlords and tenants can work towards a better relationship. Each of these tips goes both ways, and ultimately the best relationships are successful because both the landlord and the tenant have taken concrete steps to improve their rapport and come to a mutual understanding.
1. Set expectations
From the very beginning, both the landlord and the tenant should be clear about their expectations regarding the property, and their relationship. The Ontario Rental Tenancies Act lays out the basic expectations, which should be followed by both parties, but there’s a lot that’s not covered in the legislation.
If either party wants to make upgrades to amenities, or is only looking for a short-term lease, it helps to know these things in advance. This can help limit misunderstandings later on.
2. Keep promises
Both landlords and tenants should never make promises that they don’t intend to keep. Trust is a key part of this relationship, and when trust breaks down it’s incredibly difficult to build back up again. Landlords can maintain trust by being responsive, and following through when it comes to maintenance, upgrades, and other requests from tenants.
For tenants, keeping promises most often means abiding by the terms of the lease, and not doing things like smoking in the unit or painting when you’ve been asked to avoid those activities.
3. Maintain open lines of communication
Clear communication is a key component of a good landlord-tenant relationship. For both parties, this means answering messages, calls, and emails promptly, and not avoiding hard conversations through obfuscation or delays.
When lines of communication are open, issues can be resolved much faster than if you’d let things simmer. Being able to pick up the phone and know you can reach the other party makes people feel much more secure.
4. Healthy boundaries
Boundaries can be a difficult sticking point for landlords and tenants. After all, the landlord owns the property, but the tenant is the one currently calling it home.
Ontario’s Rental Tenancies Act specifies that landlords must give tenants at least 24 hours written notice of their intent to enter the property. However, if you want to have a good relationship, communication of boundaries should start here. Although it’s tempting to want to check in on tenants often, landlords should limit their visits and use less invasive means of communication like email to communicate about non-urgent matters.
5. Treat the property with respect
Although it can feel like a conflict of interest when both the landlord and the tenant view the property as their home, the truth is this attitude can be a positive force in the relationship.
If both landlord and tenant are treating the property with respect and feel responsible for it like they would their own home, it helps ensure a safe, secure, and well-maintained unit.
6. Be open to suggestions
When landlords and tenants communicate well, it can facilitate a flow of ideas that will only benefit both parties. Landlords should be open to suggestions from tenants, and vice versa. Each party has a different relationship to the unit and can offer suggestions for improvements that may have never come to the attention of the other person. Landlords can help set a positive precedent by openly soliciting suggestions from their tenants and encouraging them to speak openly when they have concerns.
7. Get it in writing
There are many disagreements and miscommunications between landlords and tenants that could have been solved with basic documentation. Both landlords and tenants should strive to keep their communications (especially maintenance requests and official notices) documented in writing.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that the relationship has to be cold and formal. If you have a discussion in person, send a quick follow-up email to lay out the agreements that were made.
8. Hire a property manager
Another way that you can simplify the landlord-tenant relationship is to hire a property manager. A property manager is a third party who is responsible for the day-to-day management of the property. They manage rent payments, maintenance requests, and are a great resource in emergencies.
Since they do this professionally, property managers know everything there is to know about the nuances of landlord-tenant law, which keeps the relationships between all three parties both efficient and appropriate.
Looking for a Property Management Company in Windsor?
There are many steps that landlords and tenants can take to have a more efficient and pleasant rental relationship. A great way to do that is to hire a third-party property management company like Goldmar Property Management.
We’ve been working in the real estate and rental industry in Windsor for years, and our goal is to facilitate better relationships between our landlords and our tenants. Get in touch today to learn how we can make your life easier.