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Brentnie Daggett

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Simple Steps to Educate Your Renters

It’s an unfortunate truth that every experienced landlord or manager knows: some renters can be truly horrible.


From beyond excessive damage, to lack an unimaginable of cleanliness, to a total disregard for simply paying the rent regularly, every landlord has their personal horror story to share.


And while there are certainly the frightening exceptions, I still subscribe to a theory that the average tenant is simply very ignorant. Afterall, most renters have not previously owned a home, and may not truly understand the nuances and care that a home requires--this is particularly true for young renters just out of their parents’ homes. Moreover, these inexperienced renters can be ignorant to the consequences of their neglect to the unit they rent, and to their personal pocketbook.


So, what is the key to getting educated renters? How do you keep tenants who are maintenance-savvy enough to understand when to report an issue and when to change the air filter? While these ideal renters are surely out there, the best way to ensure your units are full of them is to educate your current average residents. Landlords and managers who take the time to truly educate their tenants are much more likely to house and keep excellent tenants.


Take Your Tenants Through Renters’ College with These Simple Steps:


Fully read over the lease with new tenants.


New tenants have a tendency to skim through the text (if they read it at all) prevent this by arranging for a time to sit with them and go over the lease in full. Do it at your office, or treat them to coffee at your local shop--either way, the time and funds spent will be well-worth the effort. Tenants cannot follow your lease expectations if they didn’t take the time to learn them in the first place.

Give your tenants a cheat sheet.


While going over the lease together is imperative, every tenant can use a reminder of the important information. Combat ignorance by creating a cheat sheet. Highlight details your residents need to about caring for the property. Include information regarding your pet policy, how often they should change the filter, and when their lease is up. Laminate the page so your tenants can keep the checklist on-hand throughout their lease term.

Add educational renter tips to your newsletter.


Sure, your monthly newsletter contains important information about pool access in the summer and your next resident event, but it could be educating your renters too. Add tips on how to keep the place tidy, how to decorate without causing damage, and important reminders regarding resident policies. Write these articles yourself, or ask your favorite blog for permission to republish. Your renters will appreciate the fun and useful tips, and you will notice less damage and negligence as time goes on. If you do not already have a tenant newsletter, there’s no better time to start!

Check-in with your renters regularly.


Combat damage to your property, and foster your landlord-tenant relationship by checking in with your renters on a regular basis. Send a quick text message every month to ask if there are any small maintenance issues they need to report. Schedule quarterly inspections at the turn of the seasons to care for the property and ask your tenants if they have any questions or concerns. Establishing great communication is the key to making sure your investment is protected and your tenants are happy.


Create learning incentives for your renters.


While the desire to avoid adverse consequences (like a diminished security deposit or even eviction) is a great incentive in itself, but truly making it fun for your residents to become more confident about your policies will go a long way. When sending out emails with links to helpful blog posts and renter tips, add a 3 question quiz. Offer prizes for tenants who correctly complete the quiz. Enter them in for a raffle or even discount their rent by a small amount that month. Whatever you decide, make it fun for your residents to learn more.

As the old adage goes, “When you know better, you do better.” Teaching your tenants does not have to be time consuming or stressful. A little bit of extra effort can go a long way to creating a more educated renter population, and every landlord wants that!


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