One of the hard realities of property management is that sometimes you have to be the bearer of bad news. It’s important that property managers maintain a positive relationship with their tenants so, delivering negative news can be intimidating. No one ever wants to be in the position of telling tenants about rent increases, large maintenance projects, or repair issues. Ideally, property managers will rarely have to deliver this kind of news, but when they do, it’s important to be tactful and honest.
These are the essentials to delivering bad news.
If rent is set to the rise, property managers should give tenants notice around 2-3 months in advance, so tenants have the opportunity to adjust or relocate if they have to. When giving rent increase notices, it’s essential that property managers adhere to the timeline local law mandates, but they should go beyond the minimum and notify tenants even further in advance so there is sufficient time to prepare.
As soon as you know about a situation that owners and tenants may interpret negatively, decide how you will tell everyone so they can plan accordingly. At a minimum, owners and tenants should be told about scheduled maintenance at least 2 weeks in advance and they should be reminded a few days before maintenance actually begins.
If disruptive emergency repairs are necessary, tenants will most likely understand why they’re being told on short notice as long as property managers deliver this news as soon as possible so that tenants can prepare accordingly.
When large maintenance projects are being scheduled, consider how the timing effects everyone who lives at that property. It’s typically best to schedule maintenance in the middle of the day as opposed to early in the morning or late at night so the majority of people will be at work and miss the brunt of the noise. Construction can cause sound well above the loudest recommended sound (85 decibels) which can have harmful health repercussions and upset tenants.
Property managers should choose a mode of communication that is most effective when they’re sending urgent communication to tenants. Texts have a 98% read rate and can be used to direct owners’ attention to their emails where they can explain in detail what is going to happen.
It’s beneficial for your tenant relationships to always show you care about their concerns. The best way to do this is by empathetically explaining why changes are happening and make sure tenants know that you are open to questions.
Bad news shouldn’t be sugarcoated. Notice of maintenance, rent increases, or any other perceivably negative situation needs to be represented accurately, so tenants can fully grasp the complexities of the situation and make appropriate adjustments.
With that being said, it helps to acknowledge the benefits of seemingly bad news. If a maintenance project is overhauling a facility on the property, explain what benefits this maintenance can offer everyone. This creates a more positive reaction and increases tenants’ confidence in changes.