It doesn’t take much to destroy the trust of a tenant. Not only is the right to adequate privacy something that your residents want and deserve, but it’s also something that is regulated by law. To avoid accidentally crossing any boundaries and ending up in potential hot water legally, keep the following five tips in mind.
Start with quality tenants.
You can eliminate much of the risk associated with privacy violations by weeding out trouble tenants before you rent to them. Residents who are respectful, pay their rent on time, have solid background checks and decent credit ratings are less likely to cause a problem that would require you to check in on the property regularly. If possible, beginning with a month-to-month trial period before entering into a long-term lease can help you find the best fit.
Provide ample notice.
Unless it’s an emergency, it’s against the law for landlords or property managers to enter a tenant’s living space without providing prior notice. The required amount of time varies by location, so be sure to double check your local laws and regulations. Even if your local rules are lenient, it’s general practice to provide at least 24 hours’ notice before entering the property.
Have a legitimate reason.
It’s also important that your reason for entering the premises is reasonable and professional in nature. Some of the generally acceptable reasons for entering a tenant’s home or apartment include:
- Conducting repairs.
- Performing a formal inspection.
- Showing the property to prospective tenants or buyers if the current tenant is moving
- Gaining access if there’s an emergency.
Address issues professionally.
If there are problems with a particular tenant, or you suspect that there are activities going on that are in violation of the legally binding lease agreement, be sure the actions you take are appropriate. Schedule an inspection if necessary. Issue notices of violations and warnings to create a documented paper trail. Keep all communications professional. Remember that if the situation were to end up in court, your actions and behaviour will be scrutinized.
Promote and encourage open communication.
Communication is one of the biggest keys to a healthy relationship. Prioritize openness and transparency right from the start, but remember that at the end of the day, this is a business arrangement. Treat your tenants with respect and make yourself available by offering options like an online portal to facilitate, streamline and track ongoing conversations.
It’s easy for the lines between a tenant and a landlord or property manager to become blurred – especially if the property is shared. Keep your relationship with all renters professional by respecting their right to adequate privacy and adhering to the lease agreement. This will help you avoid potential legal issues and create a much more positive environment for everyone.