There’s a lot of muck thrown around about bad landlords. That muck is making it a breeze to be seen as a diamond in the rough. Why should you go the extra mile? The same reason why you treat your boss extra nice—you should want the people paying you to like you. Doubly so when they’re living in your property and are able to make your life into a living nightmare at the drop of a hat.

It helps to understand why so many tenants have strong (negative) feelings about their landlords. Most tenants are just trying to live their lives, so anything that bides their ability to keep on keeping on is going to be an annoyance. Some of these are understandable, such as not allowing pets or parties. Others are less reasonable, like not allowing guests or accessing the rental without permission (that’s not okay).

Many of the reasons tenants report disliking landlords comes down to ill-established boundaries. There’s no reason for a landlord to be surveilling the property like a hawk over its nest—tenancies are a relationship built on trust. If you can’t trust your tenant, there are deeper problems at work here. We just want people to be happy and stress-free. It’s not always a possibility though…

When it is, however, it can be a fantastic situation. If you are living on the same property you are renting out, you should be especially concerned about this. While there are rules surrounding what a tenant can do, a landlord’s sole course of action if those rules are broken is to pursue eviction. “Eviction” is essentially synonymous with “no fun”.

Starting off on the right foot.

Pick a tenant you are going to like. Unless they are a master of deception, you should be able to get a solid understanding of any applicant. You’ve got tools. Interview the tenant, and be sure to sign up for a free tenant screening—we’ll find more information than you thought existed.

Once we’ve worked our magic, you’ll be able to find the perfect match for your property.

Let’s assume you’ve done just that and found the right person to move in. Here’s the one secret to building a bond that could last decades—free food. It’s unbelievable but true. How many times have you been invited somewhere you didn’t want to go, but knowing they have the best crab cakes you saddle up and head over? Oh. Just us? Ok… Well still, everyone likes free food, especially when they’ve spent all day moving furniture into a new space. Moving sucks. Free food doesn’t.

Now, we know that the point of running a rental is to turn a profit. You don’t need to go crazy here, but the classic beer and pizza are generally well-liked. Just don’t serve them your leftovers.

Happy tenant eating pizza

Keeping renters happy once they’ve moved in.

This is where you’ll really define the relationship. An overbearing landlord is miserable to live with. Privacy is a human right for a reason, everyone enjoys it. You’re in a position to violate your tenant’s privacy—the second you do, they’ll never forget it.

Privacy doesn’t end at the driveway. Don’t harass your tenant. If they’re late on rent, breathe deeply. Give them a day, maybe the banks are closed and they forgot about the long weekend. If it happens again and you’re concerned, or if payment takes more than a couple days, go ahead and serve them a notice. If you serve it immediately the first time they’re late, there’s a good chance they’ll take offence and feel like you’re trying to evict them. If you are trying to evict them, then you’re probably not going to be doing much to keep them happy anyways.

This is starting to sound like a list of “don’ts”, so here’s a couple “dos”.

Do listen to their concerns. Did the AC kick out? You’re probably not obligated to fix it, but if it’s burning up outside and you keep delaying to handle the situation, they’re likely going to start looking for somewhere else to live.

Do ensure your tenants feel safe. That means your locks are in good repair and, ideally, you’ve installed some sort of security system.

Keeping renters happy doesn’t always mean you have to go the extra mile, but it does mean respecting your tenant and practicing all that healthy relationship building we learned in kindergarten. It’s about the basics, not the flourishes. Don’t worry, you’ve got this.

Unsure how to find the right tenant for you? Check out our free tenant screening. It’s running AI under the hood so you get an unbiased and complete report to review. Simple.