How flexible should landlords be with tenants?
Updated: Jun 29
Landlords often believe that you need to play by strict rules for their property to perform well. This can be a good tactic in most cases since you need structure to be able to have a reliable rental profit, and this strictness can consist of many things. Sometimes, however, if you want to attract the right tenants and increase satisfaction, you can be flexible with certain requests.
In today’s post, we will go over four examples of how flexible you can be with a renter.
Analyze the situation
The first step you want to take is to assess the situation of both you and your tenant in close detail. At the end of the day, this consideration stage will decide whether you can afford to make changes and be flexible to empathize with your tenant’s situation.
Being in charge of decisions so closely related to someone’s living conditions can be difficult, but it’s a component of your job as a landlord to uphold the conditions of your lease. According to these Las Vegas property managers you need to be sure you can handle the changes, as you don’t want this settlement to come and bite you back later.
A rental agreement plays a big role in a landlord's flexibility. You can consider many flexible rental agreements depending on the situation since they’re not one-size-fits-all deals. Some examples would be:
Late rent fees
With this alternative, the tenants get a pass at turning in the rent before the deadline, thus helping them through difficult financial periods, as rent fees might be pretty expensive and cause a lot of extra stress for them already. If you find yourself in this position with a tenant you know is going through a lapse, you could help them by waiving the late rent fee as a show of goodwill.
The first is a deferred payment plan: This is one of the most common flexibility agreements that can be found in the rental industry. With this type of arrangement, tenants pay a reduced amount of rent or sometimes even nothing for a set amount of time, after which the amount of rent they didn’t pay is tacked onto their rental agreement in another way. It can be divided over a few months or added to the lease's end to be paid when the tenant vacates the property.
The second alternative is using the security deposit: In some areas, it’s allowed to temporarily use the security deposit to pay rent. This is a cushion for the tenant and the landlord to not miss out on a month’s payment. After this, the tenant would be obligated to repay the security deposit when they can before the lease expires. This is very similar to a deferred payment plan, but it’s more convenient for landlords who cannot easily cover a missed month of rent.
Renting to pet owners
Some property owners have very strict rules when it comes to allowing a pet on their estate, but not every pet will damage your property or annoy the neighbors. According to RGroup usually, tenants appreciate the landlord allowing their pet in and will put in the necessary amount of effort to make sure the property remains in immaculate condition. Also, they tend to stay in a rental longer since moving with a pet is hard for a few reasons. Besides fewer properties being available to pet owners, renters with pets want to avoid non-refundable pet fees for new properties and the additional stress of moving with pets.
Considering these pros of renting to a tenant that’s a pet owner, there are also other important factors to be taken into account, such as the ownership of a therapy pet or guide dog for people that need assistance. This can be considered a good enough reason to show flexibility in your rules and care for others’ needs, as it falls under the Fair Housing Amendments Act, which protects the rights of people with disabilities to keep emotional support animals, even when a landlord’s policy explicitly prohibits pets.
Erase move-out penalties
If you have difficulties setting up a flexible rent arrangement for the tenants, other ways exist to help them. Waiving any costs associated with breaking the lease agreement or eliminating move-out fees can aid your tenant in navigating their economic situation without having that additional burden.
Renters who lost their income may need to move out of their current home and look into a cheaper living situation. Erasing any penalties that come as collateral for breaking the terms and conditions of the lease might help your tenant's situation by allowing them to keep their dignity and have a smooth vacating process.
An idea worth considering that works great when having trouble arranging a flexible plan would be focusing on the right to sublease space, which means the tenant can sublease a part (or the entire space) of their unoccupied space to another tenant.
The main benefit of subleasing is stability, given that it would allow the tenant to remain in one place for longer due to the cost-reducing factor of having someone to split the rent with.
Balance your business policies with empathy, and be gracious yet clear in your decisions and requests. Give yourself time to analyze and assess the specific situation before deciding what arrangement works best for your business.
Property managers usually know how much flexibility you can show without damaging your business in any way. They are pros at anticipating common tenant requests and how much tenants will negotiate, and they will also provide advice on your current requests, guiding you when they see a necessary change.
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