Property Management Best Practice #2: Landlords must have a tenant first approach

Landlords must have a tenant first approach | Ali Alidina | Landlord Simplified
Landlords must have a tenant first approach | Ali Alidina | Landlord Simplified

Property Management Best Practice 2: Landlords must have a tenant first approach

I made 10 profound observations that are important property management best practices for landlords during my summer 2018 European vacation. The second best practice is Landlords must have a tenant first approach.

This article is the second of ten property management best practices for landlords based on my observations from my summer 2018 European vacation.

Last week I mentioned that I would be sharing a series of 10 important property management best practices for landlords over the coming weeks. Today, I will be sharing the 2nd best practice: Landlords must deliver on their promise to their tenants.

In case you missed the previous posts

If you missed the previous posts, you can catch up by accessing the following links:

The driver should get you to the agreed upon destination safely

My wife, Salima, is a vacation specialist with Expedia CruiseShipCenters Terwilliger. She took care of arranging most of our transfers in advance. This gave us the piece of mind knowing we wouldn’t have to hail down a taxi or haggle with a driver on price or pull out cash on a busy street to pay the driver.

Now during our trip, we had several drivers. Most were good, but some not so good.

After observing and experiencing both the good and the bad, I noticed that I walked away with a certain feeling, attitude and judgement regarding the driver and the experience that they provided.

On a very basic level, a driver is supposed to get you from point A to point B. Take it one step higher, the ride should be comfortable. They may provide you with other bells and whistles like; point out interesting things and maybe some history along the way, or maybe provide you with a bottle of water.

But ultimately, the driver should get you to the agreed upon destination safely. On our trip, that didn’t always happen. One incident that really stood out for me was in Santorini.

The stunning sunsets of Santorini

Santorini (Greece) is a volcanic island. It is known for its stunning sunsets from the town of Oia (pronounced “eea”). Naturally, we wanted to experience the dramatic sunsets.

When we checked into our hotel, Santorini Crystal Blue Suites, Salima spoke to the hotel manager about arranging transportation to experience the amazing Santorini sunsets. They took care of everything. They made a reservation for a sunset dinner at the Ammoudi Fish Tavern and they booked the driver.

The driver was to pick us up at 5:45pm, but he didn’t show up until after 6:30pm. It was about a 35-minute drive from the hotel on Kamari Beach to the town of Oia. Sunset was at 7:15.

The village of Oia sits on top of a hill. The restaurant, Ammoudi Fish Tavern was located in Ammoudi Bay below Oia. The drive took us up to Oia and then down a very steep and narrow road to Ammoudi Bay. The instructions provided to the driver were that he was to drop us at the bottom of the road, close to the restaurant.

As the time drew closer to sunset, busloads of tourists were brought down this same road. The buses would actually back down the steep road as there was very little room for them to turn around at the bottom of the road. This caused huge traffic jams. Seeing this traffic, our driver said that he would not be able to take us down to the bottom of the hill and insisted that it was a very short walk to the restaurant.

We caught the sunset, but the experience was ruined

Now, Salima suffers from Rheumatoid Arthritis, an autoimmune disorder that affects the lining of your joints that results in painful swelling and eventual bone erosion and joint deformity. This disease has left her with a permanent mobility impairment; which makes walking long distances difficult and painful for her. The driver was aware of this.

Up until now, the drivers throughout our trip had been good. They had recognized Salima’s condition and understood the special attention that was required. Unfortunately, we made the mistake of trusting this driver.

From our vantage point, in the car, we could not see beyond the curve in the road. We trusted the driver. In hindsight, I should have gotten out first to scope out the distance – lesson learned. As soon as we got out of the car, the driver was gone. Now, had the driver been patient and waited about 10 minutes, he would have been able to get us closer to the bottom of the road.

I realized very quickly that the distance to the restaurant was too far for Salima to walk, but it was too late. The driver was already gone and neither of us had cell service where we were. While Salima waited where she was, I ran down the hill and asked a bus driver to call the car service. He got a hold of them, but it took about 30 minutes for the driver to come back.

While we caught the sunset, the experience was ruined.

He didn’t put his customer first

I was pretty shaken up by this incident. My responsibility was to protect my wife and I felt that I had failed. I was angry at the driver and I was angry at myself for letting us get into this situation.

Everything worked out in the end and we were able to salvage that evening, but that story is for another day.

The driver knew that Salima had a disability. On the drive over, he asked about her condition. He reiterated his understanding for the condition. And he recognized that walking was difficult for her. Yet he still did not deliver on his promise of getting us to the agreed upon destination safely. He didn’t put his customer first. He was only thinking of himself. He didn’t want to wait in the traffic and he didn’t want to deal with the effort of trying to turn around at the bottom of the road.

What I realized after reflecting on the experience, was that I was left with a disappointing feeling, and a negative attitude towards the driver. When he came back to pick us up, the way I spoke to him was different. I no longer had respect for him. I had convinced myself based on that experience that he didn’t care about his customer. He didn’t put his customer first.

Landlords must have a tenant first approach

Now think about this from a landlord – tenant relationship perspective.

As landlords (this includes property managers), when we rent out a property, we take on the responsibility of delivering a property that meets a certain safety standard. The tenant perceives that the property they are renting from us will be “home” for them. They are looking forward to making new memories there. They are expecting that they will be comfortable, that they will safe and that they will be happy there. The tenants are also expecting that we, as the landlord, will be accessible and responsive should any issues arise.

If we as landlords don’t take a tenant first approach in our rental property business, then we are putting our relationship with our tenants in jeopardy. When we don’t take a tenant first approach, it could lead to an expectation gap. The expectation gap is the difference between what the tenant expects to experience and what they actually experience. This could impact the perception that the tenant has of us. This could impact the tenant’s happiness, and this could impact the tenant’s respect for us.

Uphill battle to salvage that relationship

When your tenant loses respect for you, it becomes an uphill battle to salvage that relationship. This is where we start to see fly-by-night tenants, tenants not caring about property and you start to see tenants withholding rent. This leads to tenant turnover, property damage and then you as a landlord needing to evict your tenant.

When you take a tenant first approach, this drives your actions, your behaviour and your attitude towards the tenant. It demonstrates to the tenant that your care about the tenant. It demonstrates to the tenant that you care about the property. And it goes a long way to building trust and credibility with your tenants. The tenant first approach has a positive impact on tenant turnover, reduces property damage and reduces the risk of evictions. It makes you a better landlord.

To learn some of the key strategies involved with the tenant first approach, check out the Secret to Happy and Long-Term Tenants.

In the next article, I will share the observations that I made during my mediterranean cruise on the Azamara Pursuit. This next article focuses on customer service and how showing care and concern for your tenants can go a long way in lowering your turnover rate.


Ali Alidina | Landlord Simplified

Ali Alidina

Ali founded LandlordSimplified.com where he shares his learnings, experiences and his best practices to help rental property owners to overcome the learning curve in their rental property business.
 

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Weed Legalization: 2 Major Challenges for Landlords

Weed | Cannabis | Pot | Ali Alidina | Landlord Simplified
Cannabis

Weed Legalization: 2 Major Challenges for Landlords

Weed is now legal or decriminalized for recreational or medical use in Canada and 18 state in the United States.
Landlords, are you ready?

Weed (also known as cannabis, pot, marijuana, reefer, grass, doobie, joint), is now legal or decriminalized for recreational use or medical use in Canada and 18 states in the United States (US). This could potentially present some challenges for landlords, rental property owners and property managers.

With this change, there are two major challenges that landlords need to consider:

  • tenants smoking weed in the property; and
  • tenants growing weed in the property

Landlord Responsibility

As landlords and property managers, we need to be proactive in addressing these concerns with our tenants. We have a responsibility to educate our tenants. This is important so that we can create awareness and set expectations with our tenants. We spend some time discussing this in my courses 8 Simple Rules for Landlords and The Secret to Happy and Long-Term Tenants.

If we don’t communicate our expectations and rules to our tenants, then we can’t expect our tenants to follow the rules. By not setting expectations with our tenants we are increasing the likelihood of conflict in our relationship with our tenants. And this can also extend to our neighbours, and to the condo association/homeowner’s association.

With the change to the law, we are likely to see an increase in the number of tenants consuming weed. And there may also be those who will grow their own. While we can’t stop our tenants from consuming and growing weed, we can educate and set expectations.

The fire of 2014

smoking

For me, personally, as a landlord I am concerned about smoking within the unit. In the summer of 2014, a massive fire ripped through a condo complex where I owned a unit. The fire was caused by an improperly disposed cigarette. It displaced nearly 400 people, including my tenants and caused over $10 million in damages. Thank God everyone made it out safely. But it took almost 2 years before all the residents could return.

Consuming Weed

Since that time, I am always weary and overcautious when it comes to smoking in the property. The expectation that I have set with my tenants is that no form of smoking, e-cigarette, cigar, pipe, hookah or marijuana can be consumed within the unit. They are however, allowed to smoke it on the balcony, deck or patio, but even then, I have rules surrounding that. If they are smoking, they cannot leave their lit joint or cigarette unattended and they must properly extinguish the butt in a glass or pot of water before disposing it in the garbage. In my rules documentation, I specify that butts or ashes must never be flushed down the toilet, sink or drain and must never be disposed of in the grass, shrubs or potted plants around the property.

Growing Weed

Now you can ban your tenant from growing weed in the property. However, depending on the laws in your region, you might not be able to enforce it. It is important to have an open conversation with your tenant. Educate them on the risks of growing weed in the unit; for example risks of mold growth, property damage, impact to their renters insurance, the smell, etc.

As landlords, this means that we will need to be more vigilant in conducting more frequent inspections of our properties to check up on tenants and ensure that they are not growing weed in the unit.

Communicate Expectations

For landlords, communicating and making sure that your tenant understands your expectations will go a long way to paving a path towards a strong and amicable relationship with your tenants. It will reduce the risk of conflict during the tenancy and will lower the chances of accidental damage to the property.

If you need help with crafting your rules document or setting expectations with your tenants, feel free to reach out, I’m always happy to help. Send me a message to get started.
Ali Alidina | Landlord Simplified

Ali Alidina

Ali founded LandlordSimplified.com where he shares his learnings, experiences and his best practices to help rental property owners to overcome the learning curve in their rental property business.
 

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Property Management Best Practice 1: Pay attention to the simple little things

Simple little things make a huge difference | Ali Alidina | Landlord Simplified
Simple little things make a huge difference

Property Management Best Practice 1: Pay attention to the simple little things

I made 10 profound observations that are important property management best practices for landlords during my summer 2018 European vacation. The first best practice is Landlords need to pay attention to the simple little things.

This article is the first of ten property management best practices for landlords based on my observations from my summer 2018 European vacation.

The long journey to Barcelona

My wife, Salima, and I were at a wedding in Edmonton on September 8th. I was the emcee for the afternoon ceremonies and from there Salima and I rushed to the airport for our 5pm flight to Amsterdam. The flight was an 8hr flight to Amsterdam, with a short layover and then a 2-hour flight to Barcelona. We got into Barcelona at about 3pm on September 9th. We were exhausted.

Salima had pre-arranged all of our transfers for the trip (one of the perks of having an experienced travel agent who takes care of everything).

Oops…

Our driver picked us up from the airport and dropped us at our hotel. The Yurbban Trafalgar. We have never stayed at the hotel, let alone been to Barcelona before. Our driver took our luggage into the hotel and we followed. When we got inside the hotel, I gave our name for the reservation, but they didn’t have that name on their reservations list. “Are you sure you are staying here at the Yurbban Passage Hotel and Spa and not at the Yurbban Trafalgar?” the hotel attendant asked. Oops…we were at the wrong hotel. Luckily the Yurbban Trafalgar was just next door. Phew!

Yurbban to the rescue

Now the hotel attendant could have told us to go next door, but they didn’t. They took our luggage and walked us over to the Yurbban Trafalgar and helped us to get checked in. Salima had also booked a mobility scooter for herself which was dropped off at the hotel. It was parked in the parking garage. Once again, they could have told us to go down to the parking garage to pick it up, but they didn’t. The attendant went and picked up the scooter and brought it to the front desk and then escorted us to our room.

After a long journey from Edmonton, Canada to Barcelona, Spain, the staff at both Yurbban locations held out an olive branch and through their actions told us don’t worry, we will take care of you. This was a huge relief. The Yurbban understood how the small little things makes a huge difference.

Check-out

When we were checking out of the hotel a couple of days later, two hotel attendants from the hotel came out to help us. They took our luggage to the vehicle. They directed the driver to bring the vehicle closer to the curb so that it would be easier for Salima to get into the vehicle; and they didn’t walk away until our luggage was in the trunk and we were safely seated in the vehicle.

Simple little things

These are simple little things, that can make or break our experience as guests. They didn’t have to do it, but they did it anyways. It shows that they care about their guests, about their experience. We, as guests, felt safe. We felt that the Yurbban cared about us as guests, even when we were leaving the hotel. Both Salima and I left feeling that when we come back to Barcelona, we will definitely stay at the Yurbban Trafalgar again.

As landlords, the simple little things can make a huge difference to our tenants. These little things can tremendously impact our tenant’s experience and their happiness. If the tenant feels cared for, feels safe, is happy in their home that they are renting from you, then you have the makings of a good long-term tenant.

Simple little things like saying please and thank you, returning your tenant’s phone call, actually listening to the tenant, appreciating your tenant. These are small little things that you can do that don’t cost you very much, if anything, but can go a long way to creating a positive, long-term relationship with your tenants.

In the next article, Property Management Best Practice 2: Landlords must have a tenant first approach, I will share the observations that I made about our drivers in Barcelona and how their actions and their service differed drastically from the experience we had with one driver in Santorini.


Ali Alidina | Landlord Simplified

Ali Alidina

Ali founded LandlordSimplified.com where he shares his learnings, experiences and his best practices to help rental property owners to overcome the learning curve in their rental property business.
 

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10 property management best practices from my European vacation

10 property management best practices | Ali Alidina | Landlord Simplified
10 property management best practices from my European vacation

10 property management best practices from my European vacation

I made 10 profound observations that are important property management best practices for landlords during my summer 2018 European vacation. Over the next few weeks I will be sharing these best practices.

Let me start off by telling you a little about the trip.

About the trip

My wife, Salima Hirani, is a travel agent with Expedia CruiseShipCenters Terwillegar. Being in the industry, Salima needs to travel to learn about the various products, services and destinations. Of course, I hop along for the ride – lucky me!

This trip was a 19-day European vacation that started with 2 nights in Barcelona, followed by a 10 day cruise on the Azamara Pursuit through the Mediterranean that ended in Athens. From Athens we flew to Santorini for 2 nights and then off to Paris for 3 nights. And a couple of days allowance for travel to and from Europe.

What a trip this was!

In the 19-days, Salima and I travelled through 5 European countries (Spain, France, Monaco, Italy and Greece) and visited 13 cities, towns and villages through Europe:

  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Saint-Tropez, France
  • Monte Carlo, Monaco
  • Livorno, Italy
  • Pisa, Italy
  • Civitavecchia (Rome Port), Italy
  • Amalfi, Italy
  • Giardini (Siciliy), Italy
  • Nafplio, Greece
  • Athens, Greece
  • Kamari Beach (Santorini), Greece
  • Oia (Santorini), Greece
  • Paris, France

If I had to pick my 5 favourite places that we visited, it would be Barcelona, Saint-Tropez, Monte Carlo, Amalfi and Santorini.

Property Management Best Practices

I’m an observer. I’ve always been that way. I analyze what I see. I incorporate the good and learn from the bad. And on this trip there were a lot of observations. These observations were confirmations of property management best practices for landlords that I’d like to share with you over the next few weeks.

  1. Landlords need to pay attention to the simple little things
  2. Property Management Best Practice 2: Landlords must have a tenant first approach

Ali Alidina | Landlord Simplified

Ali Alidina

Ali founded LandlordSimplified.com where he shares his learnings, experiences and his best practices to help rental property owners to overcome the learning curve in their rental property business.
 

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Did you hear about the Landlord that was fined $12K for wearing his shoes in his tenant’s home?

Landlord Fined $12,000 for wearing his shoes in his tenant's home. | Ali Alidina | Landlord Simplified

Did you hear about the Landlord who was fined $12K for wearing his shoes in his tenant’s home?

I came across an article where a landlord was fined $12,000 for wearing his shoes in his tenant’s home.

In this video I am going to share 3 basic rules that every landlord must follow to protect themselves and to keep their tenant’s happy.

Hi, I am Ali Alidina, founder of Landlord Simplified where I share my learnings, experiences and my best practices to help you overcome the learning curve in your rental property business.

Let’s get started!

The article said that the tenants used their bedroom as a prayer space and repeatedly requested that the landlord remove his shoes before entering the bedroom to show the property. The landlord didn’t comply and felt that the tenants were imposing their religious beliefs on him. A Canadian human rights tribunal disagreed with the Landlord and ordered him to pay a $12,000 fine to the tenants on the grounds of religious discrimination.

Now there are 3 basic rules that every landlord must follow to reduce the risk of finding themselves in a similar situation.

I’m going to walk through those 3 rules right now.

The first rule is respect. While the landlord owns the property, the minute they rent out the property it becomes the tenant’s home. As a landlord, you need to shift your perspective once you have rented out the property. That home is now the tenant’s sanctuary. It is a place where you want the tenant to feel comfortable and safe. Many people create sacred spaces in their homes, like the tenants in the article. To keep it sacred the people set boundaries and rules around that space. As the landlord you need to respect the tenant’s space and their wishes and requests surrounding that space.

This leads us into the second rule – operate your rental properties like a business and provide great customer service. You can’t grow a sustainable business without happy customers. For landlords, your customers are your tenants. If you treat your tenants with respect and provide them with great customer service, you will cultivate happy tenants. And most happy tenants tend to turn into good, long-term tenants.

The final rule is to familiarize yourself with the local laws. The laws set boundaries and help you to understand your rights and responsibilities as a landlord. Having a good grasp of the law will guide you and protect you as a landlord and it will better prepare you for setting expectations with your tenants.

  1. Respect your tenants;
  2. Operate your rental properties like a business and provide great customer service; and
  3. Have a good grasp of the local law. These three basic rules will protect you as a landlord and keep your tenants happy.

Now if you are feeling stuck, stressed, or overwhelmed in your rental property business feel free to reach out.

Until next time, I’m Ali Alidina for Landlord Simplified, keeping it simple.

To read the full article on the Landlord that was fined $12,000 for wearing his shoes in his tenant’s home, please click here.


Ali Alidina | Landlord Simplified

Ali Alidina

Ali founded LandlordSimplified.com where he shares his learnings, experiences and his best practices to help rental property owners to overcome the learning curve in their rental property business.
 

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