Dealing with Tenants


You need a lot of patience when it comes to dealing with tenants who don’t know as much as you do.

I am a property manager and every single day I talk to at least one tenant. Many days, dealing with tenants takes up the majority of my time.

Sometimes the tenant has a problem that I have to help solve.  Other times the tenant has a question about something they are “wondering” about.  Many days someone will have a question that just makes me want to roll my eyes.

The other day, I was talking to another property manager.  As we talked, it became obvious that she was irritated with a lot of the tenants she dealt with.  But, she really, really hated dealing with tenants that were college students, because they didn’t seem to know anything. They asked a lot of questions and took up a lot of time.

Can You Relate?

As we were talking, I started feeling guilty.  Quite frankly, I was able to relate to what she was saying. As a property manager, one of my jobs is to assist the tenants in any way that I can.  But, I have had days where I felt the same way.  On these days, dealing with tenants can really be stressful.

There are always tenants that are more trouble than others.  These tenants ask more questions and sometimes seem completely helpless.  Sometimes they make you wonder how on earth they even got into college or got a job!  They seem very needy and unable to complete the simplest task without my help.  I wonder how on earth they are going to make it in this life!

Sometimes when I see these tenants names come up on caller ID, I have the urge to just let the call roll to voice mail.  After talking to these tenants in the past, I know they are going to probably have some off the wall question or demand.

Being Patient is Part of Our Job

Honestly, I am busy and some days I don’t feel like being patient.  But I do answer the call and talk to these tenants because it’s my job.  It is my job to help these tenants navigate through their rental experience.  But I’m not going to lie. At times, the urge is still there to hide and not answer the phone.  There are just days when dealing with tenants takes a whole lot of patience.

Later in the day, after talking to my property manager friend, I had to meet with some of these same college students that we had been talking about.

I pulled up to the house and some of them were already there waiting to meet me and get in. They were energetic and excited to be moving into their house for the coming semester.  These students were enthusiastic and thankful that I met with them to do their move in and give them their keys.  Nothing seemed to phase them.  It was hot and humid out but they didn’t care.  As soon as they had their keys, they started hauling their stuff in and getting on with their lives.

They made me feel old!

Standing there talking to them, it really hit me how much I know.   They were all very nice and easy to talk to.  All of them seemed intelligent but so young!


Sometimes it’s Just Inexperience

While it is very easy to roll my eyes on the phone and get irritated by how much they don’t know, it isn’t fair to them.  It is not that I am smarter than these students.   I am older and I know more because of my life experiences.  While they are legally adults, they are still very young.  Life is waiting to teach them all of the things that I already know and more!

I too had to learn the things that they are learning now.  No one is born knowing how to turn on utilities, where the furnace filter is, where to send the rent and that yes, you have to pay your rent on time or there will be late fees!

These students are people who are learning their way in the world and who maybe one day, will own rental property themselves. Hopefully they will all become responsible, contributing members of society.

As a property manager, it is my job to remember that not everyone has my life experiences. This is an exciting time in their lives. Whether they are students or are moving into their 5th or 6th home, everyone is stressed out these days and looking for help in making their lives flow more smoothly.

If I can help them out by providing a phone number for the local utility company, showing them where their furnace filter is or helping them set up their online rental payment, they are grateful.


The Goal is Having Happy Tenants

At the end of the day, my goal is to have happy tenants who pay the rent and stay for many, many years. Getting out and meeting my tenant’s puts a face and a personality to a name. As I get to know my tenants, it is easier to be patient with them when I know what is going on in their lives.  At the end of the day, I really enjoy my job and I enjoy getting to know everyone that I help while they live in a house I manage.

Remember, when dealing with tenants to be patient and kind to all them.  Some days will be harder than others! As property managers, we all have days where it seems like nothing goes right and our tenants do too.  Try to remember that and don’t be so quick to judge if someone is having a bad day.  Your tenants will appreciate you when you make their lives easier, even if they don’t tell you.


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About Debbie

Debbie VornholtDebbie has worked in real estate related fields for over 25 years. She is currently a property manager for a company that has a portfolio of hundreds of residential and commercial properties. Debbie believes that you need to have systems and policies for running your business (and keeping your sanity).

She has some great landlord stories over on her site so be sure to stop by her blog Common Sense Landlording when you have a chance. While you're there be sure to pick up her free tenant screening form for landlords.

Be sure top by and say hi on Facebook at Commonsense Landlording.


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