In this episode we discuss the fine line between making your tenants feel cared and looked after, without them getting into the mindset that they are guests and the rental property is a 'hotel' where they have no responsibilities towards the property.
Welcome to Canada's Property Management Podcast, your number one resource for investing, managing, and maximizing the value of your real estate assets. And now here's your hosts, Carla Browne and Adrian Schulz. Canada's rental property experts.
Carla Browne (00:19):
In today's episode, we are going to be talking about tenant or guest. I'm not sure what you're thinking when I say that, Adrian, and I'm scared to ask actually, so I think we're just going to dive into this one a little bit. It is one that I think I'm hesitant to talk too much about it, because I don't want people to be upset with me, especially from the tenant/guest side. But here's what I'm thinking, a guest. A guest is somebody who stays at a hotel. A tenant, or we like the word resident, but tenant is more commonly known in our listening group. So tenant is somebody who's renting our property. Often, our offices get these calls where the light bulb is burnt out, or I think my smoke alarm is broken because it's beeping, or is somebody going to come and shovel my sidewalk. Then in my mind, I'm thinking they think they're a guest. They think they're a guest. In our minds, in property management of single family home, because the multifamily space a little bit different in this area, but single family homes there are some responsibilities that a tenant is going to have. But I think it's all about expectations. Don't you?
Adrian Schulz (01:34):
Yeah. Well, as you're talking, I'm thinking about it. When I'm at home, I always think that I'm a guest at home but my wife reminds me that I'm a resident, meaning I'm also responsible to help with some of the tasks. But, while I was thinking that I was also wondering who shot the zebra. You're wearing zebra stripes today going this way and I'm wearing pinstripes going the other way. I don't know how this happens.
Carla Browne (02:01):
We're both striped up. I haven't wore this for ever actually, but it's super cold here today. I think you said it was cold where you are too, it's minus 32 here. So I was like, I need something warm and cozy to wear today, so I ended up with the cozy striped blazer.
Adrian Schulz (02:17):
Yeah, as aside from the zebras stripes and this is really to encourage you to go and watch the video version of the episode on our YouTube channel so that you can see why we get to make fun of each other. But yeah, no, I totally agree with you. I think that most tenants actually want to be treated as guests and it's a fine balance. However, if you are living in a property long term as a tenant, as a resident, you do have an obligation, I think on many different levels, to assure that the property that you are living in is being maintained correctly. And the reason that we say that is that the property manager or a rental owner isn't necessarily going to naturally know when some of those things require attention. You do have a responsibility if you are living in a place, just like when you have a rental car, you have to put gas in it and when you're driving a rental car you have to make sure it has oil and windshield washer fluid. You don't naturally go check it right away, but you certainly have that obligation. It's the same thing with being a rental tenant, you still have certain level of obligation to make sure that things can run smoothly in coordination with your property manager.
Carla Browne (03:41):
Right. And it is a fine line because we want our tenants or residents to feel that we're looking after them. We want them to understand that their needs are being met, but we also want them to make the unit that they're in their home. I actually like traveling, I miss it in what we've gone through in the last couple years. And I like going to hotel and pre-pandemic I was in a hotel maybe for five or six days in a row every month. So it's kind of like this break from reality for me, but it's always nice to go home. So we want them to feel like there's no place like home. Dorothy.
Adrian Schulz (04:23):
Wow. That's magical.
Carla Browne (04:25):
That just came out. I don't even know where that came from. Now I want to click my heels. Sorry. Sorry.
We want them to understand that they do have some responsibilities there and we want this to be a partnership between the tenant and us, but include the air b&bs and the short term rentals have really changed this because when you go into a short term rental, you are a guest, but you're renting that you're paying at that level. You expect these little things to be happening for you, but when you're renting a property that you're making your home, there are things that you're going to be responsible for. But it's just a matter of both the landlord and the tenant or resident understanding that right from the get go.
Adrian Schulz (05:03):
Yeah. And I think the simplest way to filter whether or not you should be responsible for some of the preventative or routine supply driven maintenance items, such as light bulbs, furnace filters, batteries in the smoke alarm, et cetera, is if you don't have a common area like a hallway, et cetera, if you have a door to the exterior, right? So that's going to be a single family home, a duplex, in some cases triplex, fourplex, or you've got direct access to the outside. It's probably good to assume that you need participate in maintaining the necessary items in the home, and that is to your benefit as a tenant, but of course also for the property itself. Look, if you don't change the furnace filter and it gets too plugged up and you end up ruining the furnace and you don't have heat when it's minus 30 or minus 40, like it is today, you too may end up needing to wear a zebra suit just like Carla.
Carla Browne (06:13):
Now that's real property management.
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