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A risky friendship

Wednesday, 7th Nov 2012

handshake

There may be times as a landlord when you personally meet and directly converse with your tenants. You may even get to know them quite well and start forming a friendship, or perhaps you were even friends before they became your tenant.

But is it a good idea to be friends with your tenant? Some would say it’s a good thing as there will be mutual trust and better communication and understanding. Plus, it may even encourage the tenant to stay in the property long term.

However, there are very good reasons why it isn’t advisable to get too friendly with your tenants. For instance, tenants may get too comfortable and start asking for favours, such as delaying their rental payments or bringing a pet into the property. And you as the landlord may find yourself being easier on them with some matters such as how they are maintaining the property.

When the boundaries between landlord and friend become blurred, it could easily open a can of worms, especially if something goes wrong. What will you do when the neighbours complain about loud parties at the property? How will you handle a serious breach of the lease agreement? It might be tough to evict a friend.

It’s absolutely a good idea to be courteous and treat your tenants with respect, but being friendly is very different from being friends. So by all means, feel free to send your tenant a Christmas card but perhaps don’t invite them over for Christmas dinner.

Always keep in mind that owning an investment property is a business, and it’s rarely a good idea to mix business with pleasure. The tenant-owner relationship should almost always remain at arm’s length. That’s where a professional property manager is essential, to help keep your business on track, remove the emotional component in decision making and act as the ideal intermediary when handling issues.