Guilty! Unfortunately, I don’t mean sexually, I mean strictly platonically. Yes, a plain, old, boring platonic relationship with my tenants. Fingers crossed, one day I’ll be telling the tale of a sexual nature.
For those of you who keep up with my blog, you’ll know that I’ve recently had new tenants move into one of my cribs. They’re a young married couple, with a 2 year old daughter. They’re really cool, fun, and down to earth- people I can actually enjoy a conversation with. The first day they moved in they asked a guy across the street if they could borrow a Hoover, and they also asked their next door neighbour if they could borrow some spoons to eat their cereal (they hadn’t moved all their stuff in at this point). That’s the kind of people they are- and I like it.
I’ve never actually been in a position where I’ve built up a friendship with any of my tenants. I mean, I’m friendly with all my tenants, but I’ve never been “friends” with any of them. I used to think that was because I was too professional to let myself get into that kind of situation. It turns out it was simply because I never really had anything in common with my other current/previous tenants, so it was easy to think of them as just inanimate vessels to pay my mortgage.
Since my tenants moved in, I’ve seen them a few times, and every time we seem to get tangled into long and entertaining conversations- the type of conversations friends have. This whole situation worried me, because I’ve always maintained that landlords should never get too friendly with their tenants because it’s dangerous- it’s mixing business with pleasure.
The dangers of becoming too friendly with tenants
- tenants may get too comfortable and feel obliged to ask for favours i.e. delay on rental payment.
- disputes may seem more emotionally charged, as opposed to strictly business
- it would be tougher to evict “friends” if that’s what it came down to
- I may find myself being “easier” on them with certain things, while under the same circumstances I wouldn’t necessary be as lenient with my other tenants
- it’s easy to slip out of a business frame of mind when the clients are “friends”
Having thought about it, I realised, I don’t feel uneasy that I’ve become friends with them, I actually feel a bit more secure.
Reasons why being friends with my tenants is OK
- makes it easier to trust the tenants- I have more confident in the fact that they won’t trash my property and that they’ll pay the bills
- it’s easier to communicate e.g. I’d feel comfortable telling them not to smoke in the house.
- a lot of tenants move at the end of their tenancy agreement because they don’t have a healthy relationship with their landlord. If my relationship is healthy with my tenants, it may give them a more long-term incentive to stay
- By engaging into long conversations with my tenants, it’s given me the ability to suss out what kind of people they are. Of course, I mean that on a basic level; I’m not going to be naive and say that i have them all worked out, but I think I have a good idea of their general nature- kind and sociable. I wouldn’t necessarily have been able to develop a conclusion like that had I not have spent time talking to them.
- Because I know they’re soft and gentle people, I know that if it came down to war, I would have no problems kicking their asses! That’s comforting to know.
It’s a tricky situation to be in, but I think my initial judgment of perceiving the act of a landlord being friends with a tenant as a negative scenario was pretty premature.
I think I’ve managed to conjure up a conclusion that sits well with my conscious. There are good and bad points of being too friendly with tenants, just as there are good and bad points of treating your tenants as purely vessels to pay your bills. So, which is the better approach to take? It all really depends on what type of people your tenants are; what kind of chemistry you have with them. If they’re friendly, sociable and your kind of people, then that’s cool, be friends with them. If they’re not, then that’s also cool, just let them be in peace.
What kind of relationship do you have with your tenant(s)/Landlord?