While there’s no question the relationships between tenants and landlords (or property management companies, PMCs) have always carried a certain disreputable stigma, the opportunities for positive advancement in the rental housing ecosystem couldn’t be more inevitable- and it’s exciting to see.

Before COVID-19 rocked the economy- and with it, the housing industry, homeownership was a high priority for anxious potential buyers looking to take advantage of the record-low interest rates. But as the effects of the pandemic continue to ripple through the markets, potential buyers are shifting their ideas on home buying; And landlords, property managers, and tenants should pay close attention.


The “American Dream” is beginning to look a little different when it comes to our values. It was once all about purchasing a home. In fact, real estate investors are forecasting the US to become a rental nation, and it’s no wonder when more millennials are planning on renting forever rather than saving to buy. Truth is, while mortgage rates have dropped, the pandemic has made mortgage credit harder to get. With trends like these, we need to start thinking about how we can begin to reformat how we serve the rental community and the typically flawed relationship with the renter demographic.

That being said, if you’ve ever asked a landlord or tenant about their experiences with renting, you’re probably going to hear at least one negative encounter they’ve had during tenancy. Even more so now with the effects of COVID-19, the stress on these relationships is at an all-time high. Fortunately, there’s always successful relationships that are lasting and beneficial for both parties, we just don’t hear about them enough. But things are changing, and the opportunities to support one another are at our fingertips.

To highlight these, we’ve put together a list of 10 essential resources that property managers could be providing their tenants right now, bolstering their relationships, and paving the way for a new outlook on leasing.

People who listen more, care more. All it takes is a moment of your time.

  1. Listen

As with any business, communication is paramount to success, and the tenant-landlord relationship is no exception. When landlords/property managers provide an open line of communication to their tenants (as well as outgoing tenants they couldn’t retain), they build trust, respect, and understanding for them as people, and not just as a profit. Plus, communication is the most affordable option for PMCs and landlords. Whether it’s providing tenants with a direct line to reach out to during standard business hours, an emergency 24-hour line, e-mail communication, in-person/virtual meetings or even surveys, communication between the landlord and tenant should satisfy both parties’ availability requirements and needs. When a tenant feels safe to communicate their needs with their landlord, and vise versa, the relationship is strengthened. This way, when issues do arise, the potential risk for heavy conflict is diminished, and a level of trust has already been established.

2. Strengthen

You can start a neighbor referral program to promote community or simply initiate consumer support to your renters who are already there. Referral programs (note: some offer financial rewards to those who successfully refer a new neighbor) have been shown to dramatically increase overall satisfaction. Credit support programs are also a good way to show you care. In spite of the fact that consumers spend roughly 30–60% of their monthly income at times, paying your rent on-time won’t affect your credit score. But reporting your rent payments can help build your credit and in turn, boost your scores. There are several paid services, along with free ones that landlords can provide to tenants to offer this option. The fact that this isn’t something regularly offered to tenants is surprising. It should be a formed part of the rental agreement and process from the start.

3. Reassure
A common concern among landlords and PMCs is that the tenant(s) will not keep the property in good sanitary condition, and with the current pandemic, keeping things clean is more important than ever. Landlords could be providing tenants with a list of their local cleaning companies, like Molly Maid for a discounted rate, especially if the landlord has an affiliate partnership with the company. This is just one simple way landlords and tenants can cooperate together to keep living conditions healthy. The opportunities here are boundless, and landlord’s can get creative with reward systems for cleanliness.

Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash

When you care for others.. they’ll care for you. We can give you the tools to support positive relationships.

4. Care

Health services are needed now more than ever, and landlords can be doing their part to help their residents cope. COVID-19 is sweeping the nation with physical symptoms, but the mental/emotional ones too are just as serious. Aside from ensuring your tenants are able to keep their distance from others with things like contactless/online bill pay or can use mobile communication, make sure you’re also aware of mental health. Effects such as: grief, fear, anxiety, stress, depression, etc. are just a few that the coronavirus have caused. Landlords can assist tenants and their families by offering access to resources that keep everyone safe and healthy. Whether it’s reaching out personally to check in, providing infographics with a list of mental health resources like SAMHSA, an affiliate link for mental health counseling like betterhelp.com, or community support meetings (preferably virtual) where tenants can connect and relate. Mental health is a major issue in our country, and no one should have to feel alone. Also consider keeping a “quick reference file” in your CRM or management software on each of your tenants as it can really help when communicating with them. This file can support each and every one of these bulleted points.

5. Update

While this seems like an obvious table stake, this is also something that landlords or PMCs might miss on a regular basis. It’s important to again be communicating with tenants about when routine maintenance or cleaning is going to be taking place in the common areas or around the property. As a landlord, this is a responsibility that you carry, unless otherwise expressly written into a tenant’s lease. Regardless, when everyone is informed, there’s no room for unwanted surprises when individuals or crews come on site to perform their work. Plus, keeping the common areas clean and tidy reinforces expectations of how tenants should treat the property. Providing a clean environment promotes cleanliness on their behalf too.

Photo by United Nations COVID-19 Response on Unsplash

6. Appreciate

A recent study from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard finds that 10.9 million renters spent more than 50% of their income on rent in 2018. With this type of cost on housing, a little appreciation for renters goes a very long way. It could be as simple as sending a gift card to a tenant for their favorite local coffee shop after three months of consecutive rent payments, or a percentage off the rent to the tenants who renew their lease after 12 months. So many different incentives can go into this type of program, and it’s really exciting for both tenants and landlords to explore!

7. Provide

The age of ordinary pizza delivery is over now that delivery services like GrubHub and DoorDash have come into existence! Landlords should again begin to explore options of working with and managing software integrations that can provide tenants with access to services like these. When tenants feel connected and supported through satisfaction of their everyday needs, they’re more likely to want to stick around. After all, everybody eats!

8. Assist
While HIPPA prevents landlords from directly asking for medical information or information regarding a diagnosis of their tenant’s, a resident has their own right to share this information if they please. And if they do so, landlords can offer resources for local medical care, or offer to call and schedule appointments on the tenant’s behalf. Especially now during this pandemic, tenants may not have the support of friends or family like they used to. This extra step in offering help is a compassionate way to show renters that you care about their health and wellbeing.

BETTER services can help you and your renters win!

9. Innovate

You are your own entrepreneur. Innovate and adopt new, more helpful tools. Most tenancy application processes can cost potential residents anywhere from $30 per applicant, to $100 per applicant. Although these practices seem justly warranted to help with costs of background checks, screenings, and the application process in general, new insurance policies have opened the door for residents to pay a lesser one time payment, or smaller additions to the monthly rental payment to cover the costs. Furthermore, a deposit buy-back program is enticing to potential residents because of the reward involved. Property managers have the option to create this incentive and motivate renters to stay on top of their payments and follow their lease terms.

Photo by Nirmal Rajendharkumar on Unsplash

10. Expand

Newer platforms can help widen and increase opportunities for connection between residents, landlords, and the community. Adding meaningful touch points help to bring (and keep) residents together and supported. When landlords stay connected to their properties, they have a better opportunity to support their tenants in this way too. Whether it’s a bi-weekly e-letter with helpful tips and reminders of awesome, positive things happening in the building or community, a monthly calendar filled with local events, entertainment, and local activities, or a quarterly open-mic meeting where tenants have the opportunity to address concerns or direct questions to the landlord or PMC. Systems like these can dramatically improve morale and feelings of connectedness for residents, especially when they feel heard and supported.

To expand on this further, it’s the Property Manager’s duty to understand and serve the community, and therefore should understand who they serve. After all, residents offer up so much of their time and information to secure a lease in the first place. Why not use that information to help them? Do your renters have children or a spouse with them? Maybe a dog or special pet? It might seem abnormal at first but learning the first names of family members, pets, or knowing what’s going on in a tenant’s life goes such a long way. Personal touch and compassion wins the day, and as property managers, we should be winning.


  • DAILY LAUGHS — find soft, appropriate humor that your properties can share with their tenants.
  • SPECIAL EVENTS — though harder during quarantine efforts, you can alway do things like host a “master chef day” that enables residents purchase unique food or vendors that supply a well discounted service for a day.
  • RAFFLES — this allows your tenants to all participate but allows you to focus costs and benefits. One client even gives away a free month of rent to the best entry/write-up to that particular contest.
  • GAMIFY COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT — if you need community involvement in information gathering, feedback or guidance, you can provide badges or community bulletin posts of best responses, good deeds, best door decor during holidays and more.
  • INVEST IN TECH — it goes without saying but there are a ton of helpful tools out there to make your life and there’s easier. *Feel free to reach out and ask about it.

Keep in mind, our digital world can either create more distractions or enable greater efficiencies. Ask yourself, “What is your software doing (or not doing) for you?” This is just a short list of some of the resources that landlords and property managers should be providing to their tenants now. If you want to learn more on how to create a more symbiotic relationship with your residents, visit www.leasera.com and get in touch.

QUESTION TO THE AUDIENCE: are you doing anything “extra” for your residents? We want to hear about your victories or your challenges. Feel free to reach out and let us know.

Find out what it means to be a part of a unified rental market at www.leasera.com, and discover a new life on leasing.

by Barret Newberry, CEO Leasera

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