Do you conduct new tenant orientations? If not, you might be missing a great opportunity. Tenant orientations are a valuable step in the property management process — one that can save money and increase tenant retention.
Why Conduct Tenant Orientations?
An orientation, when provided as each new tenant moves in, can help tenants:
Stay safe at the property;
Avoid breaking things;
Get the most value out of the amenities;
Understand and comply with the rules;
Feel a part of the community; and
Build trust in the landlord-tenant relationship.
How to Conduct a Tenant Orientation
The agenda for a tenant orientation depends on the type of property, and on how much tenants will be required to do on their own.
For instance, in a single-family property, the landlord might show the tenant the water and gas shut-offs in case of emergency, go over snow removal policies and explain how to safely use the lawn mover. The tenant may need to learn how to replace the furnace filters, or how to deal with mice.
In apartments, the orientation may focus on safety items like emergency access routes, how to safely use appliances, and prohibitions on burning candles or disabling smoke alarms.
In general, the orientation agenda will include a review of lease terms such as guest policies and noise restrictions, and will include specific instructions on how to comply with the lease, like when and where rent can be dropped off, how to set up utilities, and how to report repairs.
Additional Tips for Tenant Orientations
Conduct the orientation at move-in. Don’t wait until you have a group of tenants.
Do it in person. Videos or written instructions are useful as reference tools, but part of the value of the orientation is the interaction with the landlord, as well as the opportunity for the tenant to ask questions.
Show some enthusiasm during the orientation, even if you’ve gone over the same points a hundred times with other tenants.
When possible, show the tenant rather than telling them what to do. People learn by doing. That’s especially true with emergency access issues, like removing window bars. The tenant needs to feel confident with the task.
Use the opportunity to make the tenant feel welcome, like offering a little gift, which can be as simple as a cookie.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.