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Different Communication Options for Landlords and Tenants

Renters Warehouse Blog

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As a landlord, you’re regularly in contact with tenants, whether that’s to collect rent, manage repairs, or get feedback. Today, there are a variety of ways to communicate with your tenants, whether you live miles away or just down the road. Texts, emails, phone calls, or snail mail are the most popular options.

Each of these methods can be useful, and generally, it’s a good idea to have multiple forms of communication open, just in case. For example, most landlords give tenants a way to get ahold of them for routine requests, as well as an emergency contact number. Some communication, such as correspondence that requires signatures or contains important documents, should be done via email or, in some cases, good old-fashioned snail mail. 

Wondering which type of communication method is best? That depends on your unique situation. In this article, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of each of these methods so you can discover which ones you should use.

Why Communication With Tenants Is Essential

Landlords juggle a lot of responsibilities. While one of your top priorities is to keep the property safe and habitable for tenants, you also have to manage security deposits, screen applicants, collect rent, and maybe even look for more investment properties to acquire in order to build your portfolio.

It is also important to maintain a professional relationship with your tenants and do your best to keep them happy. After all, a happy tenant is one that may be more likely to stick around for longer. One of the best ways to do this is to maintain proper communication. 

  • In a 2020 National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) report, 31% of tenants said they left because they aren’t happy with management. Good relationships with tenants can, in some cases, lead to lower turnover rates.

  • Tenants will feel more comfortable reaching out if they have problems with the property or with payments.

  • When communication lines are clear and open, you’ll find that it’s much easier to have a conversation with your tenant, even if it’s to bring up less-than-pleasant news.

Is your tenant planning to move out? Check out this short video on 8 Steps to Take After a Tenant Leaves Your Rental.

Five Ways to Communicate With Your Tenants

Here are five communication options between landlords and tenants, along with their advantages and disadvantages:

  1. Mail

Snail mail may not be as widely used as it once was, but it’s important for some situations. Important documents, including certain types of notices, should be sent via mail just so you can ensure that the recipient receives it.

Send important documents via first-class certified mail so that you have proof of attempted contact. Tracked mail copies of documents can help you to prove that you made contact should a dispute arise in the future. 

Pros of Mail:

  • Certain types of important correspondence should be mailed. This includes certain notices, including eviction notices. Legal documents or things that require written consent from the tenant may be best sent via mail as well.

  • Letters are a great option for some tenants, such as older generations, who don’t use email or may not open their emails often.

  • This is a great backup method to use alongside email.

Cons of Mail: 

  • There’s the risk that your letter gets lost in the mail and goes unread. To avoid this, send important documents via certified mail.

  • This is not the best method for time-sensitive matters as mail usually takes 24 hours or up to a few days to get delivered.

  • It costs more than email or texts. 

  1. Email

Email is a form of instant communication that’s cost-effective and reliable. It’s a popular form of communication between landlords and tenants today. In some cases, email can be used to send important documents as well.

Pros of Email:

  • Emails provide easily traceable and long-lasting records of communication with your tenants. To prevent unexpected losses, back up or save your email history.

  • Some emails can be automated, which is especially useful for landlords with multiple tenants. Automating your emails allows you to send recurring messages or reminders to your tenants.

  • Emails are easier to filter and organize. You can look up information quickly with the search function. 

  • Emails, compared to texts, are more professional and better suited for longer messages. Send email copies of postal mail so that you and your tenants have electronic records on hand.

Cons of Email:

  • Some people may be technology-averse or may not open their emails too often.

  • The average U.S. worker receives about 126 emails each day. Your emails could end up unread or in the spam folder.

  • An email can feel impersonal and it’s difficult to get the proper tone across. Intentions can be misinterpreted and the way you phrase your messages can have a negative impact if you’re not careful.

  • There’s always a risk of sensitive, confidential data being stolen by hackers. 

  1. Texting:

Ninety-seven percent of Americans own mobile phones, and 85% own smartphones. Texting is an easy, fast, and cost-effective way to reach your tenants.

Pros of Texting:

  • Tenants are more likely to receive and see your messages right away. Studies show that people open and read their text messages more than their emails. 

  • A basic phone is all that’s needed to receive a text message. This makes it an accessible method of communication than emails.

  • You’re more likely to get a response as it’s convenient. People can respond at their own pace, even when they’re on the go.

  • Texts incur fewer charges than postal mail or phone calls.


  • Texting makes conveying information extremely easy, so it’s important to establish good practices from the start. Make sure to get your tenants’ permission to contact them via text before using this method, and set some ground rules on texting from the beginning; such as only texting during business hours.

  • Texts are considered a legal form of correspondence but don’t rely on it as your sole means of documentation. It’s still a good idea to send rent increases and changes to lease terms and agreements by mail and email.

  1. Phone Calls

Sometimes, an urgent situation may come up and you need a response right away. The quickest way to contact your tenant is through a phone call.

Pros of Phone Calls:

  • Phone calls are an efficient way to quickly relay information and ask questions. You and your tenant get to exchange in real-time and you can resolve concerns faster.

  • This method is a more personal, human way to communicate with your tenant, and can be a useful way to explain or clarify more complex information.

  • If you have an urgent concern, a phone call is the best way to get a tenant’s attention. It saves you time, gives you an immediate response, and allows you and your tenant to come up with solutions quickly.

Cons of Phone Calls:

  • Some tenants may find phone calls to be intrusive or annoying. It can be a good idea to save phone calls for urgent matters and emergencies only. Never call outside of business hours unless it’s an emergency, and practice good telephone etiquette; never call repeatedly. For updates and non-urgent issues, it may be better to use text or email.

  • There is no written record of what you agreed upon during a phone call. If you discuss important things like changes in your agreement or a repair, note down the details immediately and put them in a document. Send a hard copy via mail or email and have your tenant acknowledge it.

  1. In-Person Meetings

Most communication happens remotely now but every once in a while, you’re bound to have meetings with your tenants in person. Both parties can discuss property-related concerns and ask for mutual feedback.

Pros of In-Person Meetings:

  • In-person tenant meetings are great opportunities to connect with your tenants.

  • Speaking to your tenants in person gives them the time and space to share their concerns, opinions, and feedback, all of which can help you in running your business.

Cons of In-person Meetings:

  • Coordinating a time for a meeting can be challenging if both parties have busy schedules.

  • There is no written proof of what you talked about, if you discuss matters that need to be documented, such as changes that will be made, be sure to follow up with a written form of communication. 

Check out How to Be an Incredible Landlord: Tips for Success.

Communication Tips for Landlords

Good communication is important. Use these best practices to communicate with your tenants effectively.

  1. Ask for a Preferred Contact Method

At the start of the tenancy, identify and agree on how you both can contact each other. Discuss the best times to text or call and how frequently you can send texts and emails.

  1. Build Trust

To gain your tenants’ trust, prove that you’re a reliable landlord. Be consistent, check in regularly, and make sure you follow through with any promise you make. Respond in a timely manner, especially when it comes to urgent issues and repair requests.

  1. Be Honest and Straightforward

Difficult conversations are part of running a business. However, delaying important conversations can sometimes make things worse. Always be straightforward with your tenants. Be objective when presenting facts, but don’t forget to show empathy. Be ready to answer questions and if you don’t know the answer, tell them you will look into it and get back to them soon.

  1. Keep Messages Simple

The point of communication is to have an understanding. Avoid long messages that beat around the bush and don’t use complex phrases and words. Always consider the medium before sending your message, and remember to keep it professional.

  1. Employ Active Listening

As a landlord, you’ll want to practice active listening. This is a form of communication that involves going beyond simply hearing words that are being spoken, to assess and understand the meaning and intent behind them. It also requires you to be an active participant in the conversation. Repeating or rephrasing what your tenants say, taking notes if needed, and expressing empathy are ways to show that you understand what they’re saying. Active listening also helps you pick up on cues from tenants and prepare if a conversation looks like it’s going to escalate.

  1. Be Polite and Amicable

When conversing with your tenants, remember to be polite at all times. Explain things in a clear, friendly manner, and take time to check in with your tenants regularly to see how things are going with them.

  1. Always Inform Tenants Before Visiting

Tenants won’t like it if a contractor shows up unannounced, and in most cases, you’re required to give adequate notice as well. If you plan to schedule any repairs, give tenants advance notice. Try to work around their availability.

  1. Hire a Property Manager

As a property investor, you already have a lot on your plate, and you might not have a lot of time to devote to your tenants. One option that many landlords turn to is enlisting a property manager to help. A good property manager can serve as the go-between between landlord and tenant, informing tenants of any important developments, and fielding all correspondence from them as well. 

When it comes to communicating with your tenants, it’s important to know which forms of communication work best for different situations. Keeping multiple lines of communication open allows you to use the one that works best for the situation, enabling you to convey important information in the most expedient way possible.

At Renters Warehouse, we offer 24/7 (Hassle-Free!) Property Management. Ready to outsource to professionals? Start by getting your FREE rental price analysis.

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