Communication is the most important aspect of what we do as property managers. Managing student housing units can prove to be one of the most challenging work conditions as we not only have to deal with our tenants – but also their parents. In student housing we are often the eyes and ears for the parent; this is important because they are the ones who can provide the most support for a positive rental experience.
At times this communication can be challenging so, here, we’ve rounded up our top five communication practices for managing your tenants (and their parents!):
1. Establish ties. As a general rule of thumb, encourage parents to always co-sign with their child. This will allow for a direct line of communication.
2. Get Tech Savvy. Accurate record keeping combined with automated software will help to reinforce the commitment of payment from the occupant in addition to providing timely notifications of delinquent payments and follow-on actions.
3. Make a plan. While respecting the student's responsibility and independence, you must not lose sight of maintaining communication with the parents. Be sure to establish a mutually agreed upon communication channel with the parents so that they are informed of the status of the lease regularly.
4. Chat regularly. There are times when the occupancy of the unit will change during the lease period. To be sure that you are aware of these circumstances, consider a more frequent communication rhythm with your tenants.
5. Be helpful. The most stressful period will be just prior to and during turnover at the end of the lease. The objective is to secure renewal or facilitate a planned transition. Be sure to communicate all move-out processes, rules and regulations in advance and provide suggestions and any potentially useful information to your tenants.
Communication can be further complicated by multi-family units. Under these circumstances, you’ll need to establish a clear understanding with the tenants through a formal meeting shortly after they move in. While untraditional, this will accomplish three objectives: (1) you will establish the status of the property after occupation and (2) you will personally reinforce the terms of the lease regarding maintaining property condition, rent payment and walk-though expectations and (3) you’ll clarify the best way to contact your team.