A tenant is described as any person, people or organization who occupies another person’s property after agreeing (in writing or oral) on an amount (rent) payable, the duration (tenancy period) and conditions (special or normal conditions) for the property being occupied. A tenant can also be referred to as a person who has temporary possession of another person’s property upon payment of approved or agreed rents and fees (service charge) for a specific period.
How Are Tenants Important to the Landlord?
Tenants are important to landlords in that they are the sources of income for the property. No house was built to be voided, landlords envisage to let out to tenants to recoup the amount spent to build the house as well as periodic maintenance of the property.
There are several reasons why tenants are important to the landlord. We will be looking at some of the reasons the tenants are held with very high importance. Note that their importance in a property is dependent on the type and nature of the property they occupy.
- Tenants are the primary sources of finance for the landlord, they pay rent to the landlord on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis depending on their arrangement with the landlord at inception.
- Tenants, by being in occupation, stand as a hedge against external squatters. This is so because a house built and left unoccupied for a long time would attract the occupation of squatters who end up not paying the passing rent, not just that, due to laxity in maintenance of the property and premises, the rate of depreciation will continue to rise until the property phases out of function.
- Good tenants make properties they occupy more functional over time as they usually add or put the property in a condition to give them the comfort they desire during the period of their tenancy.
- Tenants could improve the physical features of a property to their taste which automatically extends to the owner who would end up re-letting the same accommodation at a higher rent when the sitting tenant may have packed out of the property.
- Houses occupied by tenants experience lower depreciation compared to houses left void for a long time.
- When tenants reside in a house, their complaints help the landlord improve on the facilities available at the occupation.
- It is only when a property is occupied (partially or fully occupied) that the owners can tell whether the house was properly built without fault. Frequent usage of the facilities helps the owner discover the quality of work done on the property.
- Tenants that have stayed in a house for up to 10 years tend to use the facilities like theirs, due to the long relationship with the landlord, they are most often going to manage the house and maintain all the components and facilities.
- The presence of tenants in a house (whether on short lease or long-term arrangement) scares intruders, land grabbers and encroachers away.
- Without the presence of tenants in a property, the owner may not gather sufficient knowledge and experience on tenants’ management techniques or problem (litigation) solving exposure.
What Are the Major Complaints of a Tenant
Tenant complaints are a way of expressing dissatisfaction with the facilities provided for common use, such as the poor condition of the pumping machine, inadequate venting system, collapsed soak away pit, poor supply of water, disrepair of electrical fittings, unkempt environment, lags in pet control among others. Tenant complaints are inevitable in a property, this is so because of the place of comfort in a property, particularly newly let houses.
When a property is poorly managed, it suddenly becomes uncomfortable for tenants and the only way to show how unhappy tenants are is by complaining to either the property manager or the landlord. The way and manner in which the complaint is handled will determine the extent of cooperation the tenant will give the landlord.
The major complaint of tenants bother around malfunctioning facilities, poor electricity supply, inadequate water supply, spoilt plumbing and electrical fittings, leaking roof, broken door knob, theft and burglary, signs of building collapse, property intrusion, outrageous rent increases, noise from neighbours, fumes from cigarettes, cars and generator, noncooperation of other tenants in issues of environmental sanitation, contributions for recharging of electricity, poorly lit corridor, smelly septic tank, dirty premises, among others.
How Are Tenants Managed
Tenant management is the administrative process of regulating, coordinating, organizing, overseeing and supervising tenants in a rented or leased property or facility. It involves the process of tenant selection, interview, allocation of apartments, documentation, rent collection, and receipting.
Tenant management further covers the aspects of tenant meetings, distribution of notices, tenant welfare, settling of disputes, negotiations on rent reviews and issues on property repairs including overall tenant satisfaction. As a result of the tribal and religious differences of tenants living together in a particular property or facility, there is a need to properly manage the tenant to reduce frictions and disputes that may emanate from misunderstanding and misconceptions.
Tenant management is one of the most difficult assignments to carry out, it requires great skill and patience to handle. To manage a tenant, one has to understand and appreciate their varied social and cultural background, the tenants will need to feel welcomed, wanted and special to conform to any regulations or rules in a property. The property manager or landlord should ensure to give all tenants equal rights of speech, opinion, and engagement and always circulate information appropriately and in good time so that nobody will feel isolated.
Regular tenant-management or tenant-landlord meetings should be organized occasionally to hear tenants’ complaints and proffer solutions before the matters escalate. In the same meeting, the manager or landlord discloses matters arising such as environmental sanitation, payment of electricity bills etc. If the rent will be reviewed, both the landlord and tenant will agree on the proposed rent review. Other matters about the property are usually disclosed during the tenant and management/landlord periodic meetings.
The best way to manage a tenant is to carry them along whenever there is the latest development on the property or tenant-related issues which may sometimes require urgent intervention.
What is the Biggest Responsibility of a Tenant?
To some people, the biggest responsibility of a tenant is to pay the rent in advance without excuse and comply with rent reviews as captured in the tenancy agreement. This may not be the same all the time. The responsibility of a tenant should always align with the landlord’s objectives for the property rented out.
Some landlords are very particular about how a tenant can keep the property neat and tenantable for future tenants to live in at the end of an agreed tenancy period. In this case, the biggest responsibility of a tenant would be the tenant’s ability to maintain or improve a property’s physical look. That is, to restore the property to its initial looks after a long tenancy period. A reason why most landlords slam huge caution deposits on new tenants only to be refunded if the property is kept in a reusable condition when the tenancy expires.
In as much as tenants try to keep to this objective, most of them end up failing to achieve it, hence losing a significant sum from their caution deposit in the landlord’s custody.
Who is the Best Type of Tenant?
The best type of tenant is the one who is willing and capable of paying the agreed rent in advance without defaulting and will keep or restore the property in perfect condition when the tenancy expires. Such types of tenants are not many out there, so landlords try as much as possible to screen out bad tenants during the review and selection period, which is where the Know Your Client(KYC) form comes in. The KYC form helps the landlord to filter out bad eggs and keep the best for the accommodation.
If properly filled the landlord can do further investigations to ascertain the type of person the intending tenant is and his or her previous background, particularly records of previous rent remittance, decency and property maintenance capability.
Sometimes, the landlord goes the extra mile by calling or chatting with the tenant’s previous landlords before concluding whether to admit or jettison the tenant’s application form.