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Multifamily Minute Reader Reflections: How Do You Communicate Rent Increases?
We surveyed our 45,346 subscribers to see how they announce rent increases to their tenants. Learn the pros and cons of each way.
Everyone has a different style when it comes to communicating with residents. But with a potentially tense message — that you're increasing rents, for example — it's extremely important you're handling communication in a sensitive yet formal manner.
I asked our 45,346 Multifamily Minute subscribers to tell me how they communicate rent increases.
I know, I know — rent growth is trending down in most of the country right now — but that actually makes the conversation even more important. If your renters are hearing about rents decreasing somewhere, that could drastically influence how they perceive even a small increase.
Here's what our participants had to say:
How do you communicate rent increases?
Percent of respondents
Property management software/tenant portal
Written notice delivered in person
The majority of our respondents prefered to use email or physical letters. This shouldn't be too shocking, given the ability to track and document communication, but it isn't without its downsides.
Let's dig into the pros and cons of each of the above methods.
Advantage: Streamlined Process and Record Keeping
Utilizing a tenant portal allows for a systematic way of notifying all tenants at once. This ensures uniformity in communication and provides an electronic record of the notice being sent, which can be vital for legal or dispute resolutions. The portal may also automatically remind tenants as the increase date approaches.
Disadvantage: Limited Accessibility
Not all tenants may be tech-savvy or even bother checking the tenant portal with any regularity. Relying solely on a portal might lead to situations where some tenants claim they were never informed because they didn't check or understand how to use the portal.
Written Notice Delivered in Person
Advantage: Immediate Verification
Hand-delivering a notice ensures that the tenant has received the information. The landlord or property manager can obtain immediate acknowledgment or feedback from the tenant, ensuring there's no miscommunication.
Disadvantage: Time Consuming
Delivering notices in person can be very time consuming, especially for larger properties. It also requires coordination between the property manager's schedule and the tenant's availability.
Advantage: Formality and Documentation
A mailed letter provides a formal, tangible record of communication. It can be kept by both the tenant and the property owner as proof of the rent increase notice.
Disadvantage: Potential for Lost or Delayed Delivery
There's always the risk that a letter can get lost in the mail or be delayed. If the tenant doesn't receive the notice in a timely manner, it can create disputes about the validity of the rent increase.
Advantage: Speed and Efficiency
Emails can be sent to all tenants at once and are generally delivered instantly. This method is fast, efficient, and allows for easy tracking of who has been notified.
Disadvantage: Risk of Being Overlooked or Marked as Spam
Emails can easily be missed, deleted, or land in the spam/junk folder. If the tenant doesn't check their email frequently or if the notice isn't prominently marked, it might go unnoticed.
Advantage: High Open Rates
Text messages tend to have higher open rates compared to emails. They are immediate and are typically seen by the recipient shortly after being sent.
Disadvantage: Perceived as Informal or Intrusive
Some tenants might see a text message as too casual a method for communicating something as significant as a rent increase. It can also be seen as intrusive, especially if sent outside of typical business hours.
Advantage: Personal Touch and Instant Feedback
A phone call provides an opportunity for a direct conversation, allowing for any immediate questions or concerns the tenant may have. It can also convey a sense of care and consideration.
Disadvantage: No Tangible Record
Unless the call is recorded (with the tenant's consent where required by law), there's no tangible proof that the rent increase was communicated. This could lead to potential disputes or misunderstandings.
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