Sometimes we can be afraid to tell our landlords the whole honest truth during difficult situations like tough market, difficult tenants, damaged property, maintenance and improvements needed, rent arrears, or other escalated circumstances. Often we think we are protecting them, sometimes we may be afraid of blame – what if they think it’s our fault, what if they don’t listen, and then there can be a fear over – what if we lose the management?
The problem is that when we sugar coat things, pretend everything is fine, or omit some difficulties; we may actually be making our job harder in the long run. The landlord may not then fully understand the gravity of the situation, as they have been protected and sheltered from the truth the whole way. This may make it difficult for them to take our advice or have trust in us. We then get frustrated with them when they won’t listen.
The key when providing honest feedback is to not just dump the tough or negative news onto the owner – but to use the opportunity to show you have a plan in place. Explain that you want to be transparent about the situation, for them not to be alarmed because their situation is common and we, as the experts, have a plan to overcome the obstacle or challenge.
If they are confident that we have it covered, and that you have just been honest in their best interest, benefits will be two fold. As mentioned, it shows not only that you have the situation under control, but that on the other hand it actually substantiates to them the value of having a property manager in place.
The best relationships (whether with our landlords or the people in our personal lives), are built on communication concepts such as honesty, trust and transparency. If you can be honest and transparent in a tactful way you will generate respect and trust with your landlord, and you will be surprised how much better prepared they are to listen to your advice and guidance.
The word tactful is important here, as we may need to think about the way we phrase things and how we and our tone, choice of words and message is received. Using a few simple phrases such as “Jenni, can I give you my honest opinion here?”, “Tom, I am going to be blunt and to the point, is that okay?” “Are you happy for me to give you honest feedback?” will help set a buffer for the message you are about to deliver and gain the respect of the client.