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Your Tenant is not the problem: Understanding the Power of relationship

Your Tenant is not the problem: Understanding the Power of relationship

Part I: People vs. Problems

I was all ready to tell my tenant there would be a rent increase. I had practiced my speech. And then she called and invited me down to watch the Super Bowl. I was paralyzed!

The human complexities of being a landlord can be a surprise, even for the most seasoned among us. What starts out as a simple communication about rent can suddenly become a perplexing problem in human relationships. Before you became a landlord, you may have wondered if you could rise to the challenge of dealing with endless repairs of plumbing and heating systems. The real challenge, you probably realize, is the people. The most important maintenance you’ll ever do is not on the boiler, the gutters or the roof, but on the tenant relationship.

The Super Bowl story illustrates the landlord’s classic dilemma: to raise the rent and jeopardize your good relationship with your tenant, or hold the rent steady and jeopardize the health of your business. Two kinds of issues create tension here: substantive issues such as income, and relationship issues such as trust and predictability. Whereas relationship issues concern the way we deal with people – clearly or ambiguously, logically or emotionally, etc., substantive issues include what would end up in agreements such as over income, access to the unit or repair plans. Maintaining a healthy tenant relationship requires a different kind of attention than resolving substantive issues, however. Stated differently, if you want to get a rent increase and preserve tenant cooperation needed to resolve the next issue faced, you should think about both.

Be on the lookout next for:

  • Part II: Seek to Understand Before Being Understood
  • Part III: Be Friendly – But Don’t Be Their Friend
  • Part IV: Expressing Appreciation
  • Part V: Making Deposits into the Tenant Relationship Bank
  • Part VI: Dealing with Unreliable Tenants


Peter Gilman Shapiro, a Landlord Coach, Trainer & Author, has for over twenty-five years been empowering landlords to make a profit while making a difference in their communities. Peter’s innovative techniques led to the successful resolution of thousands of disputes over eviction, real estate, business, and family matters throughout Metropolitan Boston since 1990.

Peter’s new book: The Good Landlord: A Guide to Making a Profit While Making a Difference, shows landlords how effective communication, relationship building and conflict resolution can enhance their peace of mind, profits and positive impact. For more information, please visit www.TheGoodlandlord.com

BUY The Good Landlord. Available on Amazon.com.