As a landlord, there will be certain things you can’t control (such as necessary repair works or tenants’ attitudes); but being in the neighbours’ good books will help you to resolve issues without any added tension or conflict.
It’s important to recognise that you have certain responsibilities as a landlord. Even though landlords are not legally responsible for their tenants’ behaviour and (as long as they maintain their property to legal requirements) can Let their property look however they want, neighbourhood disputes are bad news for a landlord’s reputation and can cause a lot of unnecessary stress.
Issues which can often arise between landlords and neighbours
The first step to preventing discord with neighbours is to anticipate the types of problems which could arise and take proactive steps to avoid them.
Complaints about noise are the most common, particularly amongst the student tenant demographic. Noise complaints might be caused by:
- Parties and social gatherings
- Repair work/ DIY
- Cars/ motorbikes being driven at unsocial hours
Other neighbour complaints which can arise are often about other kinds of inconsiderate behaviour, such as:
- Parking places
- Waste management and bin storage
- Lighting which is too bright
- Rudeness or abusive behaviour
- Invasiveness or lack of respect for privacy
How to create a good relationship with neighbours
Here are some tips for how to stay on the good side of your rental property’s neighbours.
Keep the property looking neat and tidy
Even though you don’t live there, it’s vital that you – as the landlord – take responsibility for maintaining the appearance of your property. Make sure that your tenants have enough bins to avoid waste piling up, and somewhere to store their bins so that they can tuck them away neatly off the street. You should also keep on top of any garden which can be seen from the road and make exterior aesthetic repairs a priority.
Notify the neighbours about repairs
Although some people will find any excuse to grumble; neighbours are far more likely to be supportive (or at least tolerant) of any repair work you need to do if you have given them adequate notice. By letting them know what to expect and when to expect it, you allow them to make plans in advance to minimise any disruption to themselves.
Be a presence in the community
In communities where there are a lot of rental properties, other homeowners can sometimes harbour resentment towards absentee landlords. Absentee landlords can consequently face unexpected issues since unpleasantness can ensue if an issue is not recognised or spoken about early. By ensuring that neighbours know how to contact you and showing your face around the area every now and then, people will hopefully contact you early about any issues.
Brief your tenants about the neighbourhood
If you don’t want to receive angry phone calls from neighbours complaining about your tenants’ new sound system or the way they park their car, do talk prospective tenants through the expectations that come with living in that community. It’s likely that your tenants will be more reasonable if they know, up-front, what is expected of them.
Be patient, even if they make unreasonable demands
All that being said, sometimes neighbours will still find issue with tenants or how you maintain your property. It’s important that, in these situations, you retain a sense of the bigger picture: that having a good relationship with them will make things easier for you in the long run. Make time to listen to their concerns and show them that you take them seriously. This might mean taking some time out of your schedule to arrange a meeting. It’s worth noting that a face-to-face meeting is far more likely to lead to a positive dissolution of conflict, so do meet in person if possible.
Why foster a good relationship with neighbours as a landlord?
To recap: if a neighbour has a complaint about your tenants or your property, it is you – the landlord – who will be in the firing line. Embroilment in community conflict may not just cause you stress: it may also waste your time, money and have a negative impact on your professional reputation.
By staving off any conflict with neighbours, you will keep them happy which will keep you happy in turn.