At Synergy Builders, we know first hand that performing a renovation on a functioning building takes a different set of skills than building from the ground up. This is the reason many of our clients use us time and time again when construction needs arise. We'll handle everything from the construction side - but there are still a few things you can do as well to keep tenants happy during a renovation. Consider the following:
Communication: Let tenants know what to expect, both verbally and in writing. Draw pictures, if necessary. Explain how the renovations will be advantageous to them. If a new appliance is in the plan, tell them about the money they'll save with energy-efficient appliances. If the job is extensive, such as replacing a roof, offer to relocate them for health and safety reasons. And always give them an emergency phone number.
Engagement: Make your tenants feel like they're a part of the renovation process, so they don't feel like victims. A more personal approach is for property managers or landlords to regularly meet with the tenants throughout the renovation. Let them know things are on track. If possible, consider scheduling the improvements at their convenience to minimize its impact on their peace and quiet. For example, those who work night shifts need to sleep during the day.
Cleanliness and Safety: Make sure the contractors keep things as clean as possible. Safety is imperative. Ensure the exits are accessible, and all security measures are in place, such as smoke alarms. Do not give construction crews keys to personal spaces. Be upfront about noise, dust, and debris. If the tenants are elderly, or if young families have babies and small children, mitigate any possible hazard. Dust, HVAC shutdowns, and water interruption can have health consequences that can cost a landlord dearly if legal action ensues.
Complaints: Hopefully, things will not get to the point of filing formal grievances. To avoid a trip to court, respond to any complaints immediately and in person. Renters want you to listen and understand their problems. And, that action will be prompt. Don't make promises you can't keep, but do everything possible to make the situation comfortable for them.
Follow-up: Make excellent customer service a priority. Once a repair or renovation is complete, follow up a week later. It's important to not only know how your tenants are feeling about the changes, but it makes a big difference for your residents to know that you care about them. (And a fruit basket is lovely.)
In an article by Trevor Henson for FirstLight Property Management, he states, "Property managers have a lot of weighty responsibility resting on their shoulders, as is often the case when you are semi-responsible for an individual’s well-being. It is a tough mantle to live up to, but hopefully once you have a good idea of what you need to get done, it becomes easier to accomplish."
If you'd like to learn more about this subject, please don't hesitate to contact us. Thanks!