Raising the rent: it’s something that tenants don’t appreciate, but you have to do it nonetheless. If you go about it the wrong way, you can erode your relationship with your tenants or even cause them to move out. But if you do it right, then everyone can go about their business.
How do you convince your tenants that you’re not out to get them when you raise your rent? Following the guidelines below will help.
1. Let them know by letter or email.
Traditionally, landlords use a letter to inform renters of a rent increase. It’s simple, it’s affordable, and it erases the possibility of “he said/she said” or miscommunications that can arise with verbally informing tenants. It is a detailed reference that your tenants can refer back to in the future, and it’s a useful record for you, too.
2. Communicate clearly and concisely.
Don’t make your recipients guess at what you’re trying to say. Lay it right out for them to see. Have someone proofread to ensure the message is clear and the writing is professional. You can also find sample rent increase letters online, which are helpful if you aren’t a good writer or aren’t sure what to say.
3. Express your gratefulness and appreciation for them as tenants.
Maintain a kind and friendly tone throughout the letter. It’s always a good touch to thank them for being good tenants, though you shouldn’t go overboard if you don’t have any type of personal relationship with them. The level of familiarity here will depend on how many times you’ve met the tenants in person.
4. Clearly state the amount of the raise and when the change will take effect.
This is a crucial part of the letter, so make it easy to see how much they’ll be paying and how long they have before it takes effect. If you’re doing a gradual increase, lay it out so it’s easy to understand.
5. Let them know you’re there to answer any questions.
If they want to know why the rent is increased, if they want to negotiate for better amenities or a more gradual increase, or if they simply want to reach out to you and confirm the news, you should be there to address their questions and concerns. Towards the end of your letter or email, invite them to give you a call if they want to talk about the rent increase.
6. Don’t apologize or express guilt over raising the price.
Keep it professional yet friendly, but don’t apologize. Any apology is guaranteed to come across as insincere. In your tenants’ minds, if you truly felt sorry or had any guilt about the rent increase, you wouldn’t be raising the price at all.
7. Set up a system of regular rent increases.
If you automatically raise the rent a tiny bit each year to account for inflation, and you always do it at the same time, your tenants won’t be surprised in the least and they’ll understand the reason behind the increase. If you don’t already have increases built into your rental contract, consider doing that now. In the future, you won’t have to worry about informing your clients that you’re raising rent “out of the blue” because it will simply be expected at a certain time.