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What’s the Best Way to Communicate With Tenants—Text, Email, or Phone?

What’s the Best Way to Communicate With Tenants—Text, Email, or Phone?

5 min read
Remen Okoruwa

Remen Okoruwa is the co-founder of RentDrop, a payment app making rent payments more convenient and rewarding for landlords and renters.

Remen has a background in the software industry and business strategy, working as product manager at HubSpot and previously serving as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company.

He has property management experience working supporting his family’s residential real estate portfolio with units across the Midwest and Texas.

In addition to BiggerPockets, he writes about on property management topics for the RentDrop blog.

His writing has been featured on the HubSpot, OpenView, and Insight Venture blogs.

Remen received a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Sciences from Harvard University, cum laude.

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There is no doubt that you want to be the best landlord possible, and that means being on top of absolutely everything. But it’s easier said than done. Being a successful landlord means trying to juggle rent collection, property maintenance, and keeping tenants happy. So, communication is crucial if you want to be the ultimate landlord.

But how you communicate with your tenants can also impact your relationship. Modern technology provides landlords with a ton of communication options. Your smartphone can easily handle calls, emails, text messages, and a countless number of other chat apps. However, between calls, emails, SMS messages, and instant chat, it can get challenging to keep track of the conversations you have with your tenants. Then multiply that difficulty by the number of tenants you have.

It’s clear that choosing the best way to communicate with tenants is crucial to your success as a respected landlord.

Related: The Smartest Way to Become a Successful Landlord (Hint: It Involves a Field Trip!)

Ultimately, poor communication can cost you time and money. Of course, each communication method has its advantages. With phone calls, you get the personal touch. However, it can be difficult to reach tenants—you may call at an inconvenient moment. Email is good but its efficiency depends on tenants checking their inbox—not to mention, some of your emails may go straight to their spam folder.

Let’s take a look at the best form of communication for busy landlords: text messaging. Texting could be in the form of SMS direct text messages, a WhatsApp message, or using the chat function in a trusted rent collection app.

There are many compelling reasons you should consider text messages to be the most effective way of communicating with tenants.


10 Reasons Landlords Should Communicate With Tenants by Texting 

1. Texting is fast

Text messages are the fastest way to contact your tenants. Text messages are sent and received in an instant. Depending on the service or app you use, you can also see if the tenant has read the text message. And it’s more likely that the tenant will check their messages more frequently than emails.

Here are the problems with calling and emailing. Trying to reach someone depends on the time you have to speak to them and whether they are available to answer the call. Emails are quicker than a call, but this also depends on tenants checking their emails.

2. Texting tenants is easier

It’s easier for tenants to text landlords if they need to contact you quickly. This type of service leads to a better customer experience because tenants can receive instant responses. This, in turn, reflects positively on your reputation as a great landlord, reducing tenant turnover and making it easier to fill vacant units.

After all, it’s not just landlords who are busy. Your tenants may also lead a hectic life and don’t always have the time to reach you or draft out emails.

Related: The Typical Day-to-Day Life of a Landlord—Explained

3. You can send more than just a text

You can spend a great deal of time talking to a tenant as they attempt to describe an issue and the extent of any damage. Texting gives you the ability to send photos and videos. This is an invaluable resource when resolving maintenance issues.

With the help of visuals, you quickly get a clearer idea of what exactly has occurred with your property and what needs fixing. You can also provide a solution much faster as you have seen the problem without having to visit the property. So, texting tenants to resolve maintenance issues saves you and your tenant time and money.

4. It’s what the customer wants

Studies show that 75% of millennials would rather lose the ability to talk than the ability to text. The statistics are the same for Gen Z. So, it’s better to jump on the trend now to prepare yourself for the next wave of young tenants.

Aside from making it more convenient, younger generations are not used to or even comfortable talking on the phone. So, a messaging service is what they are looking for. Many young adults view it as obtrusive if you call without warning them.

5. You can stop wasting time

When it comes to checking voice mail messages, 19% of millennials don’t bother. It may not sound like a lot, but if you are in the habit of leaving voice messages, chances are that 1 in 5 of your tenants will never hear them.


6. Enhanced tenant engagement

Receiving a text message can be more personal than an email. This allows tenants to feel a little bit closer to you and improves engagement. You can make valuable connections with tenants without having to make a phone call.

7. You have better records

Unless you delete them, your messages stay there for the long term. This is essential if there are any severe disputes between you and the tenant.

Text messages are considered written proof, and it’s much easier to authenticate a text message than a conversation that is not recorded—which legally you probably can’t do. As an electronic record of dialogue, you can enter as evidence into court if you need to file an eviction.

Related: The Cost of Eviction: This Is How Much You’ll Pay to Evict a Tenant

8. Text messages can refresh your memory

We have all had that bugging feeling of forgetting something. The upside of having a permanent record of your text communications is that you can always go back and see what it is that you might be forgetting. It’s like a digital Post-It note.

9. You can resolve issues 24/7

Having text communication with your tenants helps you to resolve issues fast. Although there’s a question about maintaining a work-life balance, having access to text messages allows you to sort out emergencies when they occur. At the same time, you can also stay in touch with your employees for internal operations.

10. Texting is a cost-effective solution

Typically, you want to find the most cost-effective method to communicate with your tenants. Plans may include free text messaging, as well as free photos and videos. Even if there is a cost to the service, the advantages will far outweigh the small fee you may incur from a text service. Many mobile apps allow you to send videos and images for free.

Can Property Management Apps Boost Communication With Tenants?

Many of the best rent collection apps provide your tenants with in-app communication. This means that you can text tenants directly from the rent app without having to use another service. Using a rent collection app also helps keep all rental-based communication in one place rather than spread out over multiple text messaging services.

Of course, using an app to collect rent also makes it easier for tenants to pay rent online and flag maintenance issues. Rather than receiving a message from your tenant about a maintenance issue and then opening another messaging app to contact your maintenance professional, you will have all of your communications in one place.

Even better, many rent collection apps also come with an array of accounting solutions that will help you keep better digital records and save time.

Choose the right property management app for rent collection, maintenance requests, and in-app client messaging. You will have all of these benefits available on your desktop and mobile—a sure way to maintain the best communication with your tenants and your staff.

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How do you communicate with tenants? If you don’t text currently, will you consider it?

Share your thoughts with a comment below.