How to go about introducing yourself to inherited tenants.

31 Replies

I know what I do/have done, but I'm curious to hear how some of you handle introducing yourselves to tenants inherited via purchase.  Do you send letters? Call? Knock on the door? Or all of these. Please share, thanks!

@Ryan Cole I am going to have the same situation soon after closing. I was just going to introduce myself as the property manager acting on behalf of the owner. I was going to set forth the new deposit slips for rent payments and the phone number to my google voice. For any emergencies I was going to leave them my cell phone and set business hours as well. I have learned from my parents who have multi-family properties to never let them know you are the owner in order to avoid the hassle when you do go and fix something. My mother was always the lady at the office, I was the repair boy growing up and my Dad was the guy who picked up the money from the coin laundry machines and managed the property. It has worked well for many years. 

My suggestion is to send a letter, with receipt of mailing. Put all your information in the letter and they will mostly likely call you. 

But it depends on what type of relationship you want with the tenant.

Promotion
PropStream
Web + D4D Mobile App for you & the team!
Trusted Provider of Real Estate Data, Marketing, Skip Tracing & A
#1 Real Estate Software for Investors, Agents & Brokers to find leads and close deals nationwide.
7 Day Free Trial!

I send the new tenant(s) a letter to introduce myself and to give them all of the contact information they will need including: How to pay their rent and who to make it payable to and Who and how to reach out in case of maintenance issue or emergency.  

Tenants are often afraid of a new owner and afraid they will be kicked out or that rent will go up.  So, I also let them know that nothing is really changing for them and that: Their lease will remain in effect and their rent will stay the same and that at the end of their current lease, they will be given the option to renew.  

Now at renewal the terms may change, but I don't want the tenants to worry and start looking elsewhere.  

For NJ, I also have to inform them of where their security deposit is being held (bank and account #) so I use this form to inform them of them of that too.  

Originally posted by @Andres Rivero :

@Ryan Cole I am going to have the same situation soon after closing. I was just going to introduce myself as the property manager acting on behalf of the owner.

Why would you do that? You start your relationship with your new customers by lying to their face! You'd think badly of someone if they did that to you - so why do it to them?

Grow a backbone and introduce yourself as the new owner.

If you can arrange it, you would also benefit from having the Seller provide tenant letter(s) at closing for you to send along with your introduction letter.  This adds credibility and often allays tenant concerns about the validity of the transfer from their perspective.

  @Ryan Cole

I am in the same situation, I will be closing next week on my first property and I have three tenants that I need to introduce myself to and to let them know the basics of the changes and where to send rent checks, etc too.  One of the tenants pay in cash only and I am an hour and 1/2 away from the property, so I needed to get creative.  So I am setting up the ability to make the cash deposit to my local bank in the area using a pseudo account number linked to my real one.  So I am hoping that works.  

But I am going to introduce myself as the owner and not as the property manager, even though I do plan to self manage. At least I am doing that to learn the ropes at first. 

Good luck with your adventure...

@Account Closed

John, just curious... why would you not use the benefit of Google voice.  You have a lot of customization you can do with GV and one of which is auto forwarding to any phone of your choice, so it could forward to my home, or my cell... or I can put a caller right to voice mail.  What is your thoughts on why it shouldn't be used... just curious...

@Ryan Cole I also may be in the same situation. I was thinking about trying google voice to see how it works. I too have reservation on telling them we are the owners. I like to be known just like your parents did or

I suppose though if we have good tenants there shouldn't be an issue. I am one who likes to tenant proof things so I don't get those nuisance calls.

I think I will still try google voice for the simple fact my wife an I work odd shifts and I can answer when I am available or awake.

Good luck

No technology can make up for being genuine. Put yourself in their shoes, would you want someone to use gimmicks on you, or just introduce themselves and explain the situation? Don't over think it. Put the gadgets down and interact, you'll be glad you did.

@Ryan Cole I know @Andres Rivero had suggested telling the tenant you are not the owner, but as @Account Closed that Gooogle voice can be a good tool. I have only used it so far for property listings. I use it to hide my real phone number. The feature I like is the call forwarding, so I can forward the calls to myself or my wife so whoever is available can answer the calls. If goes to voice mail I can get a text version in my e-mail. I find speed of responding to messages is very important and Gooogle voice helps us with that. They also have call blocking, so I can reject crazy people (such as the, I have 3 pitbulls and need a fenced yard callers). The number is disposable, so you can keep a layer of protection from your personal number.

Promotion
RentRedi
Smart Tech For The Smart Landlord
The Smart Way To Manage Your Rentals
Enjoy growing your portfolio without paying more for it. Unlimited units & easy-to-use apps.
Get Unlimited Units

I'd vote for all of the above! Hopefully the outgoing owner is willing to introduce you so it's a warm transfer.  After that introducing yourself in person is a great start, and following that up with a letter with your official contact info is a great idea too.  If you have their email addresses or cell #'s you can do this via email or txt message too.  The more points of contact the better.

@Ryan Cole We were faced with this same situation last week. We inherited a tenant with a lease expiring at the end of September. Here's what we did:

1. Received the current lease and credit application from the seller

2. Called the tenant a couple of days prior to the closing to introduce ourselves and to make sure they knew what was going on (right or wrong).

3. After close, we sent a letter via US Mail to make sure she had the new information on who to contact in case of urgent issues, where to send rent checks, etc. In addition, we put in the letter a date to review the lease renewal.

My belief is you should over communicate in these situations. The change of ownership for a tenant can be stressful (am I going to have to leave, what are they going to expect, etc.) and anything you can do to ease their stress and keep them in your house you want to do.

Jason

I went through this back in October. All I did was call each of them to introduce myself and tell them that everything would stay the same for the time being except for a few minor changes, such as the method of rent payment for example. Then I sent them an email with all of the information they would need to get a hold of me, instructions for paying rent, and the new lease they would need to sign after their current month to month was up so they could read over and familiarize themselves with it. 

Listen, I feel compelled to explain. We in fact do lie when we don't tell the whole truth. I don't necessarily think you need to when you have a handful of tenants in SFRs. Now, when you have over forty tenants that don't work and rely on Section 8 checks to make rent then introducing yourself as the owner of this building is not good practice to me. Now this is only my opinion based on our experiences. In South Florida, buildings needs constant maintenance. Painting needs to be done frequently and pressure washing the sidewalks and railings is common practice. This was and still is a family ran business.  We have and still do things very old school down there. It is not uncommon to have tenants that don't know how to use the internet to google my name. More than half only speak Spanish and may seem hot tempered if your not used to having daily conversations with them. The ones that have lived in the same apartment for the last 20 years  know who we are because they have been there a long time. The month to month tenants don't even care. Rent gets paid and and we keep very well maintained buildings. Never used a property management company because we never wanted anyone to mistreat our properties or our tenants. Is it a lot of work? Yes it is. Of course it is. Is it worth it? We believe so. I will inherit those buildings and my children will inherit those buildings. So, sorry if sometimes not tell the whole truth in low income neighborhoods brings bad karma.  We believe in hard work and pride in your buildings comes first. If they all knew we were the owners we would never be left alone to maintain the buildings, between painting parking lines and diffusing tenant arguments, time flies. 

Now that I live in Atlanta...the air is cleaner and life is much different here. People actually speak English. I have thought about your responses and will introduce myself in person as the proud owner of this little cottage. Because after all its just one tenant at a time I am now dealing with. Thank you all for the responses. I do appreciate the feedback. I am sorry about the long post, I just wanted to clear my name. 

Great feedback guys, love all the input. Normally, I type up a letter introducing myself with all of my contact info as well as info on how and where to pay. I usually try to drop it off personally so i can get a better understanding of who im dealing with.  With the letter, i attach a form for the tenants to fill out providing me with all their contack info, nicknames, etc...Iv never used google voice before, sounds like it might be something i should check out. 

Originally posted by @Andres Rivero :

Listen, I feel compelled to explain. We in fact do lie when we don't tell the whole truth. I don't necessarily think you need to when you have a handful of tenants in SFRs. Now, when you have over forty tenants that don't work and rely on Section 8 checks to make rent then introducing yourself as the owner of this building is not good practice to me. Now this is only my opinion based on our experiences. In South Florida, buildings needs constant maintenance. Painting needs to be done frequently and pressure washing the sidewalks and railings is common practice. This was and still is a family ran business.  We have and still do things very old school down there. It is not uncommon to have tenants that don't know how to use the internet to google my name. More than half only speak Spanish and may seem hot tempered if your not used to having daily conversations with them. The ones that have lived in the same apartment for the last 20 years  know who we are because they have been there a long time. The month to month tenants don't even care. Rent gets paid and and we keep very well maintained buildings. Never used a property management company because we never wanted anyone to mistreat our properties or our tenants. Is it a lot of work? Yes it is. Of course it is. Is it worth it? We believe so. I will inherit those buildings and my children will inherit those buildings. So, sorry if sometimes not tell the whole truth in low income neighborhoods brings bad karma.  We believe in hard work and pride in your buildings comes first. If they all knew we were the owners we would never be left alone to maintain the buildings, between painting parking lines and diffusing tenant arguments, time flies. 

Now that I live in Atlanta...the air is cleaner and life is much different here. People actually speak English. I have thought about your responses and will introduce myself in person as the proud owner of this little cottage. Because after all its just one tenant at a time I am now dealing with. Thank you all for the responses. I do appreciate the feedback. I am sorry about the long post, I just wanted to clear my name. 

 I understand what you mean - I don't tell my tenants I am the owner. It's for privacy, asset protection and in some instances, good for your safety and your family's safety as well.

Telling the tenants you work for the "owner" IS NOT necessarily lying if the "owner" of the property is an LLC or Corporation that you own. You have legal basis for saying you're not the owner.

Having said all of that, just hire a property management company so you don't have to deal with tenants. Life is too short to deal with tenants. The money is in finding good deals and getting a good PM to make money for you.

The only thing I would mention having purchased on South Florida for myself and purchased tons of SFRs for institutional investors is to provide some proof of that ownership.

Tenants are skeptical. You may appear at the property but how do they know you are the real owner. Obviously, an intro by the previous owner really helps but maybe it's a distressed situation and you don't get one.

Interesting point is that this topic came up at the IMN conference on SFRs this week in Miami. Interesting point is that some larger players mentioned how they tried to minimize contact with tenants because they see new owner and then "nothing works" and your maintenance requests skyrocket.

In my opinion best way to address issue is to just let tenants know that where the payment is to be sent needs to be changed. Ultimately, and this was another convo, it's hard to create a great brand as a landlord but it's easy to get a bad reputation. So trying to come in to an investment as best landlord ever, probably won't yield much return.