Friends with Tenants on Facebook?

16 Replies

Just purchased my first 3 family house and I inherited 2 of the existing tenants and living in the 3rd unit. The tenants have lived there for 11 and 4 years both seem like solid tenants. One of them just friend me on Facebook and now I have that friend request pending. I dont know how I feel about this thoughts? 

@Steven Clark I'm going to disagree slightly with the other response here. I think it can be helpful to keep tabs on your tenants. I'm not saying you should spy on them, but people are often times far too open on Facebook, so if there are marital troubles or job problems, you can likely see that coming before they mention it to you. I would avoid interacting with them, and you probably want to block some of your own personal content from them, but so long as you can keep your relationship strictly business, I think it probably helps more than it hurts. Like they say though, you're not friends and at the end of the day, this is all just business.

@Steven Clark

Well, my answer is no, too. But how do you get out of the situation now? Social media is almost always a casualty of landlording -- which is a good part of why you see Mr. M above and my lovely self Jim K. here so often on this site. Deny the invite, set your FB to private, and say you never saw it if asked, must have been some other Steven Clark. So many glitches in bad code these days.

I live in a small town. Some of my tenants are FB friends. I can be friendly but they also know that real estate is my business and I treat it as such. One of my tenants put on FB that she is looking for a house a year ago and again when she made an offer. Which gave me time to plan. I have found out a lot of info via social media. I also do a lot of my rental business through Facebook, a lot of people tag me looking for rentals, Airbnb, and such. In my situation it works out great. I also screen, screen, screen my tenants before I rent. I love it. 

@Steven Clark , I see both points of view here. If you have a hard time separating the two friendships and professional relationships I wouldn't recommend doing it. 

@Dennis M. and @Jim K. I totally agree It sucks that she has friended me. My Facebook was set to public so Im sure shes already done the typical Facebook stalk of my page. I just dont want to be off putting since it is owner occupied. At the same token I agree I dont want to be friends with her and exchanging cooking recipes... ect 

@Tim Crosby I see your point as well. Maybe ill just be letting this pend for awhile since I dont know what todo

Why not create a professional Facebook used solely for your business? Then you can keep all of your personal/private information one and only list business related items on the other. Just a thought.

@Steven Clark

I would not want any of my tenants to see my personal life. I am running a business.

I’ve learned the hard way that being too friendly with tenants always comes back to bite me. They ask for forgiveness on late fees, or want/expect to be treated differently than our contract states.

A few years ago I had a tenant ask me to waive late fees because she wanted to use her rent check to go to burning man. She said she would pay me in two weeks. When I told her that a late fee would apply, she thought that because we were friendly on Facebook that I would waive it for her.

Don’t. :)

@Steven Clark

When I was on FB, if/when I’d get a request from a tenant, I would deny and then send them a text explaining I keep business separate from my personal life, and not to take it personal. Never had hard feelings from anyone.

So agreeing with @Jim K. And @Dennis M. , and it’s a big No.

Originally posted by @Cathy Horner :

I live in a small town. Some of my tenants are FB friends. I can be friendly but they also know that real estate is my business and I treat it as such. One of my tenants put on FB that she is looking for a house a year ago and again when she made an offer. Which gave me time to plan. I have found out a lot of info via social media. I also do a lot of my rental business through Facebook, a lot of people tag me looking for rentals, Airbnb, and such. In my situation it works out great. I also screen, screen, screen my tenants before I rent. I love it. 

Hmm, I think I could make this work within my own business model. An interesting, informed perspective I need to think about going forward. 

@Steven Clark . My mother always told me if you have to ask then you already know the answer. No it never works out and they always use it as a bargaining chip you just bought a new car why is my rent going up blah blah. Bad idea

Originally posted by @Angelo Mart :

Hmm tricky one. Delete Facebook all together and I guarantee your quality of life will improve overall like mine did

 Yup, best thing I ever did a couple years back. Just get rid of Facebook all together. 

@Steven Clark friending tenants on Facebook can be a major mistake. Friending them allows them to see your entire life, see who your friends are and let's them post on your page for all your other friends to see. It seems harmless. In the beginning of a tenant relationship, people are always nice. The problem is when things turn bad and trust me they can turn bad! I have had the best tenants turn into a nightmare, even with good screening. Imagine if that disgruntled tenant then started reaching out to other tenants or your friends or family? Imagine if they started posting negative stuff about you, calling you a greedy landlord or worse. Why take the chance on dragging any of that into your personal life? 

@Tim Crosby made a good point about tracking tenants activities on Facebook. We have seen when tenants get a new job or get a new puppy and this can be valuable information. However, we find most people have their Facebook wide open so it is easy to see this regardless. Checking applicants and tenants Facebook is just part of our operating process now.

@Cathy Horner made a good point about referrals through Facebook. We setup a company Facebook page for this purpose. We encourage tenants and perspective tenants to follow our page to get access to updates. This keeps the focus on the business.

The good news here is this is just a friend request. All you need to do is reject the request and then go into your privacy settings so that NOBODY can send you requests in the first place. Also turn all your posts to private. 

I would also clarify, I am referring to landlord tenant relationships. If you were in a sales role such as a realtor or car sales, I think connecting with clients is appropriate. It is a different type of relationship because it is transnational.