Is it necessary to give my tenants my phone number?

8 Replies

In Massachusetts is it necessary to provide my tenants with my phone number, or could I just give them my email and mailing address? I’ve tried searching for the answer, and I know I have to provide them with a mailing address where they can send payments, but other than that I couldn’t find a definitive answer.

I would prefer to have all contact with my tenants be through email, that way I have documentation of all conversations.

Hi @Connor O'Brien ,

I can't speak to the legalities in MA. However I would personally recommend a voicemail being available. Even if it is on a separate pay by the month phone you leave charging in the office. This allows them to leave a message at any time and you still have it recorded. You don't want to hear "Yeah I meant to send you an email about the leaking pipe in the basement, but my computer was down and then I just forgot". 

Good Luck!

No requirement for a live number you actually answer but you need to provide them a way to get a hold of you.  I suggest a google voice number that either allows them to leave you a message or screens it before it forwards it to you.  They must have some way to get a hold of you in emergencies.  

Originally posted by @Connor O'Brien :

In Massachusetts is it necessary to provide my tenants with my phone number, or could I just give them my email and mailing address? I’ve tried searching for the answer, and I know I have to provide them with a mailing address where they can send payments, but other than that I couldn’t find a definitive answer.

I would prefer to have all contact with my tenants be through email, that way I have documentation of all conversations.

 You don't have to give them your personal phone number. However I would highly recommend that you give them a phone number to contact you.

Have you ever heard of Google Voice? They give you an alternative phone number to mask your personal one from your tenants. They will be able to call or text you via that number. If you do not want to answer the calls you can turn on Do Not Disturb, and it will send all calls direct to voicemail. You can put a custom voicemail message separate from your personal voicemail. You can call using that number through the app.

This would give you privacy and the ability to still attend to your business needs.

In Connecticut I know there is no law that says tenants have to you have your phone number and I am assuming there is not one in MA either.

First, as others have said get a google voice number. Next, tell tenants that the best way to contact you is via email and that they should only call the Google Voice numbers in emergencies.

Now this all sounds good in theory, but there is a 100% chance that the first time something goes wrong they will call you anyway. The key to training them is if the issue they call you about is not urgent in nature wait 24 hours and respond to them via email. After you address their issue in the email remind them that email is the best way you can be reached.

This approach has worked for us with the higher B class tenants we have. I would still have a number they can reach you at for emergencies though for sure.

Lastly, if you have properties in C class areas or worse it will probably be nearly impossible for any kind of "tenant training" to take place. They will just contact you how they want.

I have a SFR for now and I had set up a separate phone line with my phone company which my tenant contacts me through. Often they contact me via text. The money I pay for the monthly bill can written off as an ordinary and necessary business expense.

I do not know if there is a law on it, but some town/cities do require you to post a sign at properties (commercial?) that have contact info like a telephone for emergency contacts.

As for giving out a number, I definitely do as I want them to call me in an emergency.  Just let it go to voice mail and respond accordingly (right away or next day).

I see it as the good ones will contact you as needed and the real bad ones you will eventually terminate the lease or evict.

I want to protect my investments.

I use a Google Voice number. Tenants can use it for calls and texts. My phone is set up so I know the call is to the GV number.

Get a seperate google voice number that forwards to you. You want them to be able to get a hold of you if there is an emergency like a plumbing leak causing a flood; in my experience tenants don't remember how to shut off the water even though I show them all how.

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