When you think of the most important relationships in life, the one you have with your property manager may not immediately come to mind. But when you consider that two major quality of life factors — a big chunk of your monthly earnings and the enjoyment of your home — depend on the relationship, you may come to realize how important fostering rapport can be.

With that in mind, we spoke to some of the best property managers in the country to talk about common tenant issues and how to create a great relationship with your property manager that’s beneficial to the both of you.

In the third installment of this ongoing series, we asked about breaking leases.

lease term

Life can change at a moment’s notice. Jobs relocate, families grow, and marriages begin or end. Despite the good intentions you had when signing that two-year lease a few months ago, life had other plans for you.

One manager recounts just such a situation, “I recently had a tenant who had to relocate to the west coast for his job. Ordinarily, breaking a lease early would mean automatically forfeiting the security deposit, but because he’d been a good tenant and informed me of the change months in advance, I was willing to work with him. He agreed to allow our turnover team frequent access to the unit during the last two months of his occupancy in exchange for recovering his security deposit. He was so pleased with the arrangement that he energetically referred people to check out the apartment and one of the referrals eventually rented the unit.”

When it comes to changing needs, most managers would prefer to accommodate you, if they can. A veteran property manager shared, “Over the years, I’ve seen it all — marriages, babies and, sadly, divorce and death. When the building or buildings I manage have availability, of course I’d much prefer to keep good tenants by finding them a unit better suited to their changing needs. I’ve even helped tenants find homes that were more ideal for their pets’ needs!”

Whether it’s a relocation or a growing family or a dog that prefers stairs to an elevator, your property manager has probably dealt with a similar situation before and knows how best to move ahead. “Tenants tend to think their situations are so unique that I won’t be able to work with them to find a solution. I don’t meant to say I’ve heard it all, but trust me, it’s been a long time since a tenant has shocked me,” concludes a seasoned manager.

Relationship Advice: When managers feel appreciated and trusted, they’re more willing to go the extra mile in the relationship. Being open and honest about challenges ahead gives everyone the opportunity to focus on solutions, not problems.

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