Modern, Effective Communication with Tenants
January 31, 2023
Presently, landlords have a wide array of options for communicating with tenants. The difficulty is in finding the most effective ways to communicate specific information and issues to suit the needs of both the landlord and tenants. For instance, communal posters and notices can be an easy way to get general information to an entire building by posting them in the lobby or in elevators, but these can sometimes be overlooked by tenants. Individualized print materials can be costly and time consuming to print and distribute to all tenants, but are generally the surest way to get important information into tenants’ hands.
Digital communications like email and texts are simple and cost-effective for landlords to provide both general information for an entire building and individualized messages to specific tenants, but the downside is that not all tenants are comfortable or capable using digital methods. Social media is also a great option for both small and large landlords; it can be used to engage tenants on services, programs, events, meetings, etc., and create groups for tenants to join, such as a community page for tenants to engage with each other, address building needs, and raise issues to the landlord. For most landlords, a combination of these approaches will be best.
There are certain requirements landlords must legally meet in terms of giving tenants ample notice of certain actions or services. These include:
- Landlords are legally required to give 24-hour notice to enter a unit to make repairs or to conduct a maintenance inspection.
- Landlords can make annual rent increases according to the Rent Increase Guideline and must give written notice of the increase at least 90 days in advance of it coming into effect.
- Best practices regarding services the landlord is meant to provide is to give the tenant as much notice as possible of work being done. For instance, if pipe or drain maintenance is required in the building, and the water will be shut off while the work is being done, letting tenants know as soon as possible will allow them to plan around the disruption (taking a shower before or after the water is shut off, etc.).
General Posters and Notices
Written notice for services that affect the entire building, or a significant number of tenants, should be posted in common areas where there is enough tenant traffic to ensure tenants can view the notice in good time. For instance, if the garbage area has planned cleaning coming up, a notice can be posted in the elevator and/or on a community board in the lobby a week or two in advance and this gives tenants sufficient notice to avoid the area on the noted date and to make alternate plans such as bringing their garbage to the dumpster the day before.
Notices for a specific tenant, and which impact their tenancy, should be delivered directly to the tenant’s apartment. These would include notices regarding important topics like rent or lease changes. Whether a notice is posted on their door or slipped in their mailbox, individualized notices should be delivered directly to the tenant. Delivering a physical copy ensures the notice makes it into the tenant’s hands, rather than an email which could be missed or could end up in a spam folder.
Email and text are excellent options for important updates regarding a building or tenancy information. For instance, if hot water will be off for the day while maintenance work is done, an email a few days in advance is a quick and easy way to give notice to all affected tenants. A follow up reminder can easily be sent the night before, as well. Digital communications methods can be used in place of physical posters or notices in some cases, which helps cut down on printing costs and removes the need to physically deliver individual notices to each unit or post them in common areas.
However, there are some tenants who will not be comfortable using digital options, and there will also be certain important communications that landlords will likely want to physically deliver to tenants to ensure receipt. Therefore, while digital communications are becoming more and more popular, especially with younger renters, some physical communications will still be necessary to effectively communicate and ensure all tenants are aware of information and updates that pertain to them.
Social media is a growing avenue for landlords to interact with their tenants. Social media provides a single platform for providing general information and updates (e.g., fire alarm testing, capital work being done in the building, etc.), discuss specific matters with certain groups of tenants (e.g., a maintenance issue affecting the tenants in a few affected units, etc.), and respond to direct messages from individual tenants. It is also a great platform for announcing events or general building meetings, and tenants can even use it to discuss community matters amongst themselves.
Get in Touch
- Common Mistakes New Landlords Make and How to Avoid Them 27 April 2023
- Inflation and Construction 31 March 2023
- Bill 23: The More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022 27 February 2023
- Modern, Effective Communication with Tenants 31 January 2023