Your chance of tenancy success depends greatly on the foundational expectations established right from the get-go!
A key example: If you have attended one of my training seminars you may recall my drawing of a road on the whiteboard with a big bend in the middle. I stated that there is a car travelling at 100 km hour along this road, and to successfully negotiate the bend, the car must slow down to 50 km hour. I then asked ‘OK, the car now approaches the bend, what does it do?’ and of course everyone states ‘it will slow down!’ I then throw into the discussion ‘But why?’ and everyone answers ‘because there is a sign telling it to slow down!’
I point out that there is no sign in the whiteboard drawing, and we all then agree that a sign is required, warning of the bend ahead.
A sign was then drawn onto the wrong stretch of the road. I then said ‘OK, the sign is now in the picture’. I was promptly corrected by several people that the sign was in the wrong place!
The point of the exercise is that the sign is the expectation of what is coming ahead, but for the sign to work effectively it must be placed before the event, not at the event or after it!
It all starts with the Application Form!
A successful tenancy must also begin with the right expectations at the right place! Giving the right expectations upfront is for everyone’s benefit and can be given on the application form. This can be a front cover form that is attached to the application, highlighting expectations such as:
• How long they can expect to wait to receive an answer on their accepted/declined application
• If they are declined, they will be informed by SMS text, and no reason will be given
• Whether you will require direct debit rent payments, on calendar monthly frequency, etc.
Another great place to give correct expectations
The next best place for the expectation sign is when a new tenant is confirmed.
Why not email the new tenant when confirmed (after speaking with them on the phone) together with a PDF copy/attachment of a tenant handbook. We would agree that a handbook may not be read by the tenant when given to them at the tenancy induction/sign up, however, there is a very good chance it will be read when given at the time of their application being approved before they sign up.
Why? Because they are excited and will no doubt make the time to read through what material you give them!
At this point, confirm with them the following:
• The specific details of tenancy as outlined in the tenancy schedule (tenant names, rent, frequency, the start date of the tenancy, term, bond amount etc)
• Pets accepted/not accepted
• Special conditions
• If you will be connecting their utilities, or not
• Appointment time for the tenancy induction
• They must be on time for the appointment, and to allow 30-45 minutes
• Bring no cash and only bring a bank cheque/money order/EFT (no personal cheques) etc
• All signing tenants to be present etc
• Attach a PDF Tenant Handbook/Guide outlining all of your expectations
Remember, a great tenancy begins with giving crystal clear expectations, at a place where the tenant will most likely give the best attention to it.
Get this right and the tenancy will be off to a great start!