The tenant induction is a crucial foundational appointment that sets the tone and expectations for your future relationship with your new tenants and also directly affects the health of your relationship with your owners.
Giving clear and right expectations is paramount to substantially increase the chance of a smooth and successful tenancy.
Here are ten power keys that if implemented will assist you to go to the next level in your professionalism with a powerful tenant induction process.
#1- Confirm by email – Once you have confirmed a new tenant by phone, email them confirmation. This email would confirm the name of tenants approved, property address, start date, rent, bond, frequency (fortnightly/calendar monthly), amount to pay before possession is granted, pet details approved/not approved, water costs, and special conditions. You would also confirm the induction time etc. Send a copy of your Tenant Handbook as an attached PDF. They are more likely to read this material upfront, than after the tenant induction. More on the handbook shortly.
#2- Confirm the time – Be very clear when a sign-up time has been confirmed, that they must be on time. Explain that even being 10 minutes late means that your back-to-back appointment structure could be prejudiced, resulting in several hours of waiting for the next available induction time slot. Don’t let people disrespect your time by turning up late! Tenant induction must happen on time!
#3- Everyone to be there – Be sure to make clear that everyone approved must be there for the signing. By not being specific on this point, it could mean one partner comes when the other is at work. This could result in conducting two separate inductions, compromising your time management and wasting your time.
#4- No cash policy – To have a strict ‘no cash policy’ is in everyone’s best interests, even for the first payment of bond and rent. Be sure to refer to the link for more information on how to do this, and ‘unforeseen issues’ that could cause you and your agency a real problem!
#5- Use a Tenant Handbook – This new concept is quite simple. Instead of giving people reams of information forms on top of the essential paperwork (tenancy agreement, inspection forms, bond, compulsory legislative booklet, etc) why not give them one handbook containing all information. It makes the process of getting your tenant induction pack much quicker as you can mass print a number of Tenant Handbooks at a time for a ‘grab and run’ process. Besides, tenants will be impressed with your professionalism and it’s also a great point of difference to impress new landlords.
More information about the Tenant Handbook
#6- Go for calendar monthly (subject to your state legislation) – Why do you have to have tenants paying fortnightly? Have you ever asked a tenant to pay the calendar monthly? Perhaps it is our mindset that has never questioned this, or you have assumed without ever really trying and asking. Unless they are on Centrelink benefits or on a low/student income, they most likely will agree to pay the calendar month if you ask! Most will say yes, some will say they prefer fortnightly. If 80% say yes to calendar monthly that’s just one rent payment to process every month instead of 2-4 payments a month (yes- people supposed to be paying fortnightly sometimes default to weekly!). Give it a go! Let people at the application stage know you do calendar monthly payments. The trick is to give the expectation way upfront so there are no surprises for them!
#7- Go for Direct Debit – While you are getting a calendar monthly, go another step and set up a direct debit for tenant payments. The best offices we have been in that have incredibly low rent arrears results are all using direct debit for tenant payments- and swear by it! The offices that have a problem with direct debit are usually the ones that have never tried it! If you are using REST Rockend, they have a module ready to go for direct debit. Also, have a look at independent service providers that can also assist you.
#8- Gift basket of goodies – Have a basket of goodies to delight your new tenant. What are the things they might not have when they get possession? Things like tea and coffee bags, small milk containers (long-life milk), tea towels, toilet rolls, plastic cutlery, discount vouchers to the local pizza shop. The ideas are endless! Aim to spend between $5 to $10 per basket of goodies. Use your imagination on this one and go for it!
#9- Use a checklist – It doesn’t matter how many years of experience you have, our memory is never good enough to remember every step in the induction every time we do it! Don’t chance missing something! Checklist everything that happens right from the point an application is approved right through to when the tenant induction is complete, the tenant is farewelled and the file is placed into the filing cabinet.
#10- Use your website to induct – Consider placing all of your information onto separate pages on your website. Once this is done, in the tenant induction (make sure you can show the tenants a computer screen connected to the internet) refer to all your information on your website, instead of having this on paper. Show them where they can download a repair request form, giving notice form and a vacate checklist and cleaning guide. They can’t lose the website, but they can misplace all the paper they received when they signed up! Use the technology you have right now to streamline this process.
Tenant induction is such an important process. Always strive to improve this very important appointment. Glossing over this can have dire consequences, so put all your energy into getting it right!
All the best and go for it!