Encourage a Sense of Community With Your Residents
As a landlord, it’s easy to be seen by your tenants as just “the owner of the building”. If you own anything larger, like a multifamily home, multiple adjacent properties or an apartment building, you probably want there to be a community. How do you do that? How do you encourage a sense of community with your residents and get rid of that distant reputation? Here are some things you can do to make it feel like a community.
Make it easy to do basic things
You’ll never build a sense of community if residents have obvious reasons not to like you. If some of the basics, like paying the rent or submitting maintenance requests, are a hassle, that can get in the way. Before you can get started building a community, make sure that these kinds of problems have been taken care of. Set up online rent payments as a starting point. For anything else simple that residents struggle with, get that taken care of. It'll make their lives easier and it shows that you care enough to really listen.
Don’t be an absentee landlord
If you’re never around, why would you expect your tenants to think you’re creating a community? Spend time in the neighborhood and talk to the residents. This is especially easy if you live in the community or nearby, but even if you don’t, making your way over and being available can do a lot.
You need to communicate well to organize a community. You can use direct communication like text messages and phone calls or more indirect methods like social media. Either way, be available to and communicate with residents on a regular basis.
Keep the community looking nice
The better the place looks, the more people are going to enjoy it. Whether it’s keeping the paint fresh or maintaining a lawn, having nice areas for residents to go through outside will make them more likely to spend time there. The more time they spend in the same area, the more likely spontaneous interactions that real community comes from are likely to happen.
Have and use communal spaces
Don’t stop at just nice landscaping or paint. Whether indoors or out, build a nice area where residents would want to spend time. It can be a pool, a small space with tables, an indoor clubhouse or anything else you can think of. Build these spaces and, just like the nice outdoor areas, residents will spend time there and have the chance to talk and interact.
If those areas aren’t being used so much, try holding some events. They can be for anything you want so long as there’s a good reason for residents to want to come. Throw a small party around the holidays or have a viewing event for the Super Bowl, to name a couple of ideas. You can do anything people would want to do in a group. Just make sure people know it’s happening. Usually, some flyers and social media posts will help greatly to get the word out there.
Don’t push things too hard on your tenants
If someone doesn’t want to come to your events or just spend time talking, don’t push it on them. They just might not be the most social type or you’ve caught them at a bad time. You don’t want to be too pushy, either. Just put the opportunities out there for them to take if they want to.
Back up ideas with real actions
Talk is cheap. You can say as much as you want about having a community, but words alone don’t make it happen. If your events feel like an obligation or aren’t what you promised or feel underwhelming, it’s not going to work. Put in the time and effort, do what you say you will and don’t do any of it halfway. You’ll be judged by how well things go, not what you said or what you intended.
It’s going to be hard work. Expect to make some mistakes and don’t expect anything to happen overnight, but you really can build a sense of community with your residents.