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3 Tips for Handling Touchy Tenants

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guest | 27 Jul 2011, 03:28 PM Agree 0

When we bought this property the fence went right around the yard – enclosing the garage so you could not access it. Previous tenants didn't mind because they used it as a workshop, but our new tenant wanted to park a boat in there and needed to be able to get from the alley, through the fence and into the garage. She asked for a gate to open and close to access the garage. When our carpenter tried to install a gate, we found out the task wasn’t that simple. So we decided, instead, to remove the part of the fence blocking the garage door.We ensured the fence still surrounded the yard but the tenant did lose some of her yard in order to open up the garage door to the alley. Our tenant was absolutely furious. "I hate it! I absolutely hate it,” she screamed at me on the phone. “Now when my garage door is open I have to make sure my child doesn't wander into the alley and get hit by a car. It's just not safe now. I feel so exposed. I don't know why you didn't consult me about it. I have no privacy now. It's totally ruined my backyard."It took a while to calm her down but by the end of the conversation she was thanking me for the change we made. How did this happen? It's not easy - believe me - every bone in my body was getting defensive, my temperature was rising and I was feeling myself change from a calm state to an agitated one. I bit my tongue and let her speak. And I followed these principles:1. No matter how hard it is - do not get involved in an argument. Even when you know the other person is wrong, avoid saying so. Instead, ask yourself, "What is to be gained by proving them wrong?" Usually the answer is your own sense of pride, which really isn't that important. What is almost always more important is the relationship.2. When you are wrong - even in the slightest way - admit it wholeheartedly and quickly. "Any fool can try to defend his or her mistakes - and most fools do - but it raises one above the herd and gives one a feeling of nobility and exultation to admit one's mistakes" (Dale Carnegie).3. Let the other person talk more than you do and listen. Really listen and try to see how you would feel in their shoes. Consider their viewpoint, be sympathetic even, and you'll usually have a much easier time staying calm and listening to the other person when you do this and while the other person will feel truly heard - which nine times out of 10 solves the problem, anyway.I never offered to fix the fence or do anything further. I simply listened. And when I was done listening, I acknowledged my responsibility in the situation, apologized for what I had done, and let her know that I could understand her point of view. I saved a ton of energy and time arguing, and I didn’t have to spend any money fixing something that didn't have to be fixed. I made the problem go away with some simple alterations to how I handled the initial conversation. Maybe these tips will help you next time you’re dealing with a touchy tenant.
 
"You will never get into trouble by admitting that you may be wrong. That will stop all argument and inspire your opponent to be just as fair and open and broadminded as you are. It will make him want to admit that he, too, may be wrong."~ Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People
  • Sonny Kwan | 28 Jul 2011, 05:10 PM Agree 0
    Julie, These are some great tips and advice from a seasoned landlord on handling touchy tenants. Good thoughts about how When you are wrong - even in the slightest way - admit it wholeheartedly and quickly. "Any fool can try to defend his or her mistakes - and most fools do - but it raises one above the herd and gives one a feeling of nobility and exultation to admit one's mistakes"
  • Sonny Kwan | 28 Jul 2011, 06:10 PM Agree 0
    Julie, These are some great tips and advice from a seasoned landlord on handling touchy tenants. Good thoughts about how When you are wrong - even in the slightest way - admit it wholeheartedly and quickly. "Any fool can try to defend his or her mistakes - and most fools do - but it raises one above the herd and gives one a feeling of nobility and exultation to admit one's mistakes"
  • Julie Broad | 28 Jul 2011, 11:31 PM Agree 0
    Thanks for taking the time to comment!! You probably picked out the most difficult thing to do ... it's hard to admit when you have done something wrong but it can change the whole conversation!!
  • Julie Broad | 29 Jul 2011, 12:31 AM Agree 0
    Thanks for taking the time to comment!! You probably picked out the most difficult thing to do ... it's hard to admit when you have done something wrong but it can change the whole conversation!!
  • ronald | 17 Oct 2011, 01:12 AM Agree 0
    My advice to to provide written rules that cover most situation, and as noted if there is a problem fix it before it gets worse.
  • ronald | 17 Oct 2011, 02:12 AM Agree 0
    My advice to to provide written rules that cover most situation, and as noted if there is a problem fix it before it gets worse.
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