It’s a common question in the rental game. “Can I be friends with my tenants?” And while being friendly is much better than being a jerk, there are several structural questions that make this hard to answer.
Let me tell you ’bout my best friend
Most friendships are built around common interests, hobbies, geographical proximity, or liking the same sandbox. (Easier to justify when you’re in kindergarten.) Friendships that involve money changing hands often evolve into partnerships, where trust and equanimity can exist, but hanging out and shooting the breeze becomes rarer. Because you get money from your tenants every month, hopefully, they probably associate you with large amounts of cash leaving their bank account. That is the number one hurdle.
Some friends, some strangers
Another problem arises when you strike up a legitimate friendship among some but not all of your renters. If it becomes natural to respond more quickly to their maintenance issues, requests, and bugaboos, it can make them like you more and other tenants like you less. You already need to maintain healthy relationships with your contractors, other realtors in your area, and your marketing team. Having an elaborate social web at each of your buildings can be more trouble than it’s worth.
A favor from a friend
Even if you somehow managed to be friends with everyone you rent to, there are financial complications. Friendship means give-and-take, which means responding to people’s emergencies in ways that hurt your pocketbook. If you can handle that and have built up the trust, giving people extra time without penalty is a great thing to do. But if your number one priority is money, the friendship will elude you in rentals. Even if you somehow manage to be friends with everyone you rent to, there are financial complications. Part of the pain of being a landlord.