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What Influences a Tenant’s Trust in a Landlord?

Key Takeaways

  • In a survey of over 900 tenants, people view communication and responsiveness as the most important landlord trait.
  • Landlords can stay in most tenants' favor by being clear with rental terms in the beginning of the tenancy, announcing any inspections in advance, and promptly responding to tenant issues.
  • To manage tenant expectations effectively and minimize complaints, landlords should abide by the regional rent increase laws, remain flexible with payments, and inform tenants of late fees.

Published on Sep 8, 2023 | Updated on Sep 8, 2023

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What affects a tenant’s trust in a landlord? SingleKey surveyed over 900 tenants to learn what they value most from a tenant-landlord relationship and what actions affect their trust in a landlord the most.

Establishing a healthy relationship with your tenant from the start will make the task of property management a lot simpler. Find out how a landlord can build trust with their tenant.

Survey findings: building trust with a tenant

After polling hundreds of tenants, we discovered a landlord’s communication and responsiveness, or lack thereof, influenced a tenant’s trust the most.

What influences tenants’ opinions about landlords

What affects tenant trust in landlord


  • In a SingleKey survey, 38% of tenants felt that a landlord’s ability to be responsive and communicative had the most significant impact on their outlook.
  • The cost of rent came in second at 35%.
  • Only 11% of tenants were concerned with a landlord’s reputation.
  • Upkeep of a rental influenced the opinion of their landlord for 8% of tenants.
  • For another 8% of tenants, the integrity of a landlord affected their trust in them.

Tenant communication guidelines in the lease agreement

It’s easy to understand why a tenant would lose faith in a landlord if they were unresponsive to complaints or if they were to disregard the agreed-upon rental terms. Managing your tenant’s expectations from the beginning will help minimize many problems.

Here are essential tips to help landlords create clear lines of communication:

  • Be transparent in the lease terms 
  • Notify the tenant of rental history, repairs, and previous infestations
  • Respond to the tenant in a timely manner
  • Be prompt in scheduling repairs
  • Provide advance notice to alert the tenant to property inspections or repairs

A move-in inspection is standard with any lease. When you perform a move-in inspection, you document any pre-existing damages to the rental unit or investment property. If additional property damage caused by the tenant is discovered during the move-out inspection, the landlord can make deductions for damages from the security deposit. Occasionally, landlords can schedule inspections during the tenancy.

Landlords should discuss these terms with the tenant and document the inventory of property damages in writing. This way, when it’s time to assess the property at the end of the lease, you can prevent disputes if you need to deduct from a tenant’s security deposit. Most successful landlords are fully transparent in their terms.

The rental agreement should list the following information:

  • Lease terms
  • Address of rental property
  • Late fees for delinquent rent
  • The repercussions of nonpayment of rent
  • Security deposit funds
  • The notice requirement for inspections or repairs
  • The rent payment amount and due date

If you live in Canada, download an editable lease agreement template specific to your province. For those living in the U.S., you can also find state-specific rental agreements here.

Cost of rent on a rental property

The cost of rent is the second most important aspect for 35% of tenants. Many landlords develop a bad reputation because they charge late fees on delinquent rent without itemizing the receipt or implementing the maximum rent increase on tenants. Despite the landlord’s best intentions and efforts, a tenant-landlord relationship can easily turn into a negative experience during the tenancy. To avoid this, the landlord must be clear with the rental terms and expectations, including late fees and when they apply. 

There are times when maximum rent increases may be necessary for landlords, especially in tough economic times. If the economy experiences unexpected inflation, for example, the landlord can suffer. Inflation reduces the value of money, and if the demand for labor and maintenance is on the rise, it increases the cost of supplies and labor. The landlord will need to factor these considerations in when applying rent increases.

Communicate with your tenant so they understand your financial position and won’t presume your actions are a case of price gouging. 

A solution to streamlining the rent collection process is to automate it. This makes collecting rent more convenient and helps build trust between you and the tenant. With automated rent collection, property managers can reduce nonpayment of rent and late payments.

SingleKey offers a free Rent Collection service and will report rent payments to the credit bureau to incentivize on-time payments. Additionally, this feature helps build the tenant’s credit score when they make timely payments. Landlords should avoid cash deals and put everything in writing. Offer tenants digital and itemized receipts. 

Always follow local and state laws before applying rent increases. Many Canadian provinces have annual rent increase caps. For example, Ontario’s rent is capped at 2.5% per year due to the Residential Tenancies Act.

Each U.S. state has different rent increase limits as well. In Texas, only cities can create rent control ordinances in specific circumstances. There are no statewide laws that limit a rent increase.

The three ways to build and maintain a good landlord-tenant relationship include: 

  1. Screening potential tenants
  2. Being easily accessible
  3. Offering flexible payment options

Landlord tips for protecting your reputation

A landlord’s reputation is only important to 11% of tenants. Still, a good reputation can help you secure great tenants. Protecting your reputation as a landlord isn’t always foolproof, but there are steps you can take to avoid damaging your image and attract good tenants.

First, be forthcoming with your expectations. Always be professional and cordial, but ensure your tenants know what to expect regarding due dates, inspections, repairs, late fees, rental property history, and the lease term. If you’re upfront in the beginning, the rest is just maintenance. 

Secondly, be responsive to your tenant’s requests or messages. Being a landlord is a real job. Your renters are your customers and temporary stewards of your investment property. If they alert you to an incident or issue, respond to them as soon as possible. 

Lastly, monitor and manage online reviews. If you are guilty of an online complaint, consider it a lesson to become a better landlord and respond professionally to all good and bad reviews.

Upkeep of the rental property

While only 8% of tenants voted on the upkeep of their rental unit as an influencing factor, not practicing routine maintenance might be a deal breaker for some tenants. Upkeep can include checking smoke detectors, landscaping, seasonal maintenance, exterior cleaning for pools and gutters, and pest control.

Maintaining the rental property’s interior and exterior is essential for attracting great prospective tenants. 

Having integrity in the rental market

While integrity, flexibility, and understanding ranked at only 8%, it’s a critical practice and goes hand in hand with communication. Being a landlord with integrity means that the tenant will trust that you’re honest, reliable, and will not make unnecessary demands. 

Here’s how landlords can ensure they remain ethical while operating an efficient property management business:

  • Schedule timely repairs and respond promptly to issues
  • Have open communication around rent increases and changes to renewed lease terms
  • Give advance notice when conducting routine maintenance checks
  • Give tenants reasonable time to make late payments

FAQ: How can landlords build trust with tenants?

Most contentious tenant-landlord relationships stem from poor communication or misunderstandings. Having clear communication with your tenant is key. Be transparent about your expectations and the history of the rental unit. If you set the rules at the beginning before the lease is signed and promptly respond to your tenant’s requests, you’ll gain the trust of your tenant. Refrain from showing up unannounced.

There are concrete ways to build your reputation as a landlord and keep your tenants in your favor. Before you draft your lease agreement, be upfront about your expectations. Include clear terms in your lease agreement and make any repairs to the rental before the tenant moves in. 

You can cultivate a good relationship with your tenant by being kind, responsive, and giving advance notice before inspections or repairs are made to the property. 

If a tenant complains about you on an online tenant review, address the remarks professionally, improve upon your mistakes, and do better in the future. 

Approving reliable and ethical tenants should be the first step in protecting your reputation, property, and rental income. You can get a clear picture of your prospective renter by pulling an accurate, untampered tenant report.

Successful landlords are competent, consistent, have integrity, and are considerate of their tenants. Landlords must understand and practice their state or province’s fair housing and tenancy laws. Ensure you are clear on your expectations before giving the applicant a rental application.

Building trust can be easy when you follow these landlord tips:

  • Ensure you are within the allotted amount for any applicable application fees.
  • Be responsive to tenants, whether they contact you on business days or over the weekend. 
  • Read up on all landlord-tenant laws. 
  • Always document actual damages to the property and provide tenants with an itemized list of deductions.
  • Notify the tenant of any fees charged due to late rental payments. 
  • Conduct routine upkeep, like making sure the automatic smoke alarm works and performing regular pest control.
  • Let your tenant know that their personal property is not insured under your landlord insurance policy. 
  • If there is normal wear to the property, consider covering the fee to repair it, like repainting exterior doors, etc.
  • Warn tenants that consistently missing rent payments can lead to eviction.

A property owner should give tenants proper notice before coming to the rental property. Maintain the standards of applicable housing codes and provide reasonable notice of termination on a month-to-month residential lease on dwelling units.

Our final thoughts

Attracting and retaining quality tenants who protect your rental and pay rent on time will help good landlords maintain their reputation and make the job of managing a property easier. With SingleKey, you can access Tenant Reports, solutions to protect your rental income, and valuable resources to guide you through the rental process.

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