According to journalist and broadcaster, Walter Winchell, timing is an important part of building a productive relationship. He noted, “A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” Many tenants who live in Washington DC homes for rent right now may feel the rest of the world is “walking out” when a crisis strikes.

When your former reality is supplanted by a disappointing, stressful, or disruptive event—whether it’s a pandemic or a sudden tragedy—you can feel lonely and lost. However, times of crisis can instead be turned into a golden opportunity to strengthen the working relationships you have with your renters. Now is the time to “walk in,” and show you’re not just someone who has invested in a property—you are invested in the well-being of your residents, too.

A word of caution: This blog post does not act as a substitute for legal counsel. When in doubt, consult with your trusted attorney or Renters Warehouse DC/NOVA for real-time assistance concerning your Washington DC homes for rent!

Happy african american father and daughter looking at each other

Showing Compassion

Compassion is sometimes confused with simply being “nice.” However, in reality, it’s a far more dynamic trait. Compassionate people feel genuine concern for the suffering of others. To show compassion during a time of crisis, try doing things like:

Improve Your Communication

During a crisis, it’s important to communicate well and often. This applies to both listening to tenants’ concerns and expressing important information to them. In times of crisis, there is bound to be confusion. You should try to provide them with clarity around expectations and the role you plan to play during the crisis. For example, you can let them know:

This is particularly helpful if you’re making improvements to the property. To get an idea of how to approach this professionally, you can take a look at our response page to COVID-19 to address the concerns of the rental community in Washington DC homes for rent that we serve here at Renters Warehouse!

Senior couple relaxing outside

Be Consistent

The more consistent you are, the more comfortable your tenants will be during a crisis. As things change around them, you can be a rock, a steady cornerstone around which they can structure other decisions in their lives. But it’s easy for a well-meaning landlord to slip into a pattern of inconsistency when you’re managing so much more than your Washington DC homes for rent.

To avoid inconsistency:

Enforce the Same Rules and Fees—Within Reason

Before a crisis strikes, your tenants’ residence was a source of consistent, reliable comfort. If you change the rules or fees unnecessarily, you may introduce a sense of uncertainty to a relationship they need to be stable and predictable. It’s also worth noting for Washington DC homes for rent that orders from the DC Council may currently suspend the application of certain fees. Choosing to waive certain fees for your renters now is both a gesture of care and a step in the right direction for complying with current legislation in the DC area.

During a crisis, your tenants will invariably need some kind of help or support. You can be the friend who walks in when they feel the rest of their world slipping away. Remember to show compassion, communicate, and be consistent. This can give them a sense of security during insecure times.

For insight into how to apply these principles to rent collection, turn to our free resource, the Collecting Rent in a Crisis Handbook. As always, we’re here for you at Renters Warehouse DC/NOVA: if you need further guidance, reach out to the experts!