Texting has become so common among Americans that it is the dominant way of communicating for Americans under 50. Furthermore, most American only use cell phones and no longer use landlines (Gallup). Since communication is an essential aspect of being a landlord or property manager, landlords and property managers may consider using texting for communication purposes. Furthermore, even if a landlord or property manager would rather not text, tenants may text them anyway once they have their cell phone numbers. Like most innovations, texting, especially with a tenant, can lead to several positive or negative outcomes and therefore several considerations should be made when thinking about texting with tenants. Below are the potential benefits of texting as well as the steps landlords and property managers need to take to avoid common texting pitfalls.
Benefits of Texting
You know your tenant got the message: Most text messages are opened within five minutes, and landlords can often tell if people have read them depending on the type of cell phone the tenant and landlord has. Therefore, unlike letters left under their door or sent through the mail, tenants cannot claim that they have not received the landlord’s text message.
Most people have cell phones: Ninety- five percent of Americans own a cell phone, and 77% own a smart phone (pew). Therefore, landlords know that most likely all their tenants will have a cell phone that can receive text messages sent to them.
High Response Rate: Texting has 8x the response rate of email, so a text is a much better option than an email if you want a response.
People do not listen to voicemails: Only 33% of individuals listen to voicemails from business contacts, and only 18% listen to voicemails from numbers they do not recognize (CBS news). Unless your tenant picks up your phone calls right away, calling your tenant and leaving a message may not do much good.
Despite the advantages that texting has over other forms of communication, texting tenants comes with risks and several potential pitfalls. In some states, texting may be considered a legal form of electric communication and texting tenants can lead them to text you at all hours with all sorts of requests. To avoid any issues, follow these texting tenant guidelines.
Create an Official Texting Policy: Have a written texting policy, included in new tenants’ lease packets. The policy should include what type of information will be texted and not texted and what hours you will send out, review and respond to text messages (e.g. business hours only).
Give Tenants a Choice: Have tenants give a written notice of their preferred method of communication.
Only text informal issues: For example, repair updates, rent late fees owed, and maintenance reminders.
Keep Things Official: Always give written notice or have hard copies of important reminders or notification. For instance, lease changes or notices of eviction
Texting offers a form of communication that can be easily inputted into records. If you decide to text with your tenants all formal text messages should be saved into your property management system.
This post is provided by RISSOFT Residential and Commercial Property Management Software, specializing in innovative and cutting-edge property management software for all 50 states. Request a demo or contact us today to receive more information.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.