A tenant’s rent is usually the largest monthly payment they make and a Landlord’s house is usually the most valuable investment they have. With these two things in mind, when there is a problem, things can get very passionate. As an owner or property manager you need to know how to defuse difficult situations. When a tenant has a problem and is angry, this is not the time to be emotional.
Listening is Key
Ask what the problem is and then listen. Do not interrupt or ask them to please calm down. They need to feel like you are listening and truly care about them. This is not always easy, especially if you disagree, but remember, we have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Your purpose is to diffuse the situation, not make things worse.
The last thing an angry tenant wants to hear is that it is all their fault, you don’t care or you can’t help them. Acknowledge their concerns and act like you truly care about helping them. Avoid words that are negative in connotation such as ” I can’t, I won’t, that’s not going to work, etc.”. If you are unable to assist them explain why and give suggestions on how they may be able to resolve their problem.
The last possible thing you ever want to do is argue with a person who may not be acting reasonably. This will always fail and most likely cause the individual to escalate and retaliate. It does not matter if they are wrong or right. Pointing out why they are incorrect or misinformed will not diffuse a bad situation, it will only make it worse.
Treat Them The Way You Want to Be Treated
Respect, humility and treating them the way you want to be treated is key. Also, recognize that the reason they are going off the deep end may not be the issue. They could have a child who is ill, lost their job, got a ticket and this last issue has ignited their fury. If you really want to help resolve the problem – truly helping and acting like you care is critical.