Property managers understand that a happy resident is likely a repeat resident. But the mood can change quickly if promises aren’t kept (and the “but you said so five months ago” argument usually doesn’t hold up). You need to find a balance between keeping your renters happy and staying in control of your property. Here are four tips for you to help manage your renters’ expectations.

1) Create a Policy and Stick to It
The best policy is a written one. You will find yourself in an awkward situation when person A quotes you as saying one thing, while person B is certain you stated the opposite. Create a fair policy and stand by it—don’t make up the rules as you go. Instead, let residents know about your policy upfront. Write it down, have them acknowledge and sign it, and enforce it as needed.

2) Quality Service Will Lead to Quality Tenants
As a general rule of thumb, the quality of a renter will largely depend on the quality of the home that you provide. By providing a better-than-average home you can set the standard for the type of renter that you want to attract and keep. As a property manager, it’s your job to make sure that the needs of your residents are properly met before they ever need to come to you with requests. For example, seasonal maintenance should be conducted to identify issues and fire alarms checked regularly.

3) Set Office Hours
Unless you love rolling out of bed at 11:00 PM to fix a broken toilet, set office hours. Office hours help prevent people from becoming frustrated by your response time. Format your email and voicemail to reflect your availability. Make it known that during office hours you will respond to an email within one hour; however, during out-of-office hours you will respond as quickly as possible. Open communication with residents about your availability will help establish a strong foundation for a beautiful tenant/property manager relationship. It’s also wise to have an emergency number handy for residents.

4) Know When to Outsource
While it might seem like a good idea to don your tool belt and try to repair the busted window, HGTV proves how often DIY home repairs end in disaster. Keep a list of local and reputable contractors nearby. From electricians to plumbers, have reliable professionals you can call when it’s time to resolve a maintenance issue. In addition, having a strong network of contractors can become a major selling point to new residents. Tenants like to know that when they submit a maintenance request it will be resolved efficiently and at the highest quality.

Keeping these things in mind, you will soon find yourself on the path to having happier residents (and improved renewal ratings).