Landlord Blog – LOL or WTH? Shld U B Twiends W Tenants
With social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter being blamed for breaking up around a third – yes a third – of relationships, Rob Denman wonders if there’s a place for it when it comes to letting property?
“Social media – it’s taking over the world! From individuals to businesses, it seems that everyone is tweeting, posting, connecting, pinning, snapping and instagramming! But should a landlord get on board and, mores the question, should they be Facebook friends with their tenants?!
“Let’s consider the plus points.
“The most important thing a landlord needs to do when renting out a property is develop and maintain good communication with their tenants and social media is all about communication - albeit the nature of it can be somewhat questionable at times!
“Connecting with your tenants on the likes of Facebook gives you another channel in which to communicate through. The younger the tenant the more likely it that they are going to be regular users of social media and prefer it as a communication channel over the likes of email and text. It also gives you some insights into the kind of tenant they are which, in turn, can actually be the biggest negative!
“The phrase - what you don’t know won’t hurt you - springs to mind. No doubt things will go on in your property that you don’t need, or in fact want, to know about. I’m not talking dodgy dealings but little things that could make you a bit panicky. A birthday party in the property could lead to endless questions – What if the place gets trashed? Are they disturbing the neighbours?
“Even something as tiny as a picture posted on Facebook and in the background there’s a glass of red wine precariously placed on the edge of a table. Was it spilt? Is there a stain? Social media can lift the lid on Pandora’s Box which is then impossible to close and all of a sudden you find yourself on there at two in the morning going through their wall with a fine tooth comb as if they are an ex who you’ve heard is seeing someone else!
“One of the hardest things I’ve found about letting a property is distancing yourself from it; it may be your property but it is the tenant’s home and chances are they aren’t doing anything outside the norm.
“But as many Facebook users and Tweeters can vouch for, social media has an uncanny knack as exacerbating something trivial and innocent and turning it into a drama worthy of an Eastenders plot line.
“Should you be Facebook friends with your tenant? It’s certainly not for the faint hearted. They probably wouldn’t accept your friend request anyway!”
Rob Denman is a solicitor and Head of GW LET (Landlord Empowerment Team), specialising in such landlord legal issues as rent arrears, tenant eviction and tenancy deposit disputes. In his spare time Rob enjoys watching football and running. He is currently training for his second half marathon.
Content correct at time of publication