Phone Etiquette Tips For Property Managers & Landlords


Quick: name one business tool that you couldn’t live without.

If you said your smartphone, you’re not alone. Your phone is your connection to your coworkers, rental prospects and tenants.

Whether you’re answering a call from someone who saw an ad or getting a maintenance call from a renter, how you conduct yourself over the phone or via text is a big part of your professional image. This is no place to skimp on your manners. Property managers with good phone etiquette will stand out from managers who make a bad impression, inadvertently or not, whenever you get them on the line.

landlord yelling at phone bad phone etiquette for property managers

Do Call During Reasonable Hours

Want happy tenants who renew their leases? Who doesn’t?! Good communication is essential to renter retention. But no one wants an overzealous landlord who calls all the time, day and night.

When it comes to placing calls, think of it like entering a unit and stick to reasonable hours. These can vary by tenant, so it’s good to put notes in your contact database. Be sensitive to call times if someone works at night or has a young baby.

Don’t Leave The World’s Longest Voicemail

This is how a lot of people today feel about voicemail. Especially younger generations. If you need to leave a message, keep it short. If you can’t keep your message to under 30 seconds, save the details for when they call you back.

“When people leave me voice messages, I just delete them without even checking. If they want to get hold of me, they can text me,” said Nora Lara, a 50-year old woman interviewed for this news story on the death of voicemail.

Do Text Important Announcements

See above. When you have news that needs to get out there quickly and effectively, texting is the way to go. Text messages have a 98% open rate. It’s a great way to announce that the pool is open or remind tenants know about work being done on the property. If you’re a Yardi Breeze user, you can easily text one tenant or all of them from your property management platform, using your phone, tablet or computer.

Not sure what’s acceptable when texting your renters? Here are 6 do’s and don’ts of texting for property managers to help you get started.

Don’t Text Bad News

Bad news should be delivered in person or over the phone whenever possible. Texting and emailing bad news can seem insensitive or harsh without the warmth of a human voice to convey sympathy. Also, the recipient may have questions about the news that would better answered in a proper conversation.

Do Keep It Professional

No matter how well you know your tenants, always err on the side of professional whether you’re calling or texting.

  • Answer the phone using either your name or your business name so the caller knows they have reached the right number.
  • Never have inappropriate music as your hold music or ringtone.
  • If you’re texting, spell out words like “to” and “you.” In most cases, you should avoid using emojis too, but this can vary by market. Student housing property managers can usually get away with the occasional 🙂 .

Don’t Call & Drive

Besides seeming unprofessional (see above), using your phone while driving increases your risk of an accident, and hand-held phone use is currently illegal in 16 states. The National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year. Very few things can’t wait until you’re parked and in a quiet environment.