I often find myself talking to a tenant over the phone who has become defensive and offended about rent arrears, or the repairs they have not done. This can go two ways. A screaming match where no one wins, and the situation worsens. Or you stay in control of the conversation and work towards a solution. Through doing this on a daily basis over 5 years, I have a basic tool kit to disarm an angry tenant and work towards a solution.
Here are a few things I say when the conversation heats up.
If you find that the tenant is butting heads with you, over rent arrears. Here is what I say “John, we are beginning to but-heads on this issue. We are not going to solve anything this way, lets sit side by side and work through this together to find a solution. I value your tenancy and I am sure we can work out a weekly payment plan that will suit us both.
If the tenant “John” continues to push your buttons. This happens to me when tenants call me names over the phone. The best way I have deflected this is to pretend I did not hear him, and reply with the following “pardon?,… pardon?…. Sorry my phone seems to be playing up. Lets get back on track and work on a solution”. Usually the tenant will take this opportunity to pretend he did not just call me names and save face. This usually works a treat and things defuse from here.
Whatever you do, don’t let them get the better of you. End the conversation before you loose your cool. What I say is “John, this conversation is no longer constructive. I am ending it now, we can continue this in person in the office tomorrow if you like” Usually conversations in person a much more civil and can be mediated by a third party.