Written by Open Doors Project Manager, Nazia Azad-Warren
When the weather warms up, it’s usually a sign for us to open up our windows and, for many of us, our cleaning supplies cabinet too! It’s that time of the year – Spring Cleaning! And if you’re a landlord or letting agent, it may also be time for your tenant’s quarterly property inspection!
As a landlord or a letting agent, it’s important to make sure that tenants are looking after your property. You want to make sure that they are keeping it clean and tidy, not damaging anything and generally keeping the property a home that someone would want to live in.
Whilst all of the above is relevant, remember that when you go and inspect your properties, you are going into someone’s home. Remember that, because that’s important.
The same way you would want a stranger to respect your house rules is probably the same way tenants would like you to respect theirs.
Having said that, tenants are a diverse bunch. They can come from a variety of backgrounds, ethnicities, faiths, they may be disabled or a mixture of all the above! You will never know the ins and outs of all the things to consider for every type of person and also, people are individuals too, so their preferences could be very different to what you imagine.
Nonetheless, it’s important to be considerate. To help you out, we’ve put together a few suggestions. Try them out!
1. Don’t assume.
Don’t assume that people with non-British accents or from ethnic minorities have difficulties with English. However, don’t assume that because someone speaks English, they can read it or that they fully understand what you’re saying. If you feel that someone is struggling to understand you then use plain language and short sentences, avoid jargon!
2. Be mindful of objects.
People have certain religious or sentimental objects that they revere. It’s important that we also respect these objects when in their homes. Objects include things like prayer mats, religious books/texts, beads etc. Tenants may also pray in their homes so ensure that you are aware of these spaces and if in doubt, just ask!
3. Cultural sensitivity is not just about race and nationality.
It’s also about knowing other types of ‘cultures’. Consider things like background, attitudes, values and disability or mental health issues.
4. Don’t patronise.
Your attitude is really important when entering someone’s home. It is never okay to talk down at tenants even if there is a disagreement. This can lead to a lot of issues in the future by causing the relationship to breakdown.
One of our Open Doors Tenant Champions stated, ‘…it’s important for someone coming in to my home to never talk down at me because of my disability. This is my home, my safe space and everyone, including my landlord needs to know that’.
5. Be respectful, friendly and polite.
Simply put, this is enough to do the trick. Remember that everyone is an individual so try and respond to individual needs.
Most of the time, visiting a tenant’s property is nothing but a formality for both landlord and tenant, but these quick tips should make the experience a little bit nicer for you and the tenant(s).
Good luck with the inspections!
On a final note, if you are a landlord or letting agent and wish to learn more about sensitivity when entering someone’s home, then why not access Tai Pawb training course ‘Connect with Respect’.
Alternatively, contact Member Relations Manager Helen Roach at firstname.lastname@example.org