The relationship between tenants and their property managers is, first and foremost, a professional one. Maybe you live nearby, have shared plates of homemade cookies or traded fishing trip stories. Whether you're best friends with a tenant or have mutually disliked each other from day one, none of this precludes your duties as their property manager. This means that when it comes to the property, everything must be communicated in writing. Just as you can't hold tenants to requirements that aren't written in the lease, there are also many things you can't do without giving them written notice. While it's always safer to send a notice for absolutely everything, here are the primary situations and notices that will need to be sent:
1) Notice of Entry or Intent to Enter
As people within their legal home, even if someone else owns the property, your tenants have a right to their privacy and the ability to set their own schedules. If you need to check on the property, it's important to give proper notice. This is true even if the tenants asked you to look into or repair something for them. Unless the phone call ended with "I'll be right over", it's best to notify tenants and provide them with 24 hours of lead time.
2) Notice of Repairs, Renovations, or Outages
Even if you don't need to enter their property, if you are going to be doing some work nearby that will interfere with the normal lives of your tenants, it's best to give them reasonable notice ahead of time. This is often more applicable to multi-family properties or instances where work on a nearby property will somehow affect your tenants.
3) Notice of Change in Rent
If there is going to be a change in rent payment requirements, naturally your tenants will need to know about it. Really, any change you'd like to make that alters the terms of their lease needs to be communicated in writing with plenty of time for your tenants to adjust and conform to the new terms.
4) Notice of Renewal or Non-Renewal
When the end of a tenant's lease is coming up, it's important that both you and they know what will happen next. If a tenant is welcome to stay for another leasing period, send them a friendly note informing them of this option and request to hear back from them. If, for some reason, you are not going to offer the tenant the option to renew, you need to formally let them know of this as well along with an expected final move-out date.
5) Notice to Meet Conditions or Leave
There are certain conditions in which a landlord or property manager is perfectly justified in evicting a tenant, but it's important to give them notice and an opportunity make things right. In some cases, problems like critically late rent might be the result of personal tragedy and a politely phrased notice with a reasonable time limit is an appreciated reminder. In other cases, as with unapproved roommates, pets, or misuse of property, they may be willing to change in order to keep their lease. If not, you can start the eviction process.
6) Notice to Leave
If you've had enough of a particularly troublesome tenant and do not want to give them an opportunity to try and remedy the situation, you can send an eviction notice letting them know that you plan to terminate the lease in a certain number of days. This gives them time to move out.
7) Notice of Intent to Dispose of Abandoned Personal Items
When tenants leave a bunch of stuff in or at a property they have just moved out of, it is naturally within your right to dispose of it as you please. However, it's important that you send a notice to the tenant's forwarding address letting them know that if they don't come get their stuff, that you intend to get rid of it for them.
No matter what your relationship with a tenant, how long you've known them or how much you may like them, written information is always necessary when making or changing a policy, when you need to visit their home to check out the property, and when major changes or inconveniences will occur so they can make plans. Always send a notice in writing (email is usually sufficient) even if you agree on something either over the phone or in person.