The 5 Stages Of Landlord Acceptance

Is it safe to say that in Property Management, we deal with conflict and objections on a daily basis? When a Landlord is upset,  do we sometimes think “why are they angry with me, it’s not my fault”?

One Agency recently told us about a very interesting way they deal with conflict and objections in their agency. This particular agency has upheld 100% Landlord retention for more than 3 years, have had the same core Property Management staff for 7 years and they are growing their Rent Roll in BIG numbers. When we asked them how they do it, they told us about a very simple process they use in their office which is taught to Nurses in hospitals who are communicating with family members of sick or dying patients.

This process is known as: “The 5 stages of acceptance”

We are going to apply this process to Property Management and in an all too common instance where a ‘Landlord is refusing to spend money on their property’…. Sound familiar?

Hot tip: The best Property Managers can get a Landlord from Stage 1 to Stage 5 the fastest.


Stage 1 – Denial

“There is no way what you’re telling me is true”!

Denial can be conscious or unconscious refusal to accept facts, information, or the reality of the situation. Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the Landlord. This feeling is generally replaced with heightened awareness of what a repair or maintenance item will cost them. Denial is a defense mechanism and some people can become locked in this stage.


Stage 2 – Anger

“Why me? It’s not fair”! “How can this happen to me’? “Who is to blame”?

Once in the second stage, the Landlord recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to speak with due to misplaced feelings of rage. Anger can manifest itself in different ways. People can be angry with themselves or with others or simply with the situation at hand. It is important to remain detached and nonjudgmental when dealing with a person experiencing anger.


Stage 3 – Bargaining

“Can’t the Tenants just put up with it for a while”? “Can you get me 5 quotes”?

The third stage involves the hope that the Landlord can somehow postpone or delay the spending of their money. Psychologically, the Landlord is saying to them self “I understand this will cost me money but if I could just do something to buy more time”. Bargaining rarely provides a sustainable solution, especially if it’s a matter of compliance on a Landlords part with their obligations under the Act.


Stage 4 – Depression

“I’m not very happy about it but just go and get it done. The way you’ve handled the situation has been poor”.

During the fourth stage, the Landlord begins to understand the certainty of what it will cost and acknowledges that the work must be done. This process allows the Landlord to disconnect from things like money and ego. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer up a Landlord who is in this stage. It is a kind of acceptance with emotional attachment. The Landlord may show emotions of sadness, regret, fear or uncertainty by has begun to accept the situation.


Stage 5 – Acceptance

“It’s going to be okay”. “I understand it will help me in the long run and that my Property Manager is really looking out for my best interests”.

In this last stage, the Landlord begins to come to terms with your advice, or what information you’ve provided to them about their legal obligations. The faster you can get a Landlord to this stage, the better off you’ll be.


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