Civilized society is built on trust. Trust is a uniquely human, emotional offering among and between people. I think there are several types of trust, “common trust” and “vulnerability trust,” and I believe each relates directly to a rental property. Trust me. (See what I did there?).

Common Trust

Common trust is the type of trust you automatically grant to others without much active thought pattern or actions.  Think of common trust like driving down the road.  You stay in your lane and you expect other drivers to stay in their lane.  You stop at red lights and you expect other drivers to stop at red lights instead of blowing through them at high speeds.  Common trust is also granted every time you go out to eat at a restaurant.  You trust the employees are preparing your food in a clean, safe manner.  You trust that they wash their hands after using the bathroom and before cutting up Romaine lettuce for your Caesar salad.

In rental property situations, common trust is also common. It is offered by landlords to tenants by expecting the tenant to behave in the future in a similar manner to their behavior in the past. For example, smart landlords and property managers rely upon the construction of ‘risk profiles’ of tenants to determine if their rental applications should be approved, declined, or approved contingent upon a larger security deposit, co-signor, prepaid rent, etc.  Landlords expect tenants with good history of honoring their financial obligations (aka “good credit scores”) will continue to honor their future financial obligations (aka “pay rent on time.”)

Likewise, tenants offer common trust to landlords by expecting them to maintain the property in a decent manner when things fail or break due to mechanical failure, weather,  etc.  Furthermore, tenants place trust in landlords and to not allow the property to fall into foreclosure or tax sale status, forcing the tenant to relocate prematurely.

Make sense so far?  Common trust is easy to understand because, ahem, it’s so common.  The second type of trust isn’t as common.

Vulnerability Trust

This type of trust can only be earned to be reciprocated.  It’s rare.  It’s deep. It’s special.

The best example is William Tell shooting an apple off of his son’s head.  (Historical deep dive:  Read the backstory on this freedom folklore.…it’s cooler than you might remember from grade school.)

William Tell had to trust his son not to move.  His son, likewise, had to trust William’s excellent aim.  The end result would have been bad if either party faltered in their trust.

  • Can you think of a time when, as a tenant or as a landlord, you had to offer up vulnerability trust to the other party?
  • Was it easy to offer up this type of trust?
  • Did it happen immediately or require significant relationship building efforts to solidify this type of trust?

As a landlord, building this type of vulnerability trust is simple in concept, but often hard to execute.

It requires straight talk.

It requires honesty.  Even when it’s hard.

It requires the use of simple language.

It.  Requires.  Effort.

But… the payoff, the reward, is worth more than silver apples in pitchers of gold.  It is financially and emotionally one of the most impacting rewards you can hope to earn from your tenants.

Let’s go build some trust today.