Helpful Tips For Communicating With Your Spanish-Speaking Tenants
If you are a landlord or a property manager, you may at some point have an interested potential tenant who speaks Spanish but very little English. In fact, the United States has 41 million native Spanish-speaking people, which is more than Spain has. A language barrier can pose problems with understanding the rental agreement and how to fill out an application to become a tenant.
As a property manager or landlord, it is illegal to discriminate against someone who does not speak English. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to overcome the challenges of dealing with potential tenants and tenants who only speak Spanish. Here's what you need to know.
Find a Spanish translation service
Have application and lease agreement translated to Spanish by a certified translation service. Due to the legalese that is used in lease agreements, be sure to hire a translation service that specializes in legal documents. Doing this will be beneficial to those who can speak minimal English but who cannot read English.
Due to the majority of people who only speak Spanish being immigrants, they may not have a firm grasp on the way things are done here in the United States when it comes to the eviction process due to failure to pay rent on time. They also may not have a good understanding about various procedures they'll need to do, such as starting their electric service and having phone, cable, and Internet equipment installed.
Because of these additional challenges, have step-by-step detailed instructions translated and written in a mini-guide form. That way, there will be little to no misunderstandings about what is expected of them as tenants of your rental property.
Hire a Spanish interpreter
Additionally, hire a Spanish interpreter to meet with you and your Spanish-speaking prospective tenants when it's time to sign leases. Doing this will prevent miscommunication between you and your prospective tenants. Hire a professional interpreter who has the proper credentials, such as certification, a business license, and insurance. These types of requirements do depend on state and local laws, so be sure to check with your attorney to find out what types of credentials to look for when hiring a Spanish interpreter. You can talk with the Language Banc for more information.
Allow enough time at the beginning of the meeting to allow the interpreter to build a rapport with the prospective tenants. That way, the interpreter can introduce themselves as a neutral party and gain trust before you communicate with your tenant through the interpreter.