Let’s assume you’ve already done the labour intensive leg work of getting your property filled with a renter. You’ve advertised the vacancy, shown the unit to prospective renters, and finally screened the chosen renter and have the ideal tenant happily moved in. Finally, you’ve found a tenant that will treat the place as if it were their own. The question now becomes “how do I keep this ideal tenant for the next 5 years?” The longer you can go without turnover, the greater the ROI you see on your rental unit.
Here are 6 key considerations when trying to keep tenants happier and stay around longer.
Address maintenance requests right away
You don’t necessarily have to get the issue fixed right away, but you certainly need to address it right away. This is common sense for the most part but can often be a crucial factor leading to a tenant deciding to sign another year lease or look for greener pastures.
Tenants want to know that they’re heard and that they don’t have to wait around for indefinite action. A leading property management company says regardless of what your other obligations are, make it a priority to take your tenants phone calls, or to return their calls within 12-24 hours. The quicker you take that call, the quicker you can resolve their issue, the less likely your tenant becomes annoyed or restless.
Deal with disruptive tenants promptly
Nothing is worse than a bad neighbor. As you know, not all tenants are the ideal tenant. So when the disruptive neighbor is leaving garbage around, stomping on the floor at an ungodly hour of the night, leaving the barking dog for too long, or playing Shook Me All Night Long at 2:30am on a Tuesday – you need to step in and take action. Nothing drives good tenants away faster than bad tenants.
Bonus tip: Since we know bad tenants drive good tenants away, don’t forget that the opposite is also true: good tenants keep other good tenants around. If you offer tenants incentives to help you fill vacancies, you’ll not only decrease the time you spend with vacant units, but you’ll increase the chances that your ideal tenant surrounds themselves with friends and family, which keeps them happy and keeps them around longer.
You want to deal with a tenant who is polite, responsible, and responsive – and your tenants want the same from you. Show a little flexibility, try to make tenants a priority, and never leave them in the lurch, wondering if you got their message. A few professional courtesies go a long way. Empathize with the tenant and put yourself in their shoes – how would you want a property manager or landlord to behave?
Respect your renter's privacy
As a property manager you want to toe the line between being proactive, taking care of issues before they even arise, and giving the required privacy, not just by law – but by “hey let’s not annoy these ideal tenants too much” laws.
Most tenants don’t want to hear from you unless you’re responding to an issue they’ve notified you of. In general, you may need to enter a unit 1-2 times per year, so make sure you give proper notice, and do everything you can to make it a visit that includes a solution to the problem, rather than simply identifying the problem and return again later to fix it – bring the tools you’ll need to get the job done.
If you want to offer your tenants a nice cost-effective perk like getting a professional carpet cleaning or professional cleaning done in the unit, make sure to check with the tenant for a time that will work with their schedule and provide lots of notice, with reminders leading up to the date.
Know which amenities resonate with the market
For a family dwelling unit, it might be a backyard with a fence, for a student rental it might be highspeed internet, or maybe it’s available parking. Get to know your rental market and find out what it is your renters are looking for. With Gen Z and millenials, quality of life is a major factor when they decide to stay or go so doing cost-effective things like tearing up old carpet to lay down a newer, more modern flooring can show your tenants that you care about helping them feel at home in their unit.
Including something like highspeed internet makes life one bill easier for your tenant – even if you build the cost of the internet into the monthly rental fee, if feels like they are getting it for free, and it’s one less bill to worry about.
The bottom line is that you need to know what matters to your renters. What are the things within your power that you can make easier or more convenient for your tenant? Find out and make them better.
Work with other property managers, not against them
As an organization with many property management clients, we have the distinct pleasure of speaking with tenants directly, we hear their frustrations, we hear their elation when impossible problems are fixed – and we're here to be a resource for you. Join a network of like-minded property managers to see how your peers are addressing challenges, learn new tips on tenant retention, and make new friends in this fascinating industry. We gather here to discuss all things property management – we hope you join us sometime.