Minimizing turnover in your rental units does more than just keep money flowing on a consistent basis. It also helps to reduce the other costs associated with vacancies, including cleaning, repairs, advertising and showings. But renting out your units is only half the battle. It’s finding those good tenants and keeping them for the long term that’s the real key to success. Whether you’ve struggled in this area or would just like to make sure you’re maximizing your efforts, here are five pro tenant retention tips.
Be available and approachable.
The first step in keeping tenants happy is to make sure they feel comfortable approaching you with questions or concerns. Make it easy for them to reach you by whatever means they find most convenient, be it via telephone, text message, email or online message portal. Respond to any and all tenant communications as quickly and professionally as possible. Positive interactions help to build trust and respect and foster long-term relationships.
Treat maintenance requests as a priority.
There may be times when a tenant complains about something that you may see as not a big deal. To them, however, it could be. Whatever the issue, show your tenants you care about their needs by addressing things promptly. In doing so, you’ll keep your properties in tip-top shape and also keep residents satisfied, which will improve the likelihood that they’ll renew their lease when the time comes. (Hint: use property management software to streamline and optimize the maintenance request process.)
Be fair and unbiased.
This can be difficult, especially if you’ve got one or two problem tenants that you’d rather not retain, but it’s important nonetheless. Be sure you are enforcing the same rules for everyone, regardless of which tenant happens to be bending them. If you start playing favorites, it’ll only end up costing you more in turnover in the long run. It’s also important to be fair and consistent with rent prices. If one tenant finds out another is paying less, it’s sure to cause friction.
Be proactive about lease renewals.
Don’t wait until just before a lease is about to expire to engage with the tenants you’d like to see stay longer. Reach out to them at least 90 days in advance to ask what their intentions are and let them know you’d like them to renew. You may decide to keep the rent price status quo as an incentive to get good tenants to re-up. And, in the case where a tenant does indicate they won’t be renewing, you’ll have a head start on advertising and filling the upcoming vacancy.
Offer and encourage longer leases.
If you’ve got some stellar tenants in your units, you may want to consider extending your lease periods to keep them on longer. For instance, rather than a one-year re-up, offer the opportunity to lock in at the current rental rate for two or three years. You won’t be able to increase your revenue from those units during that timeframe, but you’ll enjoy more stability and higher retention rates, which is well worth the trade-off.
One of the most important duties as a landlord or property manager is to take care of good tenants and do everything feasible to keep them happy. The five tips above should help increase the satisfaction level amongst your better residents and improve the chances of getting them to stay put for many years to come.