Finding occupants for your property is one process, but what about keeping them? Tenant retention is not only an indication of your success as a property owner, but also shows that you’re able to respect and maintain your tenants’ safety and comfort. Beyond that, it’s within your interests to protect your bottom line and avoid vacancy cycles that could end up costing you. Here are some things to keep in mind that’ll show your residents they are valued, and keep them signing your lease.
The most straightforward way to show a renter your appreciation is to provide them perks and amenities. Offer welcome packages to new tenants and renewal gifts for those you’d like to keep. Cash and discounts are popular motivators to renew a lease among surveyed lessees, and gift cards, vouchers, and other small tokens are often welcomed incentives. Another simple motivation: upgrades to the space! A fresh coat of paint or new flooring perks up a tenant’s space and might just be the gesture helping them decide to stay. Outshining the aforementioned enhancements, free covered parking is the most effective and appreciated encouragement to renew a lease among those surveyed.
But it’s not enough to just offer amenities. Your timing matters. Incentives are shown to be the most effective during first signing or toward the end of the lease. While offering incentives months into the rental term returned fewer responses and fewer lease renewals.
The secret to keeping good tenants is in how you do your job as landlord. Lessees are more willing to renew a lease with a landlord they respect, and who they feel they can count on, rather than someone unreliable or inattentive.
Communication is Key
Just like in any healthy relationship, communication is crucial. For you and your tenants, this starts at the very beginning of your professional relationship with the lease term agreements. This helps prevent any potential misunderstandings, miscommunications, or tensions between you and your tenants. Roommate debacles are also major threats to your tenant retention, and while you are not legally obligated to involve yourself in such conflicts, you can prevent major fallings out by making sure communication is clear and encouraged. You can provide a sample roommate agreement, make sure that payment terms and violations are understood, and be upfront with how a security deposit will be handled at the end of the lease. This is especially useful among younger tenants who may be in the first years of living independently, and may still be unclear about their responsibilities as tenants and what liabilities to be aware of. Don’t assume that what is common knowledge to you is common knowledge to your tenants as well.
Effective communication extends the duration of your relationship, however, especially if you want to keep good tenants around. Some ways you can encourage ongoing communication is through weekly or monthly newsletters, welcome letters with resources and an outlining of the services you do and don’t provide, and tenant manuals full of troubleshooting tips for common complaints. Make sure that your contact information is always available, and respond promptly to their requests or complaints. You should also go the extra mile for your tenants and give adequate notice in the event of repairs, maintenance, or any other scheduled inconvenience of which you’re aware. Tenants will also appreciate their input being taken into consideration at any point, and it’s a simple way you can show that you’re looking out for your residents.
Closely tied to communication, good organization bolsters tenants’ confidence in your abilities as landlord. A major theme of organization is simply advanced notice. Respect tenants’ time by starting the lease renewal process early. This way no one is surprised and rushed, the process can be much more streamlined, and if your tenants decides not to renew, you have months’ head start on filling the vacancy. A good time frame is to start 3 months before the end of the lease. Also, schedule repairs and maintenance promptly, and bear your tenants’ preferences in mind when possible. For example, some tenants prefer scheduled repairs to occur when they aren’t home, while others prefer to be present for any repairs. Always follow-up, follow-through, and respond promptly.
It’s said that punctuality is the expression of commitment. Arriving on time and being aware and considerate of others’ schedules not only illustrates your professionalism, but also your respect and thoughtfulness, which your tenants will love. Inconsistency and tardiness reflect poorly on your character, your business, your expertise, and your ability to be mindful of others’ safety and comfort, and is likely to chase away good respectable tenants.
Ultimately, organization is the foundation of effective communication and a positive relationship with your tenants. Many renters are renting because they want to and because they prefer someone else to handle things like payment agreements and repairs and maintenance. Therefore, it’s of tantamount importance that you protect tenants’ trust in you by maintaining professionalism and working to protect the quality of life you agreed to provide your renters. This is illustrated by the final way we’ve included to maintain tenant retention through being a reliable landlord: protecting tenants’ safety.
Tenants aren’t as willing to renew a lease in a home where they feel unsafe. Especially if they rely on you to maintain their sense of security. Make sure neighborhoods are well lit, plants and foliage are kept neat, and keep fences low. If you provide parking, it is also your job to enforce parking rules and appropriately handle any violations. Always be accessible to your tenants, respond promptly to their concerns, and remain consistent in your handling of conflicts or violations. This includes minor infractions such as noise complaints, where tenants get a full view of whether you handle conflicts with fairness or with convenience. In the event of any illegal activity, it is your job to contact appropriate legal and law enforcement officials to help handle the situation and eviction. Taking care of tenants’ safety is taking care of tenants.
Tenant retention is an important part of your business. While incentives, perks, and amenities are welcome and effective ways to encourage residents to renew your lease, how you execute your responsibilities as a landlord is even more important and effective. Always seek to treat your tenants with respect, fairness, and consideration, which you can achieve with effective communication, consistent organization, and a prioritization of safety. Your residents will appreciate your thoughtfulness and professionalism, and are much more likely to stick around and protect your bottom line.