Tips for Keeping Your Best Tenants
When a lease is up for renewal, your tenant has a limited window of time to re-sign or give you notice of intent to vacate. If they’ve paid their rent in a timely manner, you’ll want to hold on to them because good tenants are hard to find. And replacing a tenant can be expensive in more ways than you might think.
Dealing with tenant turnover is part of a landlord’s job description. But as a business owner, you should have a strategy that saves you money whenever possible. Between the cash landlords and property managers spend on tenant screenings and the costs for cleaning services, those expenses add up quickly. Add to that the time you’ll invest in inspecting the unit, scheduling walk-throughs for prospective tenants and making minor repairs. You could be looking at spending hours and laying out hundreds of dollars just trying to re-tenant a unit.
Take a look at our tips for keeping your best tenants and find out how to boost the odds that your tenant sticks around.
Offer Amenities That Attract Great Tenants
Your strategy for tenant retention should start before you close on the property. By fortifying your rental with creature comforts, your tenant will be hard-pressed to find a better space. They’ll want to stay because you’ve invested in their living space. Here are some amenities to consider and improvements to make that can help to retain great tenants:
On-site parking. Tenants appreciate the convenience of having their car nearby. Offer parking, and consider charging a fee for it. You’ll find better-qualified tenants want off-street parking to protect their newer vehicles. And the upside is that you’ll be able to boost your monthly income!
Great, reliable appliances. Modern, Wi-Fi connected appliances can wow the tenants you want in your rental. Upgrade your kitchen with these and watch the applications flow.
Install a security system. Today’s web-enabled alarm systems notify your smartphone when the doorbell rings, or a smoke alarm senses trouble. By partnering with Frontpoint home security systems, we’re able to offer discounts on some policies as well. Your rental will be more secure, your tenant will feel safer and you’ll save a few bucks too.
Rehab to an open floor plan, or buy your unit that way. Among many drivers that steer high-quality tenants, open living spaces has become an amenity they’re looking for. Modern, unrestricted spaces offer real appeal and tenants take notice.
Offer storage on-site. Most tenants have items in boxes that they need to keep on-hand, but don’t plan on unpacking. A secured space for storing their items can save them a lot of money every month when compared to renting storage space off-site.
Incentivize Great Tenants to Stay
Property owners and landlords know the real value of keeping their tenants happy all year long. By adding a little positivity to the landlord-tenant relationship, you may find small gestures can improve tenant retention. They’ll recall your kindness especially when it’s time for renewing the lease. Here are a few key tips for incentivizing great tenants:
Remember your tenants around the holidays. Small gestures like a card with a box of chocolates can help to stay in your tenant’s good graces.
Motivate tenant renewals every month. Consider introducing a point-based system where the on-time payment of rent each month will result in points towards a discount on the first month’s rent due upon renewal. The money you save with zero vacancy and not having to deal with a new tenant is well worth that small monetary token.
Keep up the space. If upgrades can be made without interrupting the tenant too much, schedule small improvements while the space is occupied. Continue to keep the rental property in good repair too. The tenant will notice your time and effort and they may be more compliant when it’s time to renew.
Respond in a Timely Manner to Maintenance Requests
Fostering a positive tenant-landlord relationship goes a long way — all the way to renewal season. Your tenant’s paying you a lot of money to attend to their issues, and they expect you or your property manager to take action when they reach out. Here are a few tips to help you respond in a timely manner to maintenance requests:
Build out your go-to roster. By assembling a team of specialists that you can count on when tenants report an issue, you’ll be ready to act fast. Quick turnaround on maintenance issues adds value to your tenant’s experience because they see you’re dedicated to resolving their problems quickly.
Promptly respond to tenant concerns. Fast reaction time is key to keeping tenants happy. Simply texting back and letting them know you understand the issue and are working on a solution is key. Follow-through is just as important, so work quickly and your tenants will see that you care.
Create a process and stick to it. Set time limits and response goals for maintenance issues and tenant inquiries. For example, do your best to reply as soon as possible when a tenant contacts you. By working hard to resolve concerns quickly, you’ll build healthy workplace habits that can help keep your tenants happy.
Keep it traceable. Remember to deliver your reply to the tenant in a recoverable manner, like email or text. That way, you’ll have proof you responded if they file a complaint against you. In your reply, be sure to define the problem and your solution to it, preferably with an estimated date of resolution. Request photos to further explain the issue.
Empathy means something. Because tenants live in your rental, they are likely emotionally invested in that space. If you find them contacting you frequently about small issues, step back for a moment before getting frustrated. By taking a breath and putting yourself in their shoes, you may find that a little compassion can be helpful to your relationship.
These tips may seem like a lot to put into practice but after you’ve made adjustments, the result may surprise you. Satisfied tenants who like where they live are more inclined to stay where they are. As you’re developing your skills and improving your space to help keep your best tenants, check in with your American Family Insurance agent. They’re highly skilled at reviewing your current insurance profile and can often help you uncover ways to better protect your real estate investments.