One of the biggest costs for landlords is finding new tenants. From advertising through to the screening process, finding the perfect tenant over and over again can be a lot of hard work.
Even if you have all of your property management processes down to a fine art, retaining existing tenants is a lot more cost-efficient than finding new ones.
Now, finding long term tenants isn't always an option. Life happens - people fall in love, change jobs, buy their own house - and eventually, they move out of your rental. These are factors that we as landlords cannot control.
However, there are some factors that affect resident retention that we can influence. Tenants often move out of rental properties because they are unhappy and believe they could get a nicer place or better deal elsewhere on the market. These are the tenants, for the most part, that we want to convince to stay.
So how do we increase resident retention? What changes can we make to ensure we aren't finding new tenants every time the lease expires? Make renters happy, of course. Here are our top tips for achieving high lease renewal rates.
The perfect tenants - think respectful and reliable - are not going to want to live in a rundown property. You have high expectations of them and they have equally high expectations of you.
Your tenants are entitled to live in a clean, safe and comfortable home. This means that you, as their landlord, have a responsibility to abide by your local and federal laws and regulations relating to property maintenance.
These are the basic obligations of managing a rental. If you really want to make an effort to increase tenant retention, you need to go above and beyond the bare minimum.
If your property has a large yard, stipulate a clause in the lease that assigns responsibility to the landlord, so that your tenants do not have to worry about mowing the lawns or shoveling snow in the wintertime.
Make sure that you stay on top of any wear and tear between tenants and be quick to repair anything that needs fixing.
This brings us to our next tip...
There is nothing worse than a lazy landlord - someone, who never answers your emails or calls and always leaves maintenance requests outstanding.
Do not be this landlord. This type of landlord is almost guaranteed to have a high turnover rate of tenants and vacant properties.
Always be quick to acknowledge receipt of messages, even if you can't always remedy the situation straight away. This is particularly important for urgent requests.
The perfect tenant wants a landlord who is willing to listen to their concerns and is responsive to their needs.
This also includes keeping residents informed. If any maintenance has to be done on or around the property, let your tenants know and abide by the proper notice periods as required by your state before entering the property.
Tenants want a landlord who sticks to their word. You must be professional in all your dealings and keep to your promises if you want to gain your tenants' trust.
I often hear tenants complain about landlords who are inconsistent. Just like an unreliable ex-boyfriend, these types of landlords make tenants feel uneasy and want to move on.
Trust is a key ingredient to a successful and long-lasting landlord/tenant relationship. Your tenant will not renew a lease agreement without it.
Do whatever you can to make renting your property easier for your tenants. Ask tenants what their preferred method of communication is and let them text/call/email you anytime.
Offer services that other landlords or property rental companies can't. Think about the things you can do to make your property more attractive to renters.
If your tenants have indicated they may not renew the lease, ask why. Are they having issues with storage? Could you put in some extra cupboard space? Are they worried about privacy or security? Could you install a better lock system or extra sensor lighting?
If your current tenants are having issues with your property, it's likely the next tenants will too. Be constructive when your tenants give feedback - it will make you a better landlord.
We hope you found this blog interesting! However, do note that it should not be used as a substitute for competent legal and/or other advice from a licensed professional.
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