Matchmaking by Landlords: Finding Compatible Roommates for Your Student Rental

Monday, September 26, 2016

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By nature, landlords are not matchmakers because finding compatible tenants isn’t anything like matchmaking with someone on Tinder. Landlords care most about the bottom line, which is finding tenants and keeping vacancy rates as low as possible.


In the past, we discussed why landlords should care about roommate conflict. In this blog, we’ll take it one step further and address proactive strategies to connecting student tenants. The probability of roommate conflict is dramatically reduced when following some of these recommended practices.


Before we share the strategies, it’s important to address why landlords should care about finding compatible tenants; especially when students are renting out individual rooms, instead of leasing to pre-formed groups.


  1. Increased tenant satisfaction and ROI.

    It goes without saying that tenant satisfaction is incredibly important, as it correlates with tenant retention. Pairing compatible roommates together can increase tenant contentment substantially, which in turn raises a landlord’s ROI.

  2. Higher renewal rates.

    A common reason for students to move out of their accommodation is because they don’t get along with their roommates. By minimizing roommate conflict, this can help increase renewal rates by creating a cohesive and compatible group of renters. Previously, we discussed strategies on how landlords can keep student tenants for their entire academic career, which often spans between two to four years.

  3. Time saved by fewer complaints from tenants.

    Even though landlords may not consider petty roommate issues to be their concern, these complaints will undoubtedly fall into their lap. A landlord’s time is not well spent when dealing with frequent complaints resulting from roommate conflict and arguments.


Now that we’ve highlighted the three key benefits of matchmaking by landlords, here are some practices that can be employed to find more compatible tenants.


  1. Offer more flexible leasing options.

    While renting by-the-unit may be ideal for finding a pre-formed group of tenants, it isn’t always easy; especially for first-year students. It’s a good option for landlords to offer by-the-room rentals, or even by-the-floor, whenever possible. More flexibility in lease options will open up the possibility for a pair of renters or smaller groups who already know each other.

  2. Offer referral bonuses to encourage tenants to find friends to move in with them.

    Offering a small gift or a rent reduction in exchange for a tenant referral is an excellent way to find compatible tenants. It’s also an effective means for word-of-mouth advertising, which can be very productive. The more valuable the reward, the more likely student tenants will try to encourage one of their friends to sign a lease. 

  3. Conduct more extensive tenant interviews and screening procedures.

    Most landlords are concerned with matters such as background checks, credit checks and references; however, place less focus on learning about the tenant’s preferences and lifestyle. To find more compatible tenants, it's recommended to ask more detailed questions about themselves. This will help to get an understanding of how they’ll harmonize with other tenants.

  4. Implement a roommate agreement and get all tenants to sign it.

    Roommate agreements are an excellent way to divide tenant responsibilities regarding chores, bill payments, etc. Unfortunately, not many roommates set up formal roommate agreements and leave everything to verbal agreements only, which can lead to misunderstandings. A proactive landlord can create a roommate agreement (see link below) and encourage tenants to abide by it.


Ultimately, roommate conflict is not an isolated issue that only affects the tenants, but one that potentially could negatively impact a landlord’s bottom-line. It’s worthwhile for a landlord to find compatible tenants, as this will undoubtedly increase tenant satisfaction, lease renewals and ROI.


SEE ALSO: How to Write a Roommate Agreement



The Team