Love Your Tenants?  Let’s Talk About Tenant Retention

Friday, February 14, 2014

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Finding and replacing tenants can be a costly task for landlords.  When property managers come across great tenants, it’s in their best interest to try to retain them for as long as possible. 


Here are some proven strategies that landlords can use to find good tenants and keep them:


1) Choose Tenants Carefully:

It is beneficial to take some extra time to prescreen tenants thoroughly, rather than rush the process and accept applicants immediately.  Many landlords check references, request guarantors and/or perform credit checks.


2) Be Responsive: 
Being quick to respond to any type of inquiry is incredibly important. Landlords should never ignore a phone call or email from a tenant.  It is best to respond promptly, as it shows that they are concerned about the condition of the property, as well as the tenant’s comfort and safety.

3) Treat Every Maintenance Request as Important:  
While a tenant’s maintenance request may seem insignificant or small to a landlord, the tenant might regard it as urgent and important. If the problem can’t be fixed immediately, inform the tenant and provide a reasonable timeframe in which they can expect to have their problem resolved.

4) Ask for Feedback:  
By asking tenants what they like and dislike about the rental, landlords can gain valuable input on how to improve the property. Some suggestions may not be feasible to implement, while others might be simple and cost effective to consider.


5) Respect Their Space:
Unless it’s an emergency, landlords should never enter a rental property without providing adequate notice to the tenant. Respecting a tenant’s space and privacy is a must.

6) Discuss Lease Renewals Early:
It is recommended to plan ahead and contact tenants early, to determine whether they will be renewing or not.  This provides landlords with the opportunity to encourage a lease renewal and reduces the potential for units to become vacant for long periods of time.


7) Offer a Small Resigning Bonus:
The cost of finding new tenants can be expensive, as well as time consuming. Offering a small incentive (monetary or a gift) can give current tenants a good reason to renew their lease.

8) Avoid Unreasonable Rent Increases:
Landlords should conduct market research to ensure that their rental is priced competitively.  They should also be aware of rental increase policies for their city.  Landlords are normally required to provide ample notice to their tenants (often 60 days), if they intend to raise the rent.  Tenants will understand the reasoning behind rental increases, if an explanation is also provided (for example: property improvements, renovations, etc.).

9) Treat all Tenants the Same:
Some landlords and property managers make the mistake of catering to new tenants, while not paying enough attention to tenants who already reside at the property.  It is best to extend the same courtesy to all residents alike.


10) Conduct Exit Interviews:
When a tenant submits their notice to move, schedule a brief exit interview.  This provides the landlord with an opportunity to view the condition of the unit, prior to the tenant leaving.  It also allows the landlord a chance to ask a few questions informally (for example: why the resident is leaving, whether there is a concern, if anything could be improved, etc.). 

The Team