Here are four primary ways to keep tenants longer:
1. STAY ON TOP OF MAINTENANCE.
Keep your tenant happy by being proactive with property maintenance and routinely performing property inspections.
Only a few things are more frustrating for a tenant than having unaddressed maintenance requests. Being proactive with maintenance helps to keep your tenant happy (no one wants to live with a faulty light switch or boiler), and demonstrates that you want to give them a nice place to live. This can be a huge deciding factor when your tenant is considering a renewal. Incentives such as carpet cleaning or a deep cleaning could be very attractive to long-term tenant and make them feel appreciated, without breaking the bank.
Additionally, regularly inspecting the property’s condition will help you stay on top of maintenance items that need to be addressed (that the tenant may not have noticed) and can help keep smaller maintenance tasks from turning into larger issues. (Look out for our blog on ‘How to maintain your property!’)
2. BE A GOOD LANDLORD
Do not underestimate the importance of the human factor when it comes to renting. Your tenants will be more likely to want to stay if you’re a good landlord.
Be responsive and make it easy for the tenant to contact you. Maintain open communication to limit misunderstandings and create a better overall tenant-landlord relationship. Being courteous and respectful goes a long way to make a tenant feel comfortable in the property.
For example, if you have to make repairs, consider instructing the workers to come while your tenants are not at home so that you don’t disturb their peace and quiet. After all, the more a place feels like home, the longer a good tenant is likely to stay. A cooperative and understanding attitude also sets the expectation of how you want to be treated in return, which more than likely means your tenants will respect you and your property.
If you make certain promises, be sure to keep your end of the bargain. Did you promise a new appliance when they moved in? It’s important to keep your word. Breaking a tenant’s trust may have them looking for another place.
3. KNOW WHAT TENANTS WANT MOST
It’s key to know what factors tenants look for in a rental property so you can cater to their needs.
For many tenants, especially young adults, lifestyle quality is a major factor in whether they decide to stay or go. Although you may own the property, the tenant should still be able to consider it their home. There are ways you can promote this atmosphere, and in doing so, encourage your tenants to stay longer.
Offering features that tenants care about most will help you attract reliable long-term tenants and serve as an incentive for them to renew their contract. Not only cosmetic but practical upgrades like stainless steel appliances, hardwood flooring, and air conditioning are features that can make a house feel like home. These upgrades can potentially be good investments if you want to encourage tenants to stay longer.
You may want to consider refurbishments in the kitchen and bathroom, which are especially appealing to tenants. While there is an upfront cost to new appliances and renovations, it may be worthwhile when you consider the high expense of tenant turnover.
4. BE PROACTIVE WITH RENEWALS
Get in touch with your tenant 2-3 months before the contract is up to ask them if they want to renew. Although you may not get an answer right away, it might get them thinking about their future plans early so they can give you more notice if they are considering leaving. That way, you can get a jump on advertising before the tenant moves out and potentially have someone lined up to move their bags in without losing even a month of rent.
Offer a reasonable rent increase (or even no increase) for the upcoming year if they renew for another year. If they seem unsure about renewing the contract, then ask them what it would take to get them to stay. This is another reason to have a good landlord-tenant relationship. The better your communication with a tenant, the more likely they are to open up and tell you what incentives are most meaningful to them.
You may find that fulfilling a tenant’s request may turn out to be less of an expense for you than turning over the property and a taking a risk on a new tenant.
Retaining reliable, rent-paying tenants is good for your rental business. By encouraging quality tenants to renew their contracts, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with keeping tenants who you already know will pay their rent on time and will respect your property.
Of course, despite your best efforts, you may still have tenants that do chose to leave. It’s just a part of owning rental property. When the time comes to find another tenants, your best bet is to find good tenants that you will want to stay for longer periods of time.
As we always say …plan your move.