How to Keep Good Tenants
We have all heard stories that are more like nightmares when it comes to bad tenants. They take up your time, they cost you money and can often keep you up at night.
But what about the good ones? You know, the ones who pay on time, do not cause issues for the neighbors and who treat your rental property like their own home. These are the folks that you want to hold on to and there are a few things that you can do to keep them happy (and in your property).
- Make their life easy.
It’s only fair that if they are making your life easy, you should do the same for them. There are simple things that can be done like making sure it is easy for them to pay their rent so they do not have to drive somewhere to drop it off, or mail it to you. It is likely that if they are good tenants, part of the reason is that they like living in the home/neighborhood where your rental is, so make it easy for them to pay their rent as there are numerous services to make this easy for them, and for you.
- Maintain the property.
Be responsive should an issue arise with the property and make sure you get it taken care of quickly. Communicate timelines along the way and make sure they are comfortable with the resolution path. Perhaps they have an infant and the heater breaks in the middle of a storm. Your responsiveness to such a situation is going to have an impact when it comes for them to decide whether or not to renew. Keeping the property in good order is good for your investment anyway, so maintaining not only makes the tenant feel good about the home they are living in, it’s good practice for a property owner anyway.
- Listen to their concerns.
While you do not want to overwhelm them with phone or email contact, it is a good idea to have an inspection done at least once every 6 months. This can be scheduled at their convenience, but can be a great opportunity for the tenant to voice any concerns about the property. Perhaps there is not a dire need for a fix, but something small that can be taken care of. Listening and responding can help keep your tenant happy, but also give you some insight into any small things about the property that can be addressed.
- Be available.
While you cannot (and should not) be available 24/7/365, there are circumstances in which you may need to be available in case of emergency. Your responsiveness is important during matters large and small. Perhaps it makes sense to have a discussion about your availability when getting to know an incoming tenant. Point out your response time In case of emergency, and when you typically respond on matters more minor. Framing communication expectations will also help prevent multiple phone calls if the tenant knows when to expect a response and mitigates frustration for both parties. At the end of the day, if the tenant knows that you are going to be responsive to their needs, it will have a positive impact on future retention efforts.
- Renewal gifts.
The cost of a vacancy tends to be much more than losing 1 months worth of rent while finding a replacement. It often makes sense to offer some sort of incentive for the tenant to renew. Depending on market circumstances, this could come in the form of a reduced rental rate. If the market bears an increase, there are still ways to incentivize the tenant to renew and could come in the form of a carpet cleaning or a new landscaping feature that makes the property more attractive. Some form of appreciation for the tenant does not always have to be considered upon renewal. Maybe a gift card to thank them for being a good tenant, or a holiday package at Christmas makes sense.
At the end of the day, it is important to know that if you have a good tenant, there are measures you can take to keep them to ensure they know how much you appreciate working with them. If you have a good tenant, do your best to keep them!