It feels good to have a great tenant, doesn’t it? Even the most passive of real estate investors reap the benefits of a good tenant: they pay on time, take care of your investment property, and just make life a whole lot easier for everyone involved. When you manage to attract a stand-out tenant, you’ve got something special: period.
When you find something great, what do you do? You hold on to it, of course!
Remember: the vacancies between tenants are one of the most costly periods for real estate investors. So keeping those times down to a minimum with loyal, quality tenants is a strategy worth considering. Naturally, circumstances mean that you won’t always be able to hold on to a good tenant. People move for a lot of reasons that are beyond your control.
That said...from your end and through excellent property management, you can attract and keep quality tenants that will regret leaving and might just recommend your rental to someone else. But what are the best practices for getting great tenants to stick around anyway? These simple keys may help you better vet property management companies or improve on the systems you already have in place.
5 Essential Strategies for Retaining Quality Tenants
Create Ways to Communicate
Communication is key to every relationship. The tenant-landlord (or manager!) relationship is a valuable one, and it takes communication to work well. While there’s always a certain balance to maintain, when your manager makes themselves approachable and accessible, it means that your tenant feels more comfortable and welcome, rather than like they’re an imposition. Is your manager easy to get ahold of? How well do they return calls and messages? What’s their attitude like in dealing with tenants? Is there any online or text-based channel of communication available to your tenants? Explore alternatives and remember that excellent customer service is integral to your success.
Build a Personal Rapport
More than being available to tenants, it’s important to have management that is engaged and active. Part of making a tenant feel comfortable, welcome, and at home is by actively showing interest in their lives and experience with the property. Especially for the first few weeks, managers should take the time to casually ask the tenant how things are going, if they have any questions or concerns, and so on. A concern for excellent service is key to any good management team: your tenant should feel like they are valued and cared for.
Offer Flexible Options Where Possible
While we definitely recommend hard-and-fast rules within your lease agreement, that doesn’t mean disallowing wiggle room entirely. Where can you introduce flexibility for your tenants while keeping the same strong results you need? Think about alternative rent payment structures. Think about introducing online payments. Use good judgment in flexibility that benefits your tenant (especially if they have a good track record) if it won’t affect you in the long run. There are more ways than ever to conduct your business: take advantage of the opportunities technology offers to make your tenant’s experience less complicated and more friendly.
People like to know that they’re being heard. Tenants aren’t any different. If they have a problem or concern, don’t just fix it. Let them know you’ve received their maintenance requests, let them know you’re working on things if they’ll take some time. Communicate that assurance that they aren’t just shouting into the void or talking to a brick wall. Do and say. Make sure that things are getting done in a timely manner, too: never ignore a tenant’s concern or maintenance request, no matter how small.
Follow-Through with Your Promises...and More
This doesn’t just refer to maintenance. Remember, your lease agreement isn’t just things for your tenant to do or not do. You also have obligations to fulfill. We obviously expect and demand that owners, landlords, or managers.provide a safe, secure property that holds up to livability standards. But don’t you want to be more than baseline? The most basic of customer service doesn’t keep people coming back. It doesn’t make people loyal.
Your management should be going above and beyond to best serve your properties and your tenants. Period. If they’re not, you probably need to find a better manager. Having management with standout qualities that work hard to find and keep great tenants is always worth the greater short-term cost.
Don’t shortchange yourself when it comes to management: in this case, only the best will do.