So, you've found the perfect tenants, there's a huge burden lifted off your shoulders and the hard part is over, right? Well don’t get settled in just yet, now you need to shift your focus to keeping those tenants. Having responsible tenants who pay on time and keep your property well maintained will only add value to your investment in the long term as well as make owning rental properties a relatively worry-free investment.
Though sometimes great tenants have personal reasons as to why they choose to not renew a lease agreement, there are some things landlords and property managers can do to help persuade wonderful tenants to stay long-term. We've come up with a list of six simple things that investment property owners, and those who manage their properties, can do to keep that perfect set of tenants for years to come.
1. Address any concerns quickly, especially maintenance issues
An unhappy tenant probably isn't going to be jumping to sign a two-year lease extension, right? And tenants who have been trying to get their garbage disposal fixed for three weeks only to be met with unanswered calls and emails probably aren't very happy. Therefore, landlords and property managers should always strive to address maintenance issues at rental properties as soon as possible. This will ensure the tenant that you care about the home they live in as well as their personal satisfaction and wellbeing. What if an issue can't be handled immediately? Communicate that information and, if possible, provide alternative solutions in the meantime. If tenants are confident that their landlord is doing his or her best to remediate an issue, they are much more likely to be satisfied with both their home and the person who is managing it.
2. Understand what tenants are looking for in a long-term rental
What renters may be looking for in a home can, of course, vary among different demographics. College students might appreciate a property that has storage for bicycles or built-in desks for studying. A family might go for properties that have fenced backyards and upgraded appliances and counter tops in the kitchen. These are just a few examples, but the idea is that if you outfit your investment property with some of the popular amenities of the day, it is more likely that you'll find quality tenants who would like to stay in the home longer than just one year.
3. Be friendly
This may sound like a no-brainer, but often landlords and property managers can be tempted to keep the landlord/tenant relationship a bit too rigid. Of course, you want to keep the relationship professional, but there is nothing wrong with being friendly with your tenants. This can be as simple as asking them how they're doing, showing interest in a topic they've brought up, or discussing a shared interest. No, you don't want to cross the line of becoming friends with your tenants, but if they get to know you and vice versa, that only adds strength to the relationship and increases the chances that they'd like to keep you as their landlord or property manager.
4. Be proactive when it's lease renewal time
If you don't have other plans for your investment property and would like to renew your tenant's lease, let them know well ahead of time. If you bring up the subject of lease renewal about three months prior to lease end, this will allow both you and the tenant plenty of time to think about future plans and make decisions. This will also let them know that you're interested in keeping them around and that you value their business. Plus, if they have decided to leave, this gives landlords and property managers ample time to start advertising the property for new tenants.
5. Propose longer lease terms
If you've got a great tenant who has been renewing a lease for 12-month terms for the past several years, why not see if they'd like to sign a 24-month renewal? If both you and the tenant are satisfied with each other, negotiating a two-year contract may work in both of your favors. The property owner has a guaranteed good tenant for the next two years and the tenant has the comfort of knowing they have secured a rental rate and a place to live for the next two years.
6. Keep tenants in the loop
This one may not always be pleasant, but it is important - keep your tenants in the loop, even if what you may need to tell them isn't great news. If the owner of their rental is going to need to move back in, let them know as soon as possible so they have ample time to make plans. Or, if there is going to be road construction on their street, send them a quick email to let them know. If the HOA is going to be re-sodding the common areas in their neighborhood, be sure to pass that information along. Just like the rest of us, tenants don't like to be surprised by inconveniences and will be grateful to be "in the know" when it comes to what's happening around their home.
The best thing to remember here is, essentially, treat your tenants how you'd like to be treated if you were a renter. Be friendly, conscientious, and responsive. Doing these things will set you up to keep wonderful renters in your investment property for years to come.
Interested in learning more about tenant retention and how Sweyer Property Management can help you find and keep great tenants in your investment property? Reach out to our team of experts today.