How to Keep Good Tenants
by Ice Artificio
Mar 17, 2017
The screening process for tenants can be arduous and time consuming. From inquiries, to viewings (possibly multiple viewings), contract negotiations, signing, and finally moving in. With all this time consumed, it is ideal to find good, responsible tenants who take care of the unit, pay on time, and get along with neighbors and your condo’s staff instead of one-time lease tenants who will take time moving in and out, and having to go through the screening process again.
Good tenants are time-savers and lets you have a steady revenue stream so you can focus more of your energies in building your brand and finding occupants for other vacancies, especially short-term ones.
So how do you keep the dream tenant? It’s simple: be a good lessor.
Help your tenants get more comfortable and relaxed in their new dwelling place. Here are a few ideas on how to help make your tenants feel more at home:
Be Transparent and Communicable
Make yourself available to questions and respond to queries as soon as you can whether they are of positive or negative nature. Let them know your working hours when you are available to take their call or where they can email or send you a message during off hours. Follow up and give updates on their questions or requests. Doing so will let your tenants know you are responsible and that they are in good hands.
Make Emergency Repairs Accessible and Affordable
Nobody wants a broken pipe in the middle of the night or any accident involving some damage to your unit. Introduce your tenants to your trusty repairman who can work swiftly and charges responsibly. We’ve seen some places where the rates are a little off the charts and these scare off tenants from complaining or saying that something is wrong. You do not want to impose this kind of overpriced service because it can lead to tenants trying to hire someone cheaper or DIY-ing the issue which can lead to subpar work or worse- more damages.
Proactive Preventive Maintenance
Not waiting for an old pipe to burst, having a bulb ready when the current one lapses are not just examples of great customer service for the tenant but is a good way to keep your unit in good shape. This will also allow you to see possible problems that you can fix now to avoid incurring bigger expenses later. Keep an eye on the remaining life expectancy of appliances and replace them before they breakdown. Have your regular maintenance visits from your repairman to assess your units’ condition and overall health.
Keep Your Amenities in Top Shape
A frequently dirty pool, even to a tenant who seldom uses it is a major turn off. Part of the reason they pick your rental place is because they can want it to be a reflection of their lifestyle and taste. This way they can have pride in saying “I live there, it’s amazing” instead of “the elevator is always broken” or “we are always out of water”. Regularly clean walkways, trim overgrown trees and grass in your establishment, and if you are to cut water supply or have the lifts unavailable, informing your tenants beforehand makes a lot of difference and affords you a lot more patience and understanding from tenants than if they were caught by surprise.
Raise Rent Reasonably
Every year, the lessor may or may not increase rent on their properties. Raise it too high, and a good tenant might bolt for the next unit that fits their budget. Talk to your tenants when you know they are nearing their end of contract and discuss their plans. Persuade good tenants to stay by giving them a good deal and sweeten the pot with household upgrades like repainting, window treatments, or change of furniture for some units. Or if they choose to leave, offer to help with their moving out plan and schedule to ensure a swift transition, making the unit available ASAP for another tenant.
Incentivize Good Behavior
Encourage responsible tenants’ behavior by rewarding it. If you have a penalty for late fees, recognize punctual tenants who make sure their rent is paid even before it is due. They can get points or small rewards like household items, movie passes, or other small tokens that will hopefully inspire everyone to settle their dues on time. You can also referral bonuses for tenants who refer new renters who pass your screening and eventually sign an annual or a short-term lease.
Say Thank You
The great thing about the “good tenant” is that they’re great for business. Make them feel special the same way you would treat good clients that you want to retain. A small token to thank their loyalty goes a long way. I’ve once had a landlord who sends a small basket of treats for the holidays and a coupon for coffee to their long-time tenants, his way of saying thank you for choosing him throughout the years.
Let the Bad Ones Go
This is never an easy task. A good lessor knows when to cut their losses and evict a bad tenant. Being a horrible tenant is not limited to not paying the rent on time. Noisy, and rowdy tenants can dissuade the good ones to leave. If a tenant is always causing a ruckus, does not play by the rules, and exhibits sketchy behavior consistently, it is your job as a lessor to take action and evict tenants that are causing harm to your property.
There are many available places to rent along the metro, each one with their own perk, privilege, discount or special amenities. Be a cut above the rest by providing excellent customer service where your tenants feel a little bit more comfortable and will want to stay longer. As Howard Behar brilliantly named his book, “It’s Not About the Coffee” or in this case, the unit.
Of course, there will be times where tenants will eventually leave whether it’s because of their jobs, or investing in their own home. Leaving a good impression makes you their go-to person where they can refer loved ones and reliable friends who are looking for a new place to live that they can trust.
Do you have any tips we might have missed? Share them in the comments section below!