15 Tips for Retaining the Best Tenants

Advice online abounds on how to attract and retain the best tenants. We've compiled the best advice from across the internet so you don't have to.

1. Keep Up On Maintenance

The number 1 reason tenants choose to leave is property managers slow response to maintenance requests. One bad maintenance experience can motivate a tenant to start shopping for other places to live.

2. Be Easy to Reach and Responsive

You may not want to make yourself easy to reach 24/7, but make sure communication is timely. The First Time Landlord reports that if a tenant learns that you won't respond to them, they give up hope and tell you nothing. You may think you have great tenants because they never contact you--it probably means there are festering problems you are blind to.

 

3. Keep Your Units Up To Date

Are your appliances on their last legs? Do they belong on a 90s sitcom set? Updating your appliances and fixtures to  modern standards will go a long way to keeping good tenants in place.

4. Offer Renewal Upgrades and Incentives

What's better than retaining a good tenant, increasing the rent, and upgrading your property's value all at the same time? Offer your tenants to select from a menu of upgrade items such as updating light fixtures, adding tile or new floors to a small space, or repainting the walls. Even offering a carpet cleaning will go a long way to fostering goodwill (and increase the carpet's lifespan).

5. Respond Quickly to Noise/Crime Complaints

If your tenant is complaining about noisy neighbors, those neighbors may be affecting far more people who aren't speaking up. Also, renters who do not respect their neighbors enough to be quiet late at night probably don't respect your property, either.

6. Give Tenants Advance Notice of Potential Problems

If you are replacing a roof or the city is redoing the streets, you should let your tenants know in advance. The mutual respect and considering will go a long way to forming a good relationship.

 Allow pets or not? Either way, make sure you're enforcing your rules

Allow pets or not? Either way, make sure you're enforcing your rules

7. Enforce Your Rules Fairly and Uniformly

If tenants have assigned parking, be vigilant about them staying in their assigned spaces. If you allow pets, make sure the tenants are cleaning up after them. If you have smoking or noise rules, enforce them. Good tenants want to live somewhere that feels safe and welcoming. Arbitrary or non-existent enforcement makes it clear no one is paying attention.

8. Build Flexible Leases

Make it easier for a tenant to move between units within a building or even within your portfolio than moving out. If it is cheaper and easier to move out, they will!

9. Have Routine Inspections

Tenants may put up with issues such as a slow drain and not complain to you. That doesn't mean they're happy. You can't rely only on tenant maintenance to know the state of your properties. Use both annual inspections and self-service inspection forms for your tenants.

10. Build a Personal Relationship

A welcome packet on move-in is a great start. So is a card or note for major holidays and birthdays. It creates a sense of community and makes tenants less likely to move-out.

 Who wouldn't want a discount at the local coffee shop?

Who wouldn't want a discount at the local coffee shop?

11. Negotiate Special Deals for your Tenants with Local Businesses

Hair salons, beauty spas, and local pizza delivery are great places to start. Many of them will jump at the opportunity to advertise to your tenants and you can give them a special 10-15% discount just for living at your units. 

12. Publish a Community Newsletter or Blog

This is about establishing a sense of community for your renters. Even 1 - 2 articles/quarter with community or city events will help your tenants feel more invested in living in your rental.

13. Sponsor Community Events and Invite Your Tenants

Sponsor BBQs, charity fundraisers like a casino night or a 5k. Use your newsletter to invite your tenants. The best outcome is your tenants will become friends with each other, which makes them significantly less likely to move out.

14. Set Up a Rewards System

What are the behaviors you want to encourage in your tenants? Clean patios? Paying rent on time? Referring other tenants? Build a points system and assign points to each behavior. Allow tenants to redeem these points for rewards such as minor upgrades or gift cards to local restaurants.

15. Be Proactive About Renewing

Give your tenants ample reminders that their lease is coming up for renewal so they are not surprised. See if you can lock in renewals early to avoid uncertainty about your turnovers.

Sources: TransUnion SmartMove, PropertyWare Blog, American Apartment Owners Association, PropertyMe Blog, Software Advice Blog, The Landlord Protection Agency, REIClub Blog, Appfolio Blog