Every multifamily property professional knows the importance of keeping quality tenants. Keeping good residents longer helps lower costs and keeps revenue flowing. Here’s a roundup of some of the top tenant retention strategies for 2020.
Understand Your Market/Tenant
A goal of 100%retention may not be realistic. Property professionals should take into consideration the condition of the property, its location, and how it’s positioned in the marketplace. On a yearly basis, you’ll need to analyze the property’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This market understanding will allow you to remain competitive. Each tenant will have a tenant profile. This can list basic information, including contact details the lease termination date, a history of tenancy, and the likelihood of renewal. It should also include a history of maintenance, repairs and any upgrades.
Start the Relationship Off Well
You never have a second chance to make a first impression! A move-in gift is a low-cost, high reward way to show appreciation and start the relationship off on the right foot. Some property managers opt for a welcome card and a $25 gift card for a movie or local coffees hop or restaurant. Other popular choices are a bottle of wine, or some craft beer, or a basket of snacks. Include branded key chains, travel mugs or totes where available.
Build a Community
Everyone wants a sense of belonging. It’s no surprise that residents will stay longer in a building where they have friends or feel a connection to their neighbours. Hosting community-building events that give tenants an opportunity to meet each other and chat in an inviting environment can go a very long way in keeping them happy and renewing their lease. Monthly movie nights, or an appreciation day, with a breakfast bar set up in the lobby or community room -- whatever event works best for your organization.
Do the Day-In, Day-Out Stuff Brilliantly
The move-in gifts and community events are excellent ways to build a relationship with your property, but nothing beats doing the basics right. It’sthe small day-to-day interactions that need to be seamless and good customer service experiences for the tenant. These include:
Prompt Communication: When you can respond to your tenants’ queries quickly, you can also have an impact on your bottom line. Ease of communication – e.g. enabling tenants to contact you via their preferred form of communication, be it email, text or phone – can ensure that your residents feel like their concerns are being taken care of. In today’s “always on” culture, slow responses are unacceptable.
Maintenance: One of the top reasons that people move is poor building maintenance. Your process for how a tenant can request a repair to how you let tenants know about routine building maintenance needs to professional and seamless. There’s no doubt that maintenance issues can be troublesome, but it’s how you handle it and communicate it that makes the difference between an understanding tenant and a tenant that is angry. It goes without saying that keeping common areas tidy and up to date as well as planned unit upgrades and good curb appeal will make any rent increases better received.
Easy Renewals: If tenant relations are good, and there are no issues with maintenance, the next best thing to help improve retention is to ensure that it is dead-simple to renew the lease. Electronic leases with the ability to sign digitally are a huge benefit to both the property firm and the tenant. It saves time and effort, and provides a convenient option for your renters.
Ask for Feedback
A tenant survey is a vital part of any tenant retention strategy. It helps define which aspects of the property and its management that are satisfactory to tenants and which areas need improvement. An annual survey provides an opportunity for honest feedback. Tenants are often more comfortable bringing up aspects of the building or its management in a survey. It’s important that your firm listen and have a plan to act on any widely mentioned concerns. Addressing smaller issues now before they become larger ones will help retain tenants. As well, when tenants do opt to move out, conduct an exit interview to obtain information that could help make changes and improvements.
The Bottom Line
Tenant retention is largely based on the tenant experience. Good experiences, higher retention. It can be that simple. Take into consideration these hard facts:
- 50% of tenants would rather use a specific building portal compared to a Facebook page
- 20% of manual service requests are missed or not completed properly
- 60% of tenants without a building portal feel neglected and disconnected
- 25% of tenants have a lingering work order
- 87% of millennials prefer to pay electronically
At Property Vista, our web-based software can go a long way towards improving your tenants’ experiences. Check out our pricing and schedule a demo.