September 28, 2017
Renter Relations Woes: How to Improve Retention Rates
As a service business with the aim of driving renter retention, property management is all about tenant relationships. If they’re good, residents will want to stick around when their leases are up; if not, they’ll start sizing up other rental properties.
No landlord wants to lose good tenants. From repainting and advertising, to the risk of a month (or more) of vacancy, the costs to replace them are significant.
Yet, in trying to entice tenants to renew their leases, many property management firms take the wrong approach. Too often, they fall back on incentives like gift cards or free WiFi in the laundry room.
Those perks are nice. But what residents really care about are the kinds of things that make (or break!) all relationships: communication, transparency, responsiveness and cleanliness. And let’s not forget money – yes, rental rates matter.
How NOT To Lose a Tenant in 12 Months
If too many of your tenant relationships turn out to be short-term commitments, you may have to face up to something: It’s not them, it’s you.
The good news is, you can always make improvements to strengthen resident satisfaction and build lasting relationships. Here are the main things you should focus on:
Communication. All people want to feel heard and understood; tenants are no exception. Let them know that you take their concerns seriously and that you’ll always respond promptly. If your resident is complaining about a noisy neighbour, or something that is impeding their quality of life, you need to react quickly. The best way to do this is to use a tenant portal to make communication easy and efficient. With an automatic system in place, you can quickly alert all residents to any scheduled maintenance work, settle any disputes and highlight positive developments on the property, like installing new features.
Upgrades. Part of taking care of your residents is taking great care of the property. And, no one likes to live in a place that looks a little tattered or dated. Take a good look at lighting, appliances, bathroom sinks, countertops and carpets. Do they need updating? By investing in these modern amenities can you attract more quality renters? Can you increase retention and profitability? By staying on top of upgrades before things deteriorate, you’ll increase the value of your property.
Maintenance. No matter how well you keep track of amenities, it’s inevitable that individual units will sometimes require special attention. Be sure to have an easy, reliable tool – like a tenant portal – to manage those issues so that renters can submit maintenance requests without a hitch. Also, make certain that you respond promptly to their requests and let residents know when their issue has been resolved.
Rent. Of course rent is always a concern for tenants. As a property manager, you need to keep rates fair to your business. But to keep good tenants around for the long-term, you should avoid raising rent if possible. When you do need to hike up the rate, make sure that it’s a fair market increase – and consider how easily you could replace the tenants if the current residents decide not to renew their lease as a result of the rise in rent.
Living Happily Ever After
Moving is a hassle for everyone. Most tenants want to stay put – they’re looking for reasons to make the landlord–renter relationship work, not fall apart.
So make it easy for them to stay. If you’re looking maximize communication and customer satisfaction with your tenants, we can help. To learn more, sign up for your free account today or give us a call.