As a landlord, you have probably put a decent amount of effort into attracting and vetting ideal tenants who will take care of the property, pay rent on time, and continue to renew their lease. Of course, the tenant-landlord relationship is a two-way street, so good tenants will find a new place to live if landlords aren’t acting responsibly. If you are having trouble retaining your best tenants, you could be making some mistakes. Here’s why good tenants stay and why they decide to move on.
Why Good Renters Stay
Since the real estate market largely dictates rent prices, there may not be much you can do about tenants who leave to find a better deal. It is important to do your market research before pricing your properties. You want to be in the same range as similar rentals in your area. Pricing rent too high will leave you with costly vacancies. At the same time, underpricing the property can make people weary and results in a slew of applications from less than desirable renters.
If you need to raise the rent, be sure to give plenty of notice. You don’t want to surprise them when they go to renew their lease with a huge spike in rental rates. Also, be fair about price increases. If you are raising the price by 10% or more, you are less likely to keep good tenants. A 2%-3% increase will be more palatable and demonstrate that you are trying to keep up with the market and not just price gouge tenants.
Any home should be a sanctuary where residents can enjoy some peace, quiet, and relative privacy. If your tenants are surrounded by unruly neighbors who are loud and intrusive, your tenants won’t hesitate to find a more serene setting.
Again, there may only be so much you can do when it comes to controlling neighbors. If you own the nearby rental properties, it is important to take action quickly to address rude or disrespectful tenants. You may even want to be proactive about maintaining a peaceful environment and include a reasonable “quiet time” clause in the lease agreement. Ignoring issues with neighbors and nearby tenants will not only cause you headaches in the short term, but it will also cause you to lose good tenants and have trouble finding new occupants.
It is important that you keep the lines of communication open and give the tenants a clear way to contact you and receive a prompt response. Listen to their complaints about the neighbors and take whatever actions you can to resolve the problem. If neighbors are renting from a different landlord, don’t be afraid to reach out to the landlord to find a solution. Renters who don’t feel safe in their home or neighborhood won’t hesitate to relocate when it is time to renew the lease.
Tenants are relying on you to quickly take action when something goes wrong at the house. If the air conditioner goes out in the middle of the summer, your tenants expect you to have a repair person in the home that same day. They shouldn’t have to wait days for repairs, especially when it comes to major appliances and systems within the home. The longer they have to wait for repairs, the more frustrated they will become and the more likely they will be to not renew their lease.
Even minor repairs, such as a torn screen or broken weather stripping, which may not feel like they require your immediate attention, should be taken care of as soon as possible. The better you respond to repair requests, the more confident they will feel about you as a landlord. It is also important to take the time to check in with tenants and periodically ask if anything needs to be fixed. They may not be reporting smaller problems that could cause significant damage over time.
You Kept Your Promise
Perhaps you made a deal that you wouldn’t raise the rent after the first year. If you decide you are going to raise rent anyway, you will have dissolved any trust that may have existed. They won’t feel safe and secure and you will lose a good tenant. Make sure that you aren’t overpromising and stick to any agreements that were made.
How to Attract Good Tenants
Attracting good tenants begins with providing a clean and safe place for them to live. From there you will want to make sure that you are competitively pricing the property. To help you navigate turnover and understand why you might not be attracting ideal tenants, here are some common reasons why good tenants leave and what you might be able to do about it.
Rent is Too High
Life events, such as losing a job or incurring a large medical bill, happen all the time and cause financial stress. A good tenant may be experiencing some hardships that are largely beyond their control. If at all possible, consider lowering rent. Even lowering rent by $50 a month may be enough to keep a good tenant around and prevent you from having to deal with all the costs associated with vacancies.
Not Enough Space
Perhaps the tenant has had a child or started working from home and needs a home office. If they are looking for more space and you have other available rentals that may fit the bill, be sure to present these options to your tenant. You should also talk to them about any upgrades you may be able to make that would make them stay. If storage is the issue, adding an outdoor shed could provide the perfect solution. In addition, you may find that an upgrade like new flooring convinces them to stick around a little bit longer and make the tight space work.
Work Commute is Too Long
If your rentals are located in an up-and-coming neighborhood, traffic congestion may have increased over the past year and resulted in longer commute times for tenants. This can eat up their valuable time and cost them more in gas money. Moving closer to their work could be the best solution for them.
Again, there isn’t a whole lot you can do about this situation. As always, be sure to offer them any of your other available rentals that may fit their requirements. If keeping the tenant is your main priority, you may have to lower rent to keep them around.
Creating a Better Landlord/Tenant Relationship Through Communication
Ultimately, retaining good tenants comes down to communication. You may not even know that there is a problem with the property or that they are experiencing life changes that may cause them to seek out new housing. That is why it is important to keep an eye on the property and create a good relationship with your tenants. You want to give them their privacy and autonomy, but you always want them to feel like they can come to you with any issues.
One way to improve communication is by using an online rent payment and management system. People are used to texting rather than calling and tend to be more proactive about communicating when you make it easy and convenient for them. With an online management system, tenants can make rent payments, report any problems, and receive prompt responses. These programs can be a time-saving device for you and help you keep good tenants in your rental properties.
When it comes to being a successful landlord, good tenants are key. Be sure to put effort into marketing your property so that you can attract strong applicants. Once you have secured good tenants, find ways to make sure that they want to renew their lease. There are many outside circumstances that you can’t do much about, but whenever you have the opportunity to take action don’t hesitate to do so. Slightly lowering rent or offering an upgrade will only benefit everyone in the long run. You can avoid having to deal with vacancies and continue a positive relationship with good tenants.
Should You Consider a Property Management Service?
Providing the level of service and communication needed to keep good tenants can be overwhelming and time consuming. If you find yourself spending too much time managing the day to day, it may be time to consider working with a property management company like Deca. We offer a professional approach to meet all your tenants needs so you can enjoy the freedom of a passive income. Contact us to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help by calling (314) 631-3306 or by filling out the form below.