The time and cost associated with turning over rental properties drives landlords to do everything they can to keep good tenants in place. If you have fantastic tenants residing in your rental property and you want to keep them there, you may wonder how? What is the secret to retaining long term renters? The answer lies in a variety of important tips. The following are the best ways to ensure you keep happy, responsible tenants.
#1: Ensuring Clear Communication
One of the most frustrating experiences for tenants is feeling like they cannot communicate clearly with you or, conversely, that you are not communicating clearly with them. The better your communication is the higher chance they will be satisfied with living in your rental property. What specifically needs to be communicated clearly? To start with, you should make the initial move-in process as smooth as possible for your tenants with crystal clear instructions about the future. Items to talk about upfront, and to clarify any questions on, include the following:
- Responsibilities: Go over important tasks, such as who is in charge of yard work? Are they expected to take care of bigger landscaping items like overgrown trees? Make it clear upfront exactly what they are responsible for around the property. This saves you from a disgruntled confrontation later when you ask why they haven’t done something and they look at you confused.
- Payment Process: Make sure they understand exactly when rent is due and what fees will be associated with late payments. This can help mitigate any confusion down the road.
- Miscellaneous: If you have any unique information about the property, make sure you communicate it clearly. The more comfortable you can make your tenants feel, the more likely they will view the property as home.
During this initial stage, make sure you are communicating clearly and professionally. You don’t need to buddy up to your tenants, in fact being too casual and lax can lead to worse communication, but you do need to be welcoming. You can retain a friendly demeanor while still putting forward a professional front. Part of ensuring clear communication is making certain they have the contact information they need. If they feel like they cannot get ahold of you when they need information, communication can quickly breakdown. This can lead to property changes happening without your consent or repairs going unattended longer than they should. Give them contact information for the following:
- A good way to reach you for non-emergencies (perhaps a couple methods, such as email and phone)
- The best way to contact you in case of an emergency (or the number of someone else if you do not handle emergencies
- Contact information for an HVAC company and plumber in case you are unreachable and a true emergency strikes in the night (think burst pipes flooding your home)
- Who they should contact for maintenance request
Having contact information will put your tenants at ease and make them feel like you will care about their comfort in your rental property. Over time, don’t neglect proper communication. When they reach out to you, be timely in your response. Even if you can’t grant them every request, respond to them. It is better to answer them with a “no” in a timely fashion than to leave them wondering and waiting.
#2: Taking Care Of Your Property
While much of the responsibility for the upkeep of your property will likely fall on your tenants, keep up with the maintenance that you are responsible for. If your tenants call you about a leaking roof or a broken appliance and it is your responsibility to maintain these items, get it taken care of right away. Put yourself in the shoes of your tenants. Would you want to live with a leaking roof? How much would you be frustrated by a lack of hot water? Make sure you have a great handyman or other contractor to handle repairs quickly. Putting off important requests will cost you a good relationship with responsible tenants.
#3: Make Their Lives (And Yours) Easier
From the initial rental application to the method you use to collect rent, make sure the process is simple for your tenants. Use a free online rental application and integrated tenant screening process. Enter the modern age of technology and give your tenants an easy way to pay their rent on time. If your tenant has to go their bank to get a check for rent and then mail it to you, this small inconvenience could count against their satisfaction over time. Give them a simple online rent payment option with clear instructions.
#4: Go Above And Beyond
Although as a landlord you need to set clear boundaries for yourself, such as keeping your relationship professional and protecting your investment, you can also keep happy, long term residents by going above and beyond the call of duty in certain cases. Every now and then, do something extra for your tenants. Whether you invest in a small upgrade for the home after they have lived there for over a year or you send them a card after finding out about the death of a loved one, small gestures can go a long way. By following these simple tips, you can work towards keeping good tenants for a long time to come. Happy landlording!
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