Losing tenants can be expensive. You’re losing the rental amount, but you’re also spending money on advertising and labor intensive tasks to turn over the apartment. Renter retention is vital for your business, and keeping tenants happy made them stay in their units for years. There are unique challenges that go along with owning an apartment building whether it’s one unit or a large rental property. In some cases, it’s easier to have procedures in place when you’re overseeing more than one unit. It becomes your job instead of being a sideline bit of income in addition to your regular employment.
10 Ways to Keep Tenants Happy
1. Welcoming Them to the Neighborhood
You should be aiming to keep these tenants long-term. Once you’ve vetted them properly, and know they are right for your property, you’ll want to keep tenants happy. That begins from the moment they sign the lease. Have a welcome packet handy that provides information about the local neighborhood as well as some events and locations of laundry services or good restaurants. The packet should include how to call for repairs and the best time to reach you.
2. Clear Agreements Between Tenant and Landlord
There should be clear agreements between the landlord and tenant so they know what’s expected. When there’s paperwork that details the tenant’s responsibilities, there are clear boundaries and expectations. For example, if the tenant should bring out their own barrels on trash day, include that in the welcome packet and agreements. If they’re expected to pay utilities, clean the yard or pay for certain repairs, that should be detailed. It’ll save hassles in the future when you can refer to the agreement.
3. Be Professional in Your Interactions
The tenant you chose based on the interview and background checks is one that is likely respectful and responsible. You want to be the same in return. When everyone is respectful and professional in their interactions, the process is much smoother. That might mean remaining polite yet distant. You don’t want to be too friendly with your tenants. It’s a business arrangement and should stay that way at all times.
4. Respect Your Tenant’s Privacy
Tenants have a right to expect a reasonable amount of privacy. When you need to make repairs or do inspections, they should have advanced notice unless there’s an emergency. The welcome packet should talk about what will be done in the matter of emergency repairs where the landlord has to enter the unit immediately. You should never enter the unit without the tenant’s knowledge.
5. Maintenance and Repairs in a Timely Manner
When you have a procedure for taking on routine maintenance and repairs, the apartment itself, as well as the common areas and the building, will stay in good repair. This is vital for keeping the tenant happy. Landlords who have pride in their property will have happy tenants with respect for the property too.
6. Improvements and Upgrades Regularly
Along with the proper repairs and maintenance, the landlord should be updating and making small improvements continually to the property. For example, a porch might be upgraded with more aesthetically pleasing railings leading up the stairs to the porch.
7. Open Communications
Let the tenant know when they can expect you to respond to phone calls. Leave them with an emergency number for after hour concerns like broken pipes or clogged toilets. Always respond to them in a timely manner. Answer your phone during business hours or call them back within 24 hours for non-emergencies. Your phone policy will depend on your work hours, but stick to what you’ve promised the tenant to keep them happy.
8. Tokens of Appreciation
When your tenants pay on time on a regular basis, there’s no reason you can’t thank them for being a great tenant. A holiday card or a small token of appreciation once a month wouldn’t be out of line for great tenants. You want to keep them around for a long time. You might even consider giving them a gift card after 6 months of early payments. You’ll need to decide the best gift or token that your renters will like.
9. Incentives to Help Fill Vacancies
After losing a tenant, you might turn to your other good tenants to offer incentives for them to recommend friends. When they have friends in the building, they’re less likely to leave too. Good tenants are normally responsible tenants with good, responsible friends. When they like and respect you as a landlord, they will only recommend their very best, responsible friends.
10. Deal with Bad Tenants Immediately
Respecting your tenants means respecting the fact that they want a pleasant, safe and quiet place to live. They don’t want to deal with bad neighbors ruining their peaceful enjoyment of their apartment. Loud tenants who are a danger can make the entire building feel like they’re a terrible nuisance. As a landlord, you have to deal with these tenants immediately. Keeping your tenants happy depends on you showing you care.
If this all sounds hard for you to deal with as a landlord, it couldn’t hurt to hire a St. George property management company to do this work for you. They have procedures in place that will help retain happy tenants in your units without you having to worry about making timely repairs or dealing with bad tenants disrupting the rest.