Finding a good tenant is a task easier said than done. Considering it’s unlikely you will ever be short of applicants, screening and vetting tenants can prove a time-intensive job, so it is extremely vital that when you do find that dream tenant, you have measures in place to ensure that they stay. And while they may occasionally expect to be priority number one when something does go wrong, going out of your way to retain great tenants is a challenge that is well worthwhile. Here are five ways to retain great tenants:
1. Establish the Relationship
When a tenant first moves in, it’s essential to establish a good relationship from the start. Like any great relationship, trust and communication ensure things tick along smoothly, while also allowing for certain leniencies from time-to-time. They’ll be more patient and accepting if they feel like you do the right thing the majority of the time, and vice-versa. They might not be someone you would usually get along with but if you put in the effort and get to know them, it will pay off.
Thoughtful gestures like a welcome hamper will rarely do harm, while organising a time to visit in the first month (if they are obliging) helps to establish rapport, while also offering a chance to see how the property is doing.
2. Communication is Key
From here, as the tenancy begins to settle and the honeymoon period is over, it’s imperative that you, as a property manager, are responsive and organised. The most common complaint from tenants is that issues in the property weren't taken care of in a timely manner. Responding to tenants as soon as possible can help to alleviate any stress, while continual updates, such as the automated messages that come from PropertyMe notifying when a job has been assigned to a tradesperson and how to contact them, will go a long way toward making the tenant feel that they are cared for and important to the property manager.
And in the same way that you should always be responsive, it goes a long way when property managers are proactive with communications. Using the automation features within PropertyMe to notify tenants with all the details of the inspection you just booked, or to immediately send rent receipts, are small actions that do not demand any extra time from your day, yet ensure tenants don’t ever feel left out of the loop and mean they don't feel the need to chase you up.
While tenants may not own the property, good tenants who stay long-term will see it as their home, which makes maintenance and upkeep of the property all the more worthwhile. While PropertyMe's owner portal will give landlords immediate access to inspection reports, photos, and general recommendations from you, it can also prove beneficial to occasionally check in with the tenant to see if they have any issues with the property before passing on feedback to the owner. It could be a small repair, such as a fresh lick of paint, but that may help you retain a great tenant in the long run.
3. Remain Humane
The best thing you can do to retain your tenant is to recognise them as the great tenant that they are. To make them feel appreciated, you can go the extra mile and send them as little as a card at Christmas or on their birthdays.
Lastly don't forget that your tenant is not just your method of income; they are human, and a great tenancy will be built on a mutual respect between all parties. If they are late on rent once or twice a year, don't crack the whip immediately. Recognise that they have been great tenants the majority of the time, and give them a gentle nudge in the right direction as necessary. It beats someone who continually pays rent on time, yet causes you daily headaches in other areas such as making complaints or breaking rules.
4. Use a Rewards System
If your landlord has a sizeable number of tenants, you can consider using a rewards system to encourage good behaviour and timely rent payments. For example, if the tenant pays rent on time, they receive 200 points. These points may be redeemable for small rewards like grocery store gift cards, household items and the like. This will go a long way towards keeping your tenants in line and your landlords and tenants will only thank you for it!
5. Offer an Incentive for Renewal
Retaining great tenants is far less costly than finding new ones. So when you contact your tenant prior to their lease expiry to find out what their plans are, you can offer an incentive for renewal if they’re on the fence.
This can come in the form of financial incentives, gift vouchers, covered parking or household goods and appliances to make them feel more settled into their homes. These small incentives not only help you retain great tenants but also help you strengthen your relationship with them.
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