As a property manager you’ll know that tenant turnover is extremely expensive, due to costs relating to administration, marketing, application processing, cleaning and repairs. And all this is before you even consider that every day the property sits vacant, your owner loses rental income.
Great tenants, therefore, are like gold. Find one and your job as a property manager becomes far easier – not only will you see less turnover, you’ll also have fewer issues, your owner’s revenue will be maximised, and you’ll enjoy that invaluable feeling of having a good relationship with your tenant.
But as with any valuable and finite resource, such tenants aren’t easy to find, and when you do secure one you’ll need to put the effort in to retain them. The real question, then, is how?
The answer, it turns out, is surprisingly simple. To improve retention, you must improve tenant relations. And there are five no-fuss things that top property managers do to ensure that their best tenants hang around for the long term.
1. Be proactive
Not reactive. You want to show your tenants that they are a priority, not an afterthought, from day one. This is an incredibly simple thing to do – just picking up the phone and asking “how are things going?” shows that you are thinking of the tenant and that you’re ready to help should an issue arise.
There are other ways to be proactive too. One of the most appreciated is leaving a tenant welcome basket for new arrivals, a seemingly extravagant – but in reality rather simple – demonstration of how much you value the new resident.
2. Remember important dates
You’ll have asked for their birth date during the application process, but during the ‘getting to know you’ phase of the tenant-property manager relationship, be sure to note other important dates too, such as anniversaries, rental milestones, upcoming holidays and anything else of significance, logging everything in your work calendar.
When a calendar notification pops up, send the tenant a message or give them a call. If you’re due to check in with them, look at upcoming dates and mention anything relevant in conversation.
“You’re heading to Greece soon aren’t you? Have some tzatziki for me!”
How good is it when your accountant, your barista or your hotel receptionist remembers these things about you? You can, and most certainly should, do the exact same thing for your tenants.
3. Resolve maintenance issues promptly
A tap starts to leak. The hot water system fails. As a tenant, there’s nothing more frustrating in these situations than an unresponsive property manager.
On the flipside, there’s nothing more relieving than getting issues fixed in a quick and painless way. Resolving maintenance issues quickly and transparently will not only improve tenant relations, it will ensure that small problems with the property don’t turn into big ones.
4. Keep channels of communication open
While it’s important to be proactive on your end, it is every bit as important that you grant tenants the opportunity to be proactive on theirs, by providing open channels of communication. And while handing over your contact details is a step in the right direction, there’s far more that you can do to help your tenants find the information they want, when they want it.
As with all modern day problems, the answer lies in technology. PropertyMe’s Tenant Access feature, for example, allows tenants to view the property details and rental agreement at their convenience, as well as log maintenance requests and directly message you with any questions or concerns.
5. Ask for feedback
Building a relationship is vital if you are to retain great tenants, but you’ll only be able to build it if you show a desire to be the best property manager you can possibly be – the type that gets to know their tenants on a more personal level, and tries to improve as a professional every day. Feedback is key to this end.
While you can use a tool like Google Forms to survey your tenants, the most effective way is to send a more direct message asking whether they’re happy with your service, and whether there are any areas in which you can improve. If they’re perfectly happy, terrific. If you get some constructive criticism, even better! Use it to become a truly outstanding property management professional.
Great tenants are just like the rest of us – they appreciate being remembered, being heard and being attended to. After all, if you want to keep the best, you need to be the best.