Apartment turnover is a real problem for rental property managers. According to the National Apartment Association, there was a 46.8% turnover rate for apartments in 2017. While that may seem high, it’s actually a record low.
When a tenant leaves, there is more to worry about than just the loss of rent income. Rental turnover brings a range of different expenses for the property owner. You have to spend time and money preparing the apartment for the next tenant and you also have the costs associated with finding new tenants. You also have operating expenses that won’t go on hold while you wait for a new renter.
If you want to avoid these costs and keep reliable renters in your apartments, you have to work on strategies for tenant retention. Accepting things like international renters coverage can a good place to start if renters are coming from abroad. This, and other strategies, might require a little time and money, but when compared to the costs associated with high turnover rates, it is a good investment. Here are a few additional tips for keeping good tenants living in your rental units.
Be a Good Landlord
If you want to keep good tenants, you have to be a good landlord. Renters are not going to be happy if it seems like you’re not keeping your end of the deal or meeting your obligations. When they feel unsatisfied with your performance as a landlord, tenants will find a way to leave as soon as possible.
Start by being courteous and respectful. People do not want to have to deal with a landlord that has a bad attitude. You also want to be responsive when a tenant has issues and make sure they know they can come to you whenever a problem with the unit arises.
"The successful landlord must make it easy for tenants to pay their rent, sign leases and send maintenance requests from their phones," said Zach Aarons, Co-Founder of MetaProp. "People don’t want to write checks anymore."
Furthermore, if you tell a renter you are going to do something, keep your word.
Keep Up With the Maintenance
No one wants to live in home that’s in a state of disrepair. If a tenant has unaddressed maintenance issues or they have a hard time getting you to respond to maintenance requests, there is a good chance they are going to be looking to move when the lease is up.
Instead of waiting for your renters to contact you with maintenance issues, schedule regular inspections and take care of issues before they become an inconvenience to the tenant. This will not only help to keep your renters happy, but will also act as a measure to prevent expensive repairs in the future.
Learn About What Tenants Want
If you want to keep people in the apartments, you need to know what renters want. Some minor renovations can go a long way toward keeping renters happy.
"In attempting to attract and retain the modern tenant, landlords must provide the renter with amenities within and beyond the four walls of the building," said Zach Aarons, Co-Founder of MetaProp. "The elusive millennial tenant wants convenience above all else."
It’s a good idea to investigate what your renters want and find out what renters on the current market look for when they go apartment hunting. Beyond just being a good measure for keeping your current tenants, having the features people look for can help you find new tenants faster when the apartments do turnover.
Sign Longer Leases
One way to keep your good tenants is to try to sign them to longer leases. If the current term of the lease is one year, offer a discount to sign a multi-year lease. This might come with a slight reduction of the rental income on that apartment, but it keeps the renter in place and it helps you avoid the turnover costs. As long as you make enough rental income, it is worth offering discounts to keep a reliable paying tenant in place.
Talk About Renewals Early
If you have some tenants that might be thinking about leaving, you could get ahead of the issue by talking about a renewal early. Contact the occupant when the lease has three months left to find out whether they are planning to renew. If their answer is no, you can ask them if there is anything you can do to keep them in the apartment. If it is a small issue, you might be able to work things out and avoid the hassle and the costs that come with apartment turnover.
You might even want consider offering incentives to tenants that choose to renew the lease. If they have been living there for a while, for example, you could offer to have the carpets cleaned or repaint the apartment. If they have a problem with a rent increase, you could possibly negotiate a deal to keep the rent at the current level. This is why you want to have a good relationship with your apartment’s occupants. These conversations are only possible when your tenants feel like they can trust and talk to you.
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