Reducing tenant turnover should be every landlord’s goal. A successful rental business not only acquires qualified tenants, but also keeps them around. But the task of retaining your long-term tenants year after year may seem like wishful thinking.
Fortunately for landlords, there are many tools available to increase your chances of renewed leases. Tenant screening strategies, marketing tactics, your business management system, and even your communication style can influence tenants’ decisions to stay or leave.
Besides continuous revenue and security, using these tools to retain tenants also protects you from the costs of tenant turnover. Keeping a good tenant is almost always a better option than turning over the unit, which involves extensive cleaning, repairs, renovations, rental listing/advertising, and screening a new tenant.
Avoid these inconveniences by retaining your best tenants. With these six tips, you will have plenty of tools to convince tenants that your properties are worth their years.
1. Tenant Screening
You can get in the mindset for long-term rentals before you even have tenants. The tenant screening process is a good time to identify how you would define the ideal tenant and cater your search toward tenants who meet those standards.
Well-qualified renters often show signs that they’d be likely to renew their lease. For example, a previous long-term residency is a good indication of a long-term renter. On the other hand, a renter who frequently jumped residencies in the last few years might continue to do so.
2. Audience Targeting
Audience targeting is another way to obtain tenants with long-term potential.
The idea of this marketing strategy is that by concentrating your ads toward the renters you want (long-term renters), you will receive more applicants who are looking for long-term housing. This way, both you and your renters can get your needs met.
For instance, let’s say your city gets an influx of recent college grads each summer. If you’re looking for long-term renters, targeting these young people might not be the best plan. Young adults are likely to move frequently for jobs, families, and new opportunities. Instead, focus your advertising energy on other populations, such as seniors.
3. Tenant Communication
It can be hard to find time for chatting up tenants while you’re busy running a business. However, communication is essential for building strong relationships. Personal relationships influence tenants’ housing decisions and impact what they think of your properties as a whole.
Property management software for landlords is an excellent tool for streamlining tenant communication. The chat feature is designed to facilitate professional, but personal, messaging.
Communication also gives you a chance to reaffirm your reputation and image as a landlord. Be friendly and empathetic but also professional and organized. Whether you’re answering tenant questions and concerns via chat or talking in person, good communication is fundamental for long-term relationships and long-term leases.
4. Maintenance Management
Like it or not, maintenance plays a huge role in how tenants perceive your rental business. Maintenance headaches or unnecessary holdups make tenants feel frustrated and distrusting of your ability to solve problems. As utilities and amenities tend to impact tenants’ day-to-day lives, it’s crucial that you attend to these problems immediately.
One way to improve your maintenance management is to use multi-user management on your property management software. This feature lets you add your maintenance staff as users of the software so they can respond to tenant tickets directly.
Upgrading maintenance is one way to improve tenant satisfaction and encourage lease renewals.
Incentives are a more direct way to persuade tenants to renew their leases. If a tenant is on the fence about leaving, a carefully planned incentive might be all they need to agree to renew.
For example, you might offer a raffle, giveaway, or discounted rent for early renewals. The key is to offer incentives early, before renters begin searching for new housing. A small incentive is better than none. In fact, the gesture of rewarding current renters for their loyalty could be enough to convince a tenant that staying is worth it.
Let’s say you’re out of tactics. You’ve tried everything, but your tenants are still considering leaving. What can you do?
In many cases, it’s better to negotiate with tenants than let them go. Consider the costs (time, money, energy) of tenant turnover. If you do the math, you may find that the cost of negotiating a slightly cheaper rent is less expensive than the costs of turning over an entire unit. Don’t be afraid to negotiate with tenants to secure the long-term renters your business needs
Long-Term Renters for Long-Term Success
No matter how you secure them, long-term renters are indispensable for your business. By following these six tips, you are bound to find success in long-term renting.