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July 24th, 2015 by Marco Santarelli
Good tenants are hard to find. Add to that the cost of advertising for new tenants, the cost of cleaning and restoring the unit, and the loss in rental income during the vacancy, you want to make sure that your best tenants don’t move out any time soon. Here are a few tips to keep your tenants happy and ensure that they stay with you as long as possible.
Be a Good Landlord
Remember the saying “Give respect, take respect”? In order to retain your good tenants, you first have to become a good landlord.
Communication is vital to any relationship, including that of the tenant and the landlord. Don’t be a landlord who shows up only to collect the rent and remains unapproachable the rest of the time. Be regular and prompt when it comes to the repair and upkeep of the property. Don’t ignore his calls or wait for problems to worsen before taking action. Don’t show up unannounced for what you would consider a “surprise” check on your property. It may be your house, but it is your tenant’s home now. Respect their privacy.
Also make sure that your employees also know how to treat clients well. I’ve known instances of tenants moving out over because of rude office staff or poor management.
Give Incentives for Being Good
Give your tenants incentives for being good. For example, you can introduce a point system for paying monthly rentals on time, which they can then redeem in terms of a rent discount, appliance upgrade or a free cleaning service. Expert investors also advise keeping rents at par or slightly below the market rate at the time of lease renewal to retain your good tenants.
Consider Accepting Some of the Tenant’s Requests
Consider allowing them to personalize the unit a little bit – as long as it is reasonable and within limits. So if they ask for permission to paint the bedroom a different color or hang photos on the dining room wall, don’t reject the request outright. If you still feel it’s not possible, explain to them why you think so or try working out a compromise where both parties are happy.
Make Them Feel Special
Treat your tenants as your “customers”. Make them feel special by sending them a small token or gift on birthdays and anniversaries. It does not have to be anything extravagant – a couple of movie tickets or a $50 gift card to a nearby supermarket is good enough. It does not burn a hole in your pocket, and at the same time, creates goodwill for you.
Find Out What Went Wrong
If your tenants are still set on moving, find out what went wrong in the first place. Maybe your tenants are moving because they want a unit with a washer/dryer or a better security system. If it is something you can fix, then do it. If it is something that is going to add value to your home, then it is going to help you too! In any case, a tenant exit interview can help you determine if your tenant had any issue with the property and how you can avoid such complaints in the future.
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Guest Post: Kurt Jacobson is a snowboarding enthusiast with a background in real estate. Having moved 11 times in the past nine years, he thrives on helping others learn from his experiences. When he’s not out shredding the mountain, he writes about all things rental related for the website RentFinder.
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