While you should always treat your property like a business, keeping tenants in the long-term is really about building trustful relationships.
Your property is an income-earning asset, and you have an investment strategy you need to stick to. That being said, never lose sight of the fact that the tenants who call your rental their home are an important asset as well.
A happy tenant is a long-lasting tenant - one more inclined to renew their lease. Which is a win for you since you won’t have to scramble to fill your property with new renters.
Happy tenants mean a steady flow of rental income for a long time and prevent vacancies. So, how do you keep tenants happy then?
Here’s 5 key areas to focus on in order to ensure your tenants are satisfied and keen to stay in the long run.
1. Stay on top of maintenance and be proactive
No one likes a leaky roof or a loose kitchen tap. Least of all tenants who are paying the rent with the expectation that these things will be taken care of ASAP. So, when it comes to the question of ‘How to keep tenants happy?’ – staying on top of repairs is a must.
Being punctual with property maintenance requests is a sure-fire way to show your tenants you care, and it can truly make or break a tenant-landlord relationship.
But promptly responding to maintenance requests is only half the battle. You need to be proactive. This means conducting regular inspections to ensure everything is in tip-top shape!
Tenants only really care about two things: paying their rent and getting their maintenance requests sorted in a reasonable time frame. That's why always staying on top of repairs and issues with the rental should be a top priority.
The goal with proactive maintenance is to spot issues before they become a problem. So when you eventually do have to turn over your rental, you’ll save both time and money.
Make sure that your property manager conducts routine inspections, and that they’re making suggestions for how you can solve maintenance issues pre-emptively.
2. Be responsive when your tenant reaches out
Part of keeping tenants happy is just as simple as being courteous and communicative.
Let your tenants know how they can contact you, or your property manager, if they need to. And when they do shoot you a query or a request, make it your business to respond in a timely and respectful manner.
Did you know most tenants expect a response in under 2 hours?
This doesn’t mean that you must drop everything you’re doing to get a sparky to fix a busted light. If it’s not an urgent matter, a simple text, call or email of acknowledgement – that you’ll start taking steps to address it – will suffice. They just want to know that they're being heard and that something is being done.
We know how important communication is, so at :Different we keep communication simple with our Owner App and Tenant App. Emails, tickets and messages are all in one place, and 94% of property maintenance requests are processed within 12 hours.
3. Equip your rental property with the features tenants want
It’s not enough just to offer up your property and assume that renters will take to it like flies to honey.
If you want to find and keep good tenants, you’ve got to make your rental feel like a home.
The latest research shows that tenants prefer properties with:
- Hardwood flooring
- Central air conditioning
- Stainless steel appliances
- Bathroom upgrades
- Kitchen backsplash
- Updated cabinet hardware
Granted, these upgrades do come with some upfront costs but can warrant an increase in rental yield. Plus, when you think about the money you can lose from a vacancy, they're a very worthwhile investment.
In the end, this is how you get tenants faster and make them stay, so trust us when we say that eliminating those vacancies will make the rental renovations and improvements pay for themselves!
4. Always be one step ahead with lease renewals
Early bird gets the tenant! An important step to keeping your tenants in the long-term is to be ahead of the curve on lease renewals, and consider giving some incentives.
By giving your tenants ample time to think about whether they want to leave or stay you'll show them that you care about their interests with the added bonus that you'll know if you need a replacement to fill your rental.
The issue is that with renewals can often come rental increases. Something that never fails to make the hair stand on the back of a tenant’s neck.
That’s why it’s important to work with a real estate expert to figure out the appropriate rent increase (if any).
Alternatively, you may also consider asking the tenant to sign a longer-term lease at a reduced rate.
If they renew every six months, extend the lease to a year. If they renew yearly, consider extending the lease to two years at a reduced rate.
While you might lose out on profit from an increased rent, it can be worth it to keep a reliable, long-lasting tenant.
If the lease renewal doesn't come through, you'll know that a vacancy is coming, and you get the chance to find a new tenant with good notice.
5. Respect their privacy
Unless your tenant has a problem, they likely don’t want to hear from you. So, you should respect that as best you can.
It shouldn’t be that tenants keep complaining that you’re walking in on them week-to-week. There are tenancy laws that entitle renters to “reasonable peace, comfort and privacy”.
Of course, there will come times where you’ll need to gain access to the property for one reason or another. Just know that there are rules in place for how much notice you should give and how often you can enter the premises.
Purpose for visit
How often can you do it?
How much notice should you give?
Max 4 times per 12 months
7 days written notice
For a more complete list of how often you can access the property and for what reason, you can hop on over to our breakdown of tenants' rights and responsibilities.
Keeping your tenants happy can have a lasting financial impact on you and your investment property. Small investments such as proactive maintenance and rental renovations could mean the difference between a short-term and long-term lease.
These are important things to consider when weighing out the risk of having your property sit untenanted for an unknown period of time.
At :Different, tenant happiness is just as important as owner happiness. Our technology means owners and tenants have 24/7 access to the information they need and maintenance requests are simpler and streamlined, all in one place.
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