How to Keep Renters Happy
A happy, qualified tenant is the mark of a great landlord. A tenant who is happy and feels at home will stay longer, keeping you free from the marketing and leasing efforts associated with a vacancy. Tenant turnover requires considerably more work than renewing a lease, and a happy tenant who feels respected will take care of your property like it was their own. Follow these suggestions to keep your renters feeling happy and respected.
First Things First
The most important piece to a solid professional relationship is a lease with all necessary documentation, so everyone is on the same page when it comes to expectations. Take care to make sure that your lease spells out everything expected from both parties. It is also important to accurately record all transactions including financials, complaints, and maintenance. By keeping all the information above-board, when a question arises, you can easily pull down the information and share it.
In the same spirit of transparency and organization, contacting your tenants by email is always strongly suggested. However, it is also a nice gesture to follow up with a phone call or even call before you send a notice out to let them know to look for it. This simple act can keep renters happy because they feel that the relationship is just a bit personal, while keeping consistent with a level of professionalism they can trust.
The Happiness Principle
The first sign of an unhappy renter? They move. You lose your income and have to start the process again to find qualified tenants. So, it works to your advantage to keep your renters happy. Long term relationships with renters are always the best. It is easier to keep the renters you have happy than it is to risk losing them and start the entire process over again. A key tip to low vacancy rates and a strong real estate investment portfolio, is doing what you can to renew the lease with the tenants you have.
Remember when pagers became cell phones? Now think of check books as pagers, and electronic payment as cell phones. In fact, many people use their mobile phones to pay online nowadays! So, offering your tenants a way to pay rent online may be more appreciated than you expect.
One of the easiest ways to keep renters happy is through open communication, so an ability to talk with your tenants is very important. Listening to their concerns and responding accordingly makes them aware that you are paying attention and can go a long way in keeping everyone happy. This is also beneficial as it keeps you updated on any property issues.
Build Trust In The Relationship
The effort to build a relationship based on trust largely lies in being available and responsive when they call or email, and being proactive with routine maintenance. If your property is a multi-unit building, routine maintenance may include cleaning common hallways once a quarter and replacing any burned-out light bulbs.
Respect Your Tenants
A key factor in any relationship is respect, and so it is true of a landlord/tenant relationship. Not only is it respectful but also required by law in some places that landlords and owners provide adequate notice when there is a need to enter the property. Asking what time works best for them goes a long way if you have flexibility on the appointment. If the goal is lease renewal, helping your tenants feel safe and comfortable in their home will support that end.
When you arrive on the property greet your tenants with a smile and friendly words. A sincere compliment on their decorating, upkeep, or even their new shoes can positively impact your relationship. To borrow a line from How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie, “be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.” Nuances can be everything to some people, so be aware of your communication and do your best to treat others the way you would like to be treated or better.
Repairs & Maintenance
All issues brought to your attention should receive an immediate acknowledgement and response that will determine your plan of action for your tenant. However, not every issue is an emergency that must be dealt with post-haste. For example a broken water pipe will count as an emergency but a loose fence plank may not require fixing right away. It can be helpful to keep your renter in the loop and let them know on which day the work will commence. If the work will be noisy or inconvenient for other tenants, provide them advanced notice prior to the work beginning.
There are some renters that may never say a word about damages. This will cause you problems down the road. Reward good tenants’ diligence with an acknowledgement and speedy repairs. You may even want to consider discussing response times with your renters when they sign the lease so they know what to expect. A reasonable time table of repairs can help to keep renters happy.
Maybe this goes without saying, but reliable and professional tradespeople will be invaluable to you as a property owner. From handywork to down-and-dirty repairs and installations, having a solid list of contacts on hand is huge. In the event you are out of town, share the list with your tenants in case of emergency.
Forgiveness And Understanding
Everyone runs into issues once in a while, and a little leniency can go far in business relationships. You may feel fine allowing a tenant—who is usually on time with rent—to run a little late on paying the rent, provided they have given you some notice. Sometimes, this simple gesture of understanding can make a world of difference in how you are perceived by your tenant. Forgiveness, as they say, is divine.
While there are some renters that will not be happy no matter what you do, most people are reasonable and if you are making the right effort they will respond in a positive manner.
The Truth About Success
Success of landlords can be traced back to their positive expectation set with their new residents at the beginning and throughout tenancy. If you think and speak highly of your property, their new residence, and maintain it accordingly, your tenants will be encouraged to treat your property like their own home.
A high turnover rate can stress you, your property and your finances. Doing what you can to keep your tenants happy may not always be convenient, but making sure the right thing gets done when it needs to can pay off in the long run.
Maybe you have reached this point and think, “Hmm… Pass.” Here at Lofty, we are prepared to free up your time and boost your profits. As expert professionals in Property Management, you can trust Lofty to deliver top-notch, personalized service to you and your tenants. Lofty sets the industry standard in Real Estate Concierge services, and we are eager to manage your rental properties and your tenant relationships, leaving you to enjoy your free time.
Whether you just need to find the right tenants for your investment property, or you want everything managed from top to bottom, live the life you deserve and let Lofty handle the rest.