Landlords: Keeping the Tenants Happy

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Many small apartment building owners make the mistake of not treating their tenants as valued clients.  It’s easy to do considering the fact that many tenants can really cause headaches with late rent payments, noise complaints and other day to day issues that can be a thorn in the side of a small apartment building owner.  Many small apartment building owners also make the mistake of taking it personally when a tenant is late paying his or her rent.

The apartment building owner may be a real clinical and calculating mathematician when analyzing the return on investment for their property but when it comes to dealing with the tenants they may take some things personally and get heated under the collar.  This is bad for business.  Professional multi-family owners and managers have learned this the hard way.

In most areas of the country tenants will have a choice of where they want to live and they have chosen to live where they are for one or more reasons.  Maybe they are living in that complex because it is close to work or the supermarket or the shopping mall.  Maybe they like the fact that the apartment building is located on a nice residential street.  Maybe they like the playground for their kids.  Whatever the reason that the tenant has for living at a particular property is known as his “reason for renting”.  However, if the “reason for renting” is countered by something equally or more negative, such as unresponsive maintenance technicians or rude and unhelpful office staff then the tenant will begin to look at other properties to live in when the lease expires.  In other words if the problems and negatives experienced by the tenant are bad enough they will become his or her “reason for leaving”.  If the apartment building owner or manager gives too many “reasons for leaving” to too many tenants it will have a costly impact on the net operating income.

The cost to replace a lost tenants over time can far outweigh the extra efforts and costs associated with maintaining a strong base of perpetual tenants with good management practices.  Going a few steps above and beyond will ensure that your tenants have a positive renting experience. 

A few things that a the owner could do to create a better living experience for his clients/tenants could be the the following:

1)  Create a community blog online where other residents could get to know each other.

2)  Create a direct deposit through your financial institution to make it easier for tenants to pay the rent.

3)  Throw a Halloween party.  Throw a pizza party.

4)  Give incentives to pay rent on time. For example, you could offer a $75.00 gift certificate to a nice restaurant for the tenants who pay their rent on time all year.

5)  If your community is large enough you can create an online newsletter.

6)  Try to arrange a group discount for all renters at your complex for car washes.  You will be surprised how many business will offer a group discount if you just ask.

As you can see, with just a little bit of creativity you can provide a tenant living experience that will foster many “reasons for renting” and fewer “reasons for leaving”.  In fact, most of the suggestions above can be implemented for little or no cost.   If you even retain just a slightly larger tenant base using the above methods you will be amazed by the return on investment.

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  1. Have you thought of holding seminars for landlords? I seriously think you have a gift. If I had some of this information a year ago, maybe I wouldn’t have thrown in the landlord towel and sold the place!

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