7 Tips for Holding On To Amazing Tenants
Previously I wrote a post called 6 Tips to Turn Bad Tenants Into Great Tenants.
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It generated a bit of commentary, because many real estate investors have been there.
You try to find good tenants, of course. But sometimes it just happens you end up with a terrible tenant and you have to try to do what you can to get them to comply or have enough of a case for eviction.
Then there are the great tenants. The amazing tenants that you never want to see leave because you have it so good with them living in your unit. You feel lucky to have them and you’re afraid to lose them, in the event that the new tenants don’t turn out to be the people you thought they were.
Well here are seven tips to help you hold on to those amazing tenants:
1. Be Responsive
It’s not hard to answer your phone when tenants calls. It’s easy to call a tenant back when they leave a message, and to at least leave a voicemail in kind if they don’t answer the phone. Whoever is the main contact point for tenants should make it a priority to at least acknowledge tenant comments, questions and complaints.
2. Address Problems Quickly
Most tenants aren’t allowed to make repairs or alterations themselves. Tenants certainly shouldn’t address issues with other tenants, such as noisy neighbors and such.
Tenants rely on building owners and managers to address their issues in a timely manner. Failing to do so can cause them frustration and resentment.
3. Use Quality Materials and Appliances
There’s no need to break the bank here, but if you use high quality materials and appliances to start with, your tenants will likely experience fewer issues in their units that require repairs. For example, do your research for durability and longevity when purchasing appliances for your units; or kicking in a bit more for the carpets and flooring so they don’t become threadbare and worn after a year of playing by three boisterous, energetic children.
4. Perform Regular Maintenance
Check those high-quality appliances regularly and perform maintenance on them, such as flushing out in-unit water heaters on a yearly basis. Take a quick glance around the unit to see if there are any little issues you can fix for them, like replacing broken cabinet handles or oiling squeaky closet doors. Maintenance extends past the units as well, including changing burnt-out light bulbs in common areas, mowing the lawn, keeping walkways clear of snow, cleaning rugs in entryways, etc.
5. Respect Tenant Privacy
Nobody likes a Nosey Nelly. Just because you own the property doesn’t mean you can barge in whenever you want. Call in advance and schedule a visit if you need to address some issues with your tenants. Only in the case of an emergency should you enter a tenant’s unit without permission or without notifying them first.
6. Be Friendly
Say “hi” when you see tenants and ask them how they’re doing. If you ever have to send them a correspondence or notice, include a note in your envelope to say “hi” and ask them to let you know if there’s anything in the unit that requires attention. Sometimes these simple gestures can open a floodgate to things you didn’t know about your tenants, units or grounds.
7. Restrain From Raising the Rent
There are a variety of reasons why you might want to raise the rent. Maybe the tenants signed up under a special rate that will expire after a year. Perhaps the market has changed and you're able to charge more for the same units. Maybe you really need to raise the rent to cover the cost of improvements. Really think about it and see if you can hold back or if there is another option before drafting a new lease.
Simply raising the rent could cause your tenants to look and see what is out there, even if they previously hadn’t been thinking about moving. All they have to do is find a comparable place that is a little cheaper, or the same higher rent but closer to where they work, and now instead of getting more rent from them, you could potentially have an empty unit.
Many tenants are good tenants, not all of them are amazing. When you find amazing tenants, you want to do what you can to keep them because when they leave you can’t be quite sure that you’re going to be as lucky next time. Do a good job screening potential tenants first, then once they move in, treat them as you would want to be treated if you were them. The tips in the list above are a good place to start.
What are your secrets to keeping good tenants? Share your ideas in the comments below.