Landlording & Rental Properties

5 Ways Landlords Can Achieve Better Tenant Stability

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5 Ways Landlords Can Achieve Better Tenant Stability

Tenants are the lifeblood of any landlord.

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Therefore, attracting and keeping quality tenants is one of the major keys to a landlord’s success. Attracting and keeping quality tenants also leads to what I call tenant stability, and it should be a goal for all landlords.

Tenant stability is just what it sound like: tenants who remain in your properties for a few years. Tenant stability is a great thing. It provides us landlords some assurance that we are not going to have to constantly re-advertise, repair and re-rent our properties, and it greatly improves our cash flow.

What can landlords do to achieve tenant stability? Several things come to mind.

5 Ways Landlords Can Achieve Tenant Stability

1. Instate a good screening process.

Tenant stability begins with your screening process.

I am sure that most of you will screen your applicant’s credit and criminal history. But do you also look at how often they move? Are they moving year after year or generally staying in place? If they move often, ask why. If no good reason for moving is provided other than “they like to move,” it should be a red flag to you.

Related: 3 Tried & True Ways to Keep a Tenant Staying & Paying

After all, why go through the time and trouble of renting to them when their history shows they are very likely to move again, leaving you in the same place you are now?


2. Make sure your lease encourages stability.

Tenant stability should also be built into your lease. Unless you are in the vacation rental or student housing business, try to tie your tenants down for at least a year, maybe two. Short term leases are generally a no-no, but on the other land, anything longer than two years in a residential property may deny you some flexibility later on.

3. Establish tenant stability at your lease signing.

Tenant stability also begins during your lease signing process. Whenever you sign a lease with a new tenant, make sure you set up a meeting in a quiet location where all the provisions and terms of the lease can be thoroughly discussed. Use some of this time to promote tenant stability.

First, be sure to explain that a lease is a legally binding contract. As such, the tenant is legally bound for the full amount of the lease. For example, if the rent is $1,000 per month over a one year period, explain that they will still owe the full $12,000 amount even if they decide to move before the term of the lease is over. Point out that you can take them to court and get a judgment for the full amount. And while you may not collect it all, you will at the very least put a major ding on their credit.

Secondly, have provisions in your lease that hurt them financially if they choose to break the lease. You can, for example, charge a lease breakage fee of one month's rent. Furthermore, you could add a provision that the tenant agrees to surrender their security deposit (check with your local laws here to be sure you can do such a thing). The goal here is not to be mean, but to achieve some stability by getting the tenant to think long and hard before they decide to break their contract with you.

Of course, if there is some sort of hardship, or if the need to break the lease is not of the tenant’s fault (such as a long distance job transfer), you can waive some of these requirements, especially if you think the property can get re-rented quickly, and it is returned to you in a superb condition.

4. Maintain a good relationship with your tenants.

Of course, tenant stability also comes from how you treat your tenants.

Related: 5 Tenant Characteristics It’s Wise to Discriminate Against

Do you maintain your properties? Are you quick to make necessary repairs? Do you quickly address any concerns or complaints from your tenants? Nothing will chase away a good tenant faster than a negligent landlord. Keep your properties in good condition, and communicate with your tenants.

If you like your tenant, have a system in place to offer another lease renewal when the lease term is about to expire. If your tenant likes you and is happy in their home, they will most likely sign up for another year. But you have got to be sure you offer it to them, as many tenants are used to a month to month conversion or assume that you are not willing to resign them. In sum, ask and you shall receive.


5. Adjust your rent accordingly.

Another technique is to keep your rents just slightly below market. Many tenants often think the grass is greener at some other property and will start looking around towards the end of their lease term. If you provide a decent property that is slightly under the market rent, they will be less likely to jump ship even after looking around.


Tenant stability is something all of us landlords would love to achieve. It would be awesome if all of our units were filled and would stay filled with quality tenants for years to come. However, that rarely happens.

That does not mean, however, that there is nothing to can do to try to achieve stability. By following the advice laid out above, you will go a long way towards achieving a moderate amount of tenant stability.

[Editor’s Note: We are republishing this article to help out landlords newer to BiggerPockets.]

What suggestions do you have for holding on to your good tenants?

Let me know with your comments!

Kevin Perk is co-founder of Kevron Properties, LLC with his wife Terron and has been involved in real estate investing for 10 years. Kevin invests in ...
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    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Great points, but you absolutely need to clarify #1. I’m not sure that just because someone moves year after year is a legal reason NOT to rent to them. If they qualify financially, credit score wise, criminal background check, etc. I’m not sure it is legal to decline their rental application just based on the fact they have moved around a lot. Now, if you find out through your screening process they have moved a lot because their landlord does not renew their lease for late payment history, complaints against them, evictions, etc., then you have reason to not rent to them.
    Cam Saunders
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    We have sent a questionnaire (asking for problems the tenant may have had while renting from us) when we send the deposit back to them. This sometimes gives us a ton of info.
    Kevin Perk Rental Property Investor from Memphis, TN
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Jim, It is legal here in Memphis Tennessee and many a landlord looks at it. But you are correct that every locale is different, so know your local laws. Thanks for reading and commenting, Kevin
    Frankie Woods Investor from Arlington, Virginia
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Thanks for the article! What a great read with excellent advice. Dealing with tenets still scares me… I’m too nice :/
    Kevin Perk Rental Property Investor from Memphis, TN
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Frankie, I am nice too. After all being nice goes a long way. But you also have to be firm. You are running a business and business is just that, business. So don’t loose your niceness, but learn to be firm. Good luck and thanks for the comment, Kevin
    Andrew Kusuplos Professional from Manheim, Pennsylvania
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Good read! I had t-shirts made up with my company logo and hand them out to my tenants for Christmas as a thank you! Andrew.
    Howard Sklar
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Let me play “Devil’s advocate” just for a moment. I recently had a long-term tenant move out of one of my apt. buildings. I had been giving him somewhat agressive increases but Denver rents have been going parabolic for years now and even with a 6 month lease program it was impossible to catch up. He was currently paying $915.00 in rent for a 2 bedroom 2 bath apt. Current market is $1195.00. He moved, renting a home as his wife was pregnant with child #5. I immediatwely re-rented the unit for $1195, get a $285.00 increase in rent on just one unit! SOmetimes (when your market is strong), increased vacancies are most welcome!!!
    Alan Mackenthun from Prior Lake, Minnesota
    Replied over 3 years ago
    #4 is key and #1 is important. Renter’s need to know that you’ll fix things that break and a small gift at Christmas goes a long way. Tenant screening is also key. I don’t think any state prohibits discrimination based on rental history stability, but depending on what you’re looking at to decide this you could get into grey areas. Still it is an important and legitimate thing for landlords to consider. #’s 2 & 3 don’t really ring true. 1 year leases are standard. In both cases where tenants asked for 2 year leases, they ended up breaking the lease or needing out early. It’s more of a red flag for me now. #5 is important, but not for the reason cited. Property management is a business. You have to make sure you keep your rents current with the market. If you’re taking care of your tenants, they’ll be ok with that. If your rent is more than $50 below the market rate, then you need to bump it up.
    Chris Evans Investor from Detroit, Michigan
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Hi all, I’m a new landlord with a tenant that has a 1 year lease agreement, the lease is almost up and I was wondering how can I go about raising the rent, If my rent is $50 below the market rate what would be a suitable hike.