Landlording & Rental Properties

4 Practical Ways to Increase Tenant Happiness (& Quality)

Expertise: Real Estate Investing Basics, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Landlording & Rental Properties, Business Management, Personal Development, Flipping Houses, Commercial Real Estate
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Relaxed happy woman looking at side sitting on a couch in the living room at home

Vacancies can cost you money in lost rents and in turnover expenses. The best way to ensure profitability is to keep your tenants in your units long-term and avoid recurring vacancies. Some tenants move because of a change in their job, life situation, or circumstances you can't control as a landlord. Others move because they are no longer happy where they live or feel their needs can be better served elsewhere. So, how do you keep your tenants happy?

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Today, I’m going to give you four practical tips that will help keep your tenants happy and increase tenant quality. You might be wondering, “Why is it so important to have happy tenants?” In today’s video, I give a few other reasons that it pays to keep your tenants happy, outside of avoiding a vacancy.

Related: What to Do When Your Tenant Drives Through the Living Room

4 Practical Ways to Increase Tenant Happiness (& Quality)

In the video, I go over a few tips on how to keep tenants happy. Here are the first two:

  1. Treat them like people. This means just treating them with respect. Treat them how you would want to be treated. Speak to them the way that you would want to be spoken to. This is important because it will remind you that when it comes time to make tough or expensive decisions, you base your decision off of the human factor and not just the bottom line.
  2. Take care of maintenance, preventative and reactive. Take care of maintenance issues in a timely manner. This doesn’t mean drop everything you’re doing for small issues, but when it comes to major issues, make sure you address the issue quickly. Also, take care of the small things that will need to be taken care of in the future. Make sure your tenants see you and that they notice that you’re looking out for them.
  3. Allow tenants to have pets. People are happy if they’re allowed to have their pets. If you charge a moderate fee, they’ll even happily pay it. But it’s unlikely someone with a pet would consider moving in if you say this is a no pet property. Now, some tenants may be allergic. This is something you’ll want to keep in mind and try to accommodate, too. Maybe you have some pet friendly buildings and some that are not—then, everyone’s happy.
  4. Thank yous and give backs. A “thank you” is a way to show your tenants you care and appreciate them. Maybe it’s a giveaway, a drawing, for paying rent on time. We give away one flatscreen TV a year; other landlords give tenants a Thanksgiving turkey. A “give back” would be something like decorating a multifamily for the holidays. This is what someone would do if they owned a home, so it makes the tenants treat their rental like it’s really their home.

In conclusion, the happier your tenants are, the better quality property you’ll have. I would even say that happier tenants will create a better performing asset and increase your ROI long-term. Take the time to treat all your tenants with respect and find small ways to show you appreciate them. After all, if they’re paying you rent, they’re putting money in your pocket, and for that, you should always be grateful. Please leave a comment below to share some thoughts on tenant happiness!

Hope this helps! Until next time, have a great and profitable week!

Leave a comment below.

Matt Faircloth, co-founder and president of the DeRosa Group, is a seasoned real estate investor. The DeRosa Group, based in historic Trenton, New Jersey, i...
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    Nathan Richmond Rental Property Investor from Visalia, CA
    Replied over 2 years ago
    I agree with everything you say Matt, especially the give backs and thank you’s. I like to buy Christmas presents for each of my tenants that have paid their rent in time throughout the year. Usually it’s gift cards to the movies. I also included Popcornopolis variety gift baskets this year since Costco had a good buy on them! It makes a difference and it makes me happy as well! Treating them like people and developing even a small relationship with them makes them appreciate the little things and a small rent increase is usually taken without complaint.
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Hey Nathan, I love the movie gift card. That is a nice gift in the $10 to $15 range which is appropriate for a tenant gift and won’t break the bank, even in a larger portfolio. Thanks for the idea! Matt
    Jerry W. Investor from Thermopolis, Wyoming
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Matt, As usual excellent article. It matters how you treat people and how you run your business.
    Madeline P. from Tampa, Florida
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Excellent Matt. It’s worth reminding us to treat tenants respectfully.
    Amy A. from Portland, Maine
    Replied over 2 years ago
    I used to give gift cards every Christmas. My tenants still treated me like dirt and felt that I must be so nice that I’m a pushover.
    Brian Grant Rental Property Investor from Lake Arrowhead, CA
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Matt, Really a great article and I am glad to hear about the turkey idea. I also like the idea of decorating the out side of an apartment complex. I have often thought about doing things like a turkey, Bday cards, Xmas cards, etc. but don’t want it to be to much. Thanks for this article.
    Domenick T. Investor from Springfield , New Jersey
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Excellent points! I think allowing pets is the one thing you can do to retain tenants longer. Tenants with pets stay in their rentals 2.5X longer than those without pets according to a Firepaw survey. It’s too hard to find a good rental that allows pets. Your tenant gets to keep a pet and you get to avoid costly turnovers. Just be sure to include a rock-solid pet addendum to cover yourself.
    Cindy Larsen Rental Property Investor from Lakewood, WA
    Replied over 2 years ago
    It has always been hard to find a nice rental that allows pets. In fact, I bought my first property, a condo, 35 years ago because I was a frustrated tenant who didn’t want to live in a grungy apartment complex: all the nice ones did not allow pets. Now, I see pets as a cash flow increase. If the property cash flows without pets, how much better would it be if you got an extra $35/month or $70/month? I charge pet rent for each pet. I use those funds, over time, to: A. upgrade flooring to nearly indistructable tile ( but < $2.50/sqft) with epoxy grout in a nice brown or grey stone look tile. Look for PEI rating on the tile box. Urine will have no impact on epoxy grout and tile: this is how vet clinics do their floors. Dog claws have no impact. Only the living room gets wood floor. No more replacing or cleaning carpet: tile reduces maintenance/turnover fees. Nicer floors increase rentability. People who want rugs buy throw rugs. I keep a set of throw rugs to put in when I am staging a unit to be rented. B. Add chairrail molding, and paint the bottom half of the walls with semigloss (when tennant moves out and painting is needed anyway). Semigloss doesn’t need repainting as often: it can be washed. You may not need to paint the upper half of the walls either, as most paint damage seems to be below 4’, especially from kids and dogs. Once this is done, you have increased long term income, and decreased maintenance costs. If the pets destroy something (dog chewed door moldings for example), it just comes out of the tenant’s deposit, the same as if the tenant damaged it. Those pet loving tenants like living with flooring and walls that their animals can’t easily make unattractive, as long as they are nice looking flooring and walls to begin with.
    Terry Lowe
    Replied 11 months ago
    Love your positive attitude. It makes a difference when tenants know you are on their side. They take better care of the property, and that makes it easier for me to get the next tenant in quickly. I do have a problem with long term tenants. They want a smaller increase in rent because they know unrelated properties don’t make money. They negotiate, and 2-4 years, I notice that I should be making more money on the unit. So, my question is: How do I retain tenants and keep the rent at market value at the same time?