Keep Your Apartment Building Vacancies Low


One of the best methods to keep your apartment building investment profitable and to increase its long term value is to be constantly vigilant about keeping your tenants satisfied. Satisfied tenants tend to stay at the apartment building longer and thus they reduce turnover and your costs. Many individual owners of apartment buildings make the mistake of lowering the rent of their apartment buildings because they erroneously believe that lower rents will keep their apartment buildings full and turnover lower.

In reality, however, I have found that most people chose to stay at an apartment building because they are content where they are. The price of the rent being paid by the tenant is only one of many factors that will contribute to his or her decision to stay and renew their lease. I have found that apartment building owners can maintain a high occupancy rate while charging market rents if they take a few steps to make sure that tenants are happy where they live.

I believe that the quality of management that the apartment building owner has in place plays a large part in the overall experience of most apartment building dwellers. Every multifamily building is going to have problems. There is no way to avoid mechanical breakdowns occasionally with units such as air conditioners, dishwashers, heating units, toilets, plumbing and lighting. What is important is that the management has a clear and steadfast plan for responding to these issues. The plan for addressing mechanical problems and tenant complaints has to be written in the tenant manual and distributed to all tenants. It is even more important that the management rigorously follow these plans to the letter. People in general like to see that the management has professionalism to closely follow the written procedures inside of the tenant manual. For example, if the tenant manual says that all mechanical issues having to do with the break down of an air conditioner are to be resolved within 24 hours during the Summer months then you better be sure that the management has the ability and resources available to get the job done in that period of time. One bad experience with the maintenance work done by the building management can lead the tenant to begin looking for another place to live.

People will stay longer at their apartment if they feel connected to a larger community. There are countless ways, with spending little money, that owners and managers can foster a strong sense of community within their complex. One successful method is to sponsor a quarterly event or party at the club house. The managers can buy a few pizzas to feed the people and decorate the party to correspond with a holiday. These parties are a great way for tenants to meet and mingle with other tenants. People will stay longer at their apartment if they are living close to friends.

The above examples are just a few ideas to get you started and thinking about tenant satisfaction and reducing turnover. Just remember that the rent is not the only factor that will play into a tenants decision to stay living at your apartment building.

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  1. Terrific post Ted. Great management can help minimize vacancies, keep expenses down, and most importantly, keep tenants happy. There have been numerous data, sensitivity, and simulation analysis which has shown that the role of management can not be overstated.

  2. >owners . . . erroneously believe that lower rents will keep their apartment buildings full and turnover lower.

    Owners are looking from their own perspective. They forget that from the renters perspective moving means – well moving, and that is expensive and a hassle.

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