One of the major operating expenses to your rental property is vacancy. Vacancy is the cost of your unit setting empty. For each month there is not a tenant to occupy your home or property, you have a holding cost to pay and rent you are not receiving.
Aside from the human factor, caring about the welfare of your residents, you should care about vacancy because of its economic costs. The key to minimizing vacancy is keeping your tenants happy. Below are three critical ways to keep your tenants happy in their rental, thus increasing the chances of renewals.
1️⃣ Promptly Respond To Maintenance Needs
Any alert tenant will quickly pick up on a landlord or property manager that is quick to collect rent and assign late fees but slow to respond to maintenance requests or concerns. I have seen a few properties and met a few owners that were clear evidence of this. It is saddening and disgusting to me, and I am sure it is even more so for the unlucky residents. Be better.
You have an opportunity to create a great living environment for those who rent your properties. Be prompt to respond to and successfully close any and all requests and concerns, even if you are simply an ear or can give guidance to the resident. Residents want to be heard and when they see prompt and friendly service, they know their landlord cares.
2️⃣ Make Occasional Improvements and Upgrades
What I have found is that great tenants have an ownership mentality. They take care of the property as if it was their own (I have even had a tenant paint the whole exterior of the house!). This is what we want.
Unfortunately, for them, aside from painting walls, adding furniture and fixtures, they are unwilling and do not have the means to make more serious improvements to the property. Each year, make it a gesture to make an improvement to the property that the resident will appreciate. This could be landscaping, exterior painting and appeal, new lighting, and more. These gestures show the resident that you care about the property and their comfort.
3️⃣ Give Them Gifts
Each year around Christmas time, I send my residents a gift card (using the cash flow from the rent I receive). This is another way to remind them that the owner of the property and/or property manager value them. Especially during the holidays, they may find this gift as opportune and helpful for their situation.
Separate Yourself From Other Landlords
Landlords often get a bad wrap because of the stories, movies and reality. Together, you and I can re-create what it means to be a property owner and real estate investor. If you follow these three guidelines, you are more likely to have happier tenants who will renew year after year, lowering your turnover costs and creating stability for your investment and residents.
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Rodney Robinson II