When you have an investment property you want to ensure that it’s constantly tenanted so that you receive the rental income to repay the mortgage and other property expenses. An empty property means that you’re losing money daily as long as it remains vacant.
To that end, it’s much more cost-effective to retain your current tenants especially if they pay their rent on time and are looking after your investment. So how do you keep your current tenants happy to ensure that they’ll continue to stay?
Here are some tips to consider.
What Makes Tenants Move Out?
There’s a common myth that tenants like moving around. In most cases, this is simply not true. For most people moving is an inconvenience and a major expense that they would rather not have to deal with,
In saying that, there are several reasons why tenants will vacate your property. Some of these you can avoid and others are simply not within your control.
- Job relocation – This is one situation which is entirely out of your control. If your tenants move to a job which is a good distance away from where your property is located, they may decide that moving closer to work is the more viable option for them.
- Unhappy with the property manager – Making sure that your property manager is doing his or her job well is definitely something you have control over. You need to ensure that the property manager respects your tenant’s privacy while still making sure that the property is cared for.
Before an inspection is due, the tenant needs to be given enough time to prepare. A lot of tenants treat your property like their own and want to ensure that the house is clean and the yard maintained before an inspection. Therefore it's vital that your property manager must give enough notice for this to happen.
The property agent also needs to be available and responsive when the tenant has an issue that requires attention. There’s nothing more frustrating than having no hot water on the weekend because the hot water system has failed. Ensure that the property manager has given the tenant an emergency number to call for when this type of situation arises.
- Inaction of the owner – Most tenants do not expect perfection but are entitled to comfortable living conditions. As an owner, you should not ignore reasonable requests from tenants for items that need fixing.
What Can You Do To Keep Your Tenants Happy?
As a landlord, you have the responsibility of ensuring that the home you’re renting out is safe and comfortable. You should always ask yourself, would I live here?
Here are a few more things you can do to keep your good tenants content and therefore, happy to stay.
- Hire a professional property manager. You should look for a management company who understands both your need for long term tenants and the tenant’s needs for privacy and comfortable living conditions.
- Attend to maintenance request promptly. If your tenant requests small repairs, ensure that these requests are attended to quickly and efficiently.
Fixing things when they need it shows your tenants that you care about their welfare and will ensure that they care for your property. After all, if you don’t care about the standard of your investment property, why should they?
Generally, you’ll find that an owner’s unresponsiveness to repair requests is one of the major reasons that tenants become disgruntled and opt to move out of a property.
- Make sure that the home environment is comfortable. Ensuring that the temperature inside your investment property is conducive to your tenant’s requirements is a major plus in encouraging them to continue leasing your property.
A good efficient heater for winter is paramount, as is some type of cooling in summer. This could be in the form of ceiling fans, however, if you install an air conditioner you may be able to raise the rent slightly or encourage your tenants to sign a longer lease.
- A small gift or thank you card shows you care. Appreciating your tenants for the fact that they pay their rent (your mortgage) and look after your property goes a long way in how they feel about their home (your property).
You can easily reward good tenants with a small gift at Christmas time or on the anniversary of their lease renewal. This could be in the form of shopping vouchers or movie tickets. Make sure you include a card which says something like ‘thank you for looking after my property’.
And don’t forget your property manager, as everyone likes to be appreciated for the work that they do. It’s little things like this that don’t cost a lot but make you stand out from other landlords and investment property owners.
- Consider allowing pets. Many studies have shown that pet ownership increases happiness and contentment. If it’s not in your lease conditions at present, consider allowing your tenants to have a pet.
If they’re responsible tenants, no doubt they will be responsible pet owners and generally, if properly cared for, pets do very little damage to a home. By doing this, you’ll most likely find that your tenants are more than happy to stay if they know that their pets are welcome.
- Give your tenants an incentive to renew the lease. A couple of months before the lease is due for renewal, let your tenants know that you won’t be increasing the rent if they renew for another year.
Another way to incentivise a lease renewal is to give your tenants something extra like a six-month subscription to Netflix or something similar. If you really have to increase the rent, maybe offset it with a new coat of paint, a new appliance or the installation of an air conditioner.
Having happy and long-standing tenants is not as hard as you might think. As long as you treat them with respect, respond to their requests promptly and give a little thank you every now and then, you could easily have them for many years.
And always remember, a good tenant is well worth hanging onto.