how to keep tenants from leaving

Landlords want the best tenants. Landlords also want to keep the best tenants from leaving. The question is – how?

Departing tenants come with a wide range of costs – from professional cleaning to security adjustments to possible repairs / renovation work. It’s added hassle you could well do without.

Keeping the best tenants isn’t solely the responsibility of the tenant.

Landlords must play their role, too.

There are positive, practical and pragmatic steps that landlords can take to keep tenants from leaving.

Cost of Vacant Rentals

When a tenant leaves your rental property, there are a wide range of costs to consider.

Costs aren’t only related to tenant matters.

The average cost of a vacant apartment during tenant turnover is $1,800. Costs include mortgage payments, HOA dues, advertising costs, cleaning costs, maintenance and repair costs, renovation costs and, if applicable, property management fees.

These costs are, at the very least, prohibitive and unsustainable.

Landlords need, then, to make that extra effort to keep the best tenants on board.

The question is – what steps can landlords take?

How to Keep the Best Tenants

There are many advantages of keeping the incumbent, quality tenant. You avoid turnover expense; guarantee consistent revenue; invest less time in the day-to-day and month-to-month management of the property; as well as avoiding the potential uncertainty that a new, incoming tenant can bring.

Knowing these advantages and costs is important. It gives you, the landlord, greater appreciation of how valuable your current tenant is, and it offers some added perspective on why you should make that extra effort to keep the incumbent.

First – never ignore maintenance queries.

It’s one of the gravest faux pas’ that any landlord worth the name can commit. Tenants, not you, must live in that poorly maintained property. They experience the day-to-day stress and nuisance that those maintenance problems can bring.

Never underestimate that stress. Be proactive and deal with maintenance queries as and when they arise.

Don’t deal with it tomorrow. Manage it now.

The best tenants appreciate the service you provide them. Once a lease ends, they’ll remember these details – no matter how small or insignificant that maintenance request may seem to you.

Don’t just be proactive, though. Go that extra mile and hire a professional cleaner once per month. These added incentives can make all the difference.

Inspecting the property regularly is important. It means identifying problems early before they become a structural and financial nightmare – saving you more in the long-term and avoiding unnecessary stress on the part of your tenant.

Second – always be responsive.

It’s not enough to respond to a tenant query after 4-5 days. Try to respond as sharply as possible. It demonstrates to the tenant that you are a professional, committed landlord who takes their questions and queries seriously.

Don’t be short in your responses either. Always show respect – be polite and answer the question without any directness, sarcasm or rudeness. Perhaps you’ve had a bad day, but that doesn’t justify disrespecting your tenant.

Again – these are the small details that quality tenants remember.

Third – to keep tenants from leaving, landlords must know what tenants want.

In real terms, this means making upgrades where necessary. Perhaps it’s the air conditioning unit. Maybe it’s how comfortable the living room is. There may be some essential appliances missing from the kitchen.

Know your target audience and what they expect. Though in the short-term it results in additional costs for you, this action can produce enormously positive, long-term results that keeps quality tenants on board.

Fourth – know how and when to offer lease renewal.

90-days before the lease expires, ask the incumbent tenant whether they would like to renew.

Tenants now have the time, well in advance, to consider whether they would like to renew. This reassures the tenant, offering a positive impression that you are happy with how things are and keen to keep the tenancy going.

Perhaps the tenant is not sure whether to renew. Consider asking the tenant what would convince them to stay. If you are planning a rent increase, try to keep it lower than what you would typically increase.

Taking these extra steps emphasises that you are a landlord who values excellent communication.

Think about offering an extended lease renewal. If the current lease is 6-months, think about extending this to 1-year. Whilst you may lose out on the rental increase, there is something to be said for a quality tenant who guarantees a consistent income stream. It saves you the uncertainty and expense that comes with a bad tenant.

Final thoughts

Be proactive if you want to keep tenants from leaving.

Don’t assume that quality tenants are bound to remain. That’s not always the case, particularly if you’re not playing your part and performing your duties as a landlord.

Here, we’ve discussed some practice and pragmatic steps landlords should take. Taking these steps not only makes your life easier, it saves enormous expense, time and stress that otherwise comes with vacancy turnover.

Don’t be complacent. Tenants can tell, and you will only lose out over the long-term.

Triumph is the leading property management company in Las Vegas. Check back to our real estate blog soon for even more great tips and tricks on how to keep tenants from leaving and steps you, as the landlord, can take to perform your duties to the maximum possible extent.

If you don’t have the time, think about hiring a property management company to do the work for you.