Attracting tenants is always the goal for rental property owners. Most are successful in this objective. However, if you want more time to relax as a landlord, your aim should be focused on attracting long-term tenants.
Consitent returns over time are provided by long-term tenants. It's also easier to nurture a professional relationship with them instead of frequently getting acquainted with new renters.
Long-term tenants are better able to understand the working policies and leasing conditions of the rental unit. Unlike new renters, the adjustment is minimal since both the landlord and tenant know what's expected of each other.
Other great advantages include the landlord being free from marketing expenses since the turnover is low. The landlord is also free from spending time and effort in screening new tenants. Thus, long-term tenants are very appealing to landlords, and they strive to retain them.
Here are ways to inspire tenants to stay longer in your rental property:
1. Welcome your tenants' pets.
Basing on the American Pet Products Association (APPA), US pet owners were estimated to be 68% of the population back in 2016. If we judge by this statistic alone, it's clear that being a pet-friendly rental property gives you a wider target market to serve.
Tenants who are pet owners tend to be more responsible since raising a pet can take a lot of time and effort. Pet owners are also hesitant to keep moving since the adjustment period will also include their pets' adjustment to a new space.
Additionally, it can be hard to find a rental property that welcomes pet owners, so they're more likely to keep renting compared to non-pet owners.
2. Allow a degree of autonomy when decorating your property.
With the popularity of interior design shows and IKEA outlet stores, most people are inspired to decorate. Adding personal touches in a room makes it feel more comfortable and cozy. Giving a renter freedom to redecorate the rental space can encourage them to stay longer.
If your unit is unfurnished, it can also send the message that a tenant can customize and stamp their individuality into the rental unit. There's a sense of ownership that this brings.
If you're wary of allowing absolute freedom, then you can include conditional provisions in your lease. You can also allow minor alterations that won't really affect the appearance of your property.
3. Keep up with your rental property maintenance.
As a responsible landlord, maintaining your rental property in its best condition is your goal. Create a regular schedule to check on the bigger items that will cost you more when they break down. These are the heating system, cooling system, ventilation, plumbing and roof where water damage can start.
Not only should you focus on big-ticket items, but you must also check for small details that will affect the state of your home and become a factor in retaining tenants.
Some of the small details that will matter are fixing broken doorknobs, shattered glass windows, faded paint and dripping faucets. It might be a small problem, but if it inconveniences your renter, it will affect their decision in renewing their lease.
Additionally, these small details aren't limited to the property's interior. It's best to look at the landscape outside as well, like fixing broken fences to elevate curb appeal.
4. Reward your long-time renters.
Since retaining tenants is every landlord's desire, it's best to offer incentives to those who renew their leases. For example, you can offer discounted rent for the first month. Rather than spending the money on marketing materials and conducting tenant screening, it's best to reward a tenant who decides to stay.
You can also refrain from increasing the annual rent. When the economy is in a downturn, every bit of savings count. It's advisable to practice empathy and show your appreciation to tenants who opt to extend their stay.
Other ways you can reward a tenant include giving them vouchers they can use. This may be free restaurant meals, movie tickets and gift cards. Practicing this reward system goes a long way and further cements your professional relationship.
5. Offer a superior customer service experience.
When it comes to competitors with similar property features, what stands out in a renter's mind is the kind of customer service they're given. Some of the questions they'll review are the following:
- Did the landlord offer a prompt resolution when they called about a problem?
- Did a repair happen quickly when they reported a damaged item?
- Did the landlord practice great property maintenance over the year?
- Did the landlord offer convenient services that are useful to a busy tenant?
- How did the landlord treat them? Was the landlord professional? Did they treat all renters the same?
- Did the landlord provide safety and security for their rental property?
These are relevant questions, and if you can answer positively to each, then it's easy for renters to be loyal customers. When customer service is stellar, it's effortless to stay put in the same living space.
6. Hire a property manager.
If you're a self-managing landlord, it can be a challenge to stay consistent with your services. This is especially true when you're handling multiple rental units and tenants. If you need professional assistance, it's best to hire a property manager.
An experienced property management team will make sure your rental space is well-maintained by conducting regular cleaning and inspections. The team will respond right away during emergencies. They will install safety and security measures to protect your tenants.
With the aid of advanced technology, convenience is assured when it comes to rent payment. They will also be able to handle difficult situations such as severe property damage, domestic violence and potential evictions.
Attracting long-term tenants is a skill that can be mastered over time. You have the opportunity to let an experienced property manager handle all the grunt work, carving out well-deserved time for yourself.