How to Retain Good Tenants
By Sadiya Anjum
Obtaining new tenants can be a costly affair for landlords. If tenants are dissatisfied, it would take them but a little effort to find another home. It is always the smarter option to retain good tenants Ė those who pay their rent on time and cause little or no problems. Since a vacancy for too long or frequent tenant turnovers are expensive, landlords should work towards retaining their tenants.
It is a common impression that landlords and tenants are always at loggerheads. Although problems are bound to arise, it is still not out-of-fashion to have a steady and agreeable relationship with a tenant. To retain tenants, it requires serious effort on the part of the landlord or the property manager.
The key to tenant retention lies in a tenantís satisfaction with living conditions and his relationship with the landlord. Tenants basically want what they hoped for when they decided to rent your property. Unanticipated problems like dogs howling every night, loud music from neighbors, a faulty air conditioner which breaks down repeatedly after repairs, or any other such problem can trigger off a tenantís decision to move out. The landlord should make sure that the condition of the property and other related issues are revealed initially, so that the tenant is not at the receiving end of nasty surprises.
A landlord who gives priority to his tenantsí requests and responds to them effectively will be appreciated. When a tenant makes a complaint, it should be heard and responded to as soon as possible. Forgetting or procrastinating or sheer indifference to complaints will simply annoy tenants. You should also make sure that you can be easily contacted. The process of making complaints too should not be too loaded with paperwork or other time-consuming procedures.
However, why should you give your tenants a chance to complain in the first place? Ensure that all appliances, plumbing, heating and cooling systems etc. are all in working condition before you rent your property out. Any maintenance responsibilities that you take on should be managed satisfactorily. In fact tenants may not mind paying a few extra bucks if they are satisfied with their living conditions.
An important aspect you must cover is security. If a tenant is a victim of a crime, no matter how small, he may not hesitate to move out. Homeowners may tolerate crime in their neighborhood but tenants always have the option to move out. Install proper locks and take other security measures. If it is a slightly unsafe area, advise your tenants on this matter and the preventive measures they can take.
Taking care of the small things will always count in the end. For instance, do not abuse your right to enter the property. Keep it minimal and make sure that you inform your tenants well in advance. When increasing rent or making other changes inform your tenants ahead of time. State laws may require you to inform your tenants about certain changes within a certain time frame, but do not wait for that 24 or 48 hour period. Let your tenants know much ahead of these changes.
When making any policy changes, make sure you discuss it with your tenant. Let him see your reasons for doing so. Never underestimate the power of keeping your tenants involved. Communicating openly with tenants can prove to be very advantageous.
Consider an informal lunch or even a casual chat once in a way to find out if your tenants are happy with their living conditions. Staying interested and involved will let your tenants know that you are a responsible and concerned landlord.
Tenants may relocate for several valid reasons but it should not be due to negligence on your part. It would hardly be a comforting thought to know that your tenant relocated a block away to a similar home for no good reason. Being a landlord means that you are in business; satisfy your customers and they will stay loyal to you.
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