Finding a great tenant that pays rent on time, cares for and respects their rented premises, and notifies you of maintenance issues on time can be anything but easy. So, when you finally land such a tenant, you’ll want to do anything in your power to retain them for as long as you can.
Improving your tenant retention rate can significantly improve your bottom line. That’s because you’ll be able to save on the costs of having vacancies.
But how do you keep a renter happy? The following are 7 tips to get you started!
1. Give Your Renters the Amenities They Want
There are certain features that tenants look for when renting a home. For many tenants, their lifestyle plays a major role in whether to keep renting or continue searching. This is especially true for generations like Millennials and Gen-Z.
Investing in the right amenities can help you not only attract quality tenants quickly but also retain them for a long time. The following are some of the popular amenities among prospective tenants:
- An in-unit washer and dryer
- Balcony or patio
- Soundproof walls
- Walk-in closet
- High-speed internet
You may also want to make strategic upgrades that can help make your property feel like a home. Such upgrades may include hardwood flooring, stainless steel appliances, and a central air conditioning unit.
2. Treat Tenants Respectfully and Fairly
No tenant will feel comfortable and happy if they feel like their landlord isn’t on their side. That’s why it’s important that you familiarize yourself with things like the Fair Housing laws prior to renting out your home.
In Texas, you must treat your tenants fairly regardless of the 7 protected classes: race, color, sex, nationality, religion, familial status, and disability. All your management systems should be consistent for everyone, from the way you screen prospects to the way you treat tenants on an everyday basis.
3. Have a Clear Lease and Enforce Rules Fairly
A lease is a contractual agreement between you and your tenant. When it’s clear and detailed, it helps communicate your expectations to your tenants in a concise and succinct manner.
The following are some of the things that should be in your lease agreement:
- Details about rent. Let your tenant know the exact dollar amount of rent, and when and where they are going to pay
- Subletting rules. If you allow it, you’ll want your tenants to know any rules you might have
- Pet rules. Do you allow pets? If so, you’ll want prospects to know any restrictions you might have. And if you don’t allow pets, you may also want them to know that as well. Remember, though, that disability is a protected characteristic under the Fair Housing Act. As such, even with a “no pet” policy, you must accept a service animal
- Security deposit. Require tenants to pay a security deposit before moving into your rental property. It’ll help cushion you against the financial damage a tenant can cause
Other items to cover include entry rules, responsibility for repair and maintenance, term of the tenancy, limits on occupancy, and names of all tenants.
In enforcing such terms, you’ll also want to be fair and considerate depending on the issue at hand. Tenants will appreciate a clear lease and not being left in the dark on what the expectations are.
4. Incentivize Tenants to Rent for Longer
If you have a great tenant, consider incentivizing them to renew their lease. After all, finding a great tenant isn’t always easy.
The following are some incentives you could consider offering your tenant to encourage them to renew their lease:
- Offer free Wi-Fi
- Upgrade their apartment (for instance, you can do this by repainting their unit or by installing a washer-dryer)
- Offer them free parking
- Offer them discounted rent
While this method could mean reduced profits in the short term, it can be extremely beneficial to your bottom line in the long run.
5. Be a Good Landlord
Property management is in the service industry. How you treat your tenants has a direct correlation to how successful your investment becomes. Your tenants will want to stay longer if you are friendly, proactive, and cooperative.
So, how do you become a good landlord? At the very least, take your landlord responsibilities seriously. For example, when it comes to complaints, you’ll want to be respectful and courteous, as well as maintain open communication.
6. Respect Their Peace and Quiet
Don’t just barge in on your tenants unannounced. Notify them beforehand of the intended entry. In Texas, there is no statute that specifically addresses the notice period landlords must give their tenants prior to entry.
That said, it’ll be in your best interest to have a clause on entry rules in your lease agreement. The last thing you want your tenant to do is to accuse you of harassment. Typically, 24-hour notice suffices.
The cause for entry must be reasonable. Common reasons for landlord entry include:
- To inspect the unit
- To show the unit to prospective tenants, lenders or buyers
- Under court orders
- In case the property is abandoned
- In case of an emergency
7. Address Maintenance Issues Promptly
Another way of keeping your tenant happy is by being proactive when it comes to maintenance issues. If you respond promptly to issues and are genuinely supporting your tenant’s wellbeing, your tenant will be much more likely to renew their lease.
What’s more, responding quickly to repair and maintenance issues can help keep smaller issues from becoming larger and more costly.
These 7 tips are a recipe to be a great landlord and keep renters happy. Still having trouble finding a great tenant? Bigham & Associates can help! We are a professional property management company that has been helping property owners in Austin achieve peace of mind.