Vacancies are a nightmare for any investor. Not only is the property not generating any income, you’re also spending money to attract a new tenant. It’s a lose-lose situation.
There are lots of reasons why a tenant may decide not to renew a lease, and while there are some that are out of your control – relocation due to job change, decision to buy instead of rent – there are others that CAN be controlled.
I’m talking about tenant satisfaction. Tenants who are unhappy with the property or how it’s managed are unlikely to renew the lease. Lucky for you, there’s a lot you can do to make sure your tenants are happy and ready to renew that lease again and again. Here are some ideas:
Treat them with respect
Seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many landlords/property owners don’t practice basic respect with their tenants. They don’t see them as people; rather, they’re just a means to make a profit. I’ve heard plenty of defensive investors over the years claiming that they can’t get close to investors because then they get taken advantage of. But they’re misunderstanding the point. Treating people with respect and getting close to them are two separate things. No one is asking them to be best pals with their tenants; rather, they just need to be polite and respectful. Basically, tenants should be treated how the investor would like to be treated if the roles were reversed. It’s that simple.
Building on the principle of respect, you can also make a effort to practice kindness with your tenants. Acknowledging birthdays, sending a small gift at Christmas – these are just a couple of things you can do to show that you care. Chances are it’s not too big of a deal for you to do stuff like this, but it will feel like a pretty big deal to your renters. Plus, kindness breeds kindness. When you make the effort to reach out in this way, your tenants are more like to respond in kind, treating your property with respect, paying on time, and basically just being a better tenant.
Respond to their needs
Finally, one of the best things you can do to ensure tenant satisfaction is to simply respond to their needs. Let them know their voice is being heard. When they have a maintenance issue, take care of it promptly and professionally. Don’t blow things off, even if they seem insignificant to you. Be proactive with maintenance as well, so that potential issues are prevented from happening at all. Taking these steps shows that you care not just about your property, but your renters and their comfort as well.
Tenant happiness should be a top priority for you as a property owner. Besides the fact that a good relationship with your renters will make life easier for you in general, you’re also signaling to them that a) you care and b) it’s a good idea to continue leasing your property. This reduces your risk for vacancy and will ultimately make you more money. Remember, happy tenants = tenants who are more likely to re-sign the lease.