Landlords must keep rental units occupied, as vacancies quickly cut into rental profits. However, rushing to rent units without some due diligence can create even more costly problems later.
According to the National Center for Housing Management, more than half (54%) of apartments turn over each year. That’s a lot of new tenants to locate. High tenant turnover, and the associated costs, underscore to landlords the importance of retaining existing tenants, especially the good ones.
The following tips can guide how to find and keep quality tenants.
Locating New, Quality Tenants
Every time you lose a tenant, it costs money in terms of lost rental income, maintenance or repairs, unit upgrades, and cleaning. On top of that, you have advertising fees for new tenants, the cost of background checks, and more.
Every new tenant brings with them the risk of not working out. It pays to have a solid process to find high-quality tenants interested in long-term leases who won’t cost you extra money for damages, high turnover, or late payments.
Tip: Know the Appropriate Rules and Rents
Become familiar with federal, state, and local tenancy laws that may apply to your property. You can find this information on the US Department of Housing and Urban Development website.
Know the rents in your area so that you can set yours appropriately. Ensure that your property rents represent the fair market value for what your property offers and its location.
Tip: Get the Word Out Online
Advertising for new tenants used to require expensive flyers and other means. These days, prospective tenants expect to be able to find rentals online. When looking for how to find and keep quality tenants, online advertising exposes your units to many potential renters at a relatively low cost. You can add features like a virtual tour video and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the property.
Include the pros and cons of your property in the description, so prospective tenants don't waste time on a property that doesn't fit their needs. The more you disclose, the more likely you will receive well-qualified applicants.
In addition, you can also use word-of-mouth advertising, the old tried-and-true method. Ask friends, former tenants, and family if they know any friends looking to rent.
If you fill up your vacancies and continue receiving applicants, consider adding them to a waiting list to shorten the time to fill any vacancies.
Tip: Manage Expectations
Reduce the number of unqualified applicants by communicating your expectations upfront in the rental listing. You should include things like:
- No smoking is allowed in the unit
- No pets are allowed during the term of their lease
- What is the minimum rental period
Although it might feel like you are screening out renters unnecessarily, you may be rewarded with a much higher quality pool of candidates from which to choose.
Tip: Always Use a Tenant Screening Process
List rational qualifications for tenants within your property listing. This pre-established list can help narrow the field of applicants. Set up and use a screening process for potential tenants, including a credit, eviction, and criminal history check. Additionally, consider contacting their previous landlord to check whether the applicant was a good tenant.
Keeping Your High-Quality Tenants
When considering how to find and keep quality tenants, keeping your tenants means keeping them happy. If tenants feel their needs are met, you might see them extending their lease instead of moving out.
Tip: Address Maintenance Concerns Right Away
Tenants feel frustrated when they don’t get good responsiveness for maintenance and repair requests. Good maintenance means having staff available for tasks like a clogged drain or broken dishwasher. It could also mean cleaning the carpets regularly and keeping the grounds well-maintained.
Keeping the units and grounds in good repair also pays off in the long run, attracting new tenants and lowering maintenance and repair costs.
During a stormy winter, for example, you can avoid flooding in bottom-floor units, parking garages, and other areas by following these commercial storm drain cleaning tips from an experienced stormwater management firm.
Tip: Be a Courteous Landlord
Tenants want to deal with a human being with a heart, not the cold, unfeeling landlord you see in the movies. Your tenants will want to stick around if you are friendly, fair, and cooperative. Keep an open-communication policy with your tenants, and respond quickly to messages.
Having a respectful attitude also goes a long way with tenants. If you need to access a tenant’s unit for repairs, have the workers come while your tenant is at work so that you can minimize the interruption.
Treating your tenants respectfully sets up an expectation for how they treat you in return. This behavior also helps tenants be more respectful of the property.
Tip: Offer the Right Amenities
Most tenants are happy to stay as long as their current unit has the amenities they feel add value and a quality lifestyle; landlords who know which amenities matter can retain more tenants and attract new ones.
Aside from the property's age, location, and proximity to certain school districts, tenants often factor additional factors into their rental decision. Consider which of these amenities make sense for your property and can appeal to your desired tenants:
- Included appliances
- Renovations & upgrades
- Safety and Security
- Move-in ready condition
- Open floor plans
- Adequate or extra storage
Factor in other items such as secure bike racks and rooms for studying if your property is by a college or home-style features like hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, and central air for family-sized units.
Tip: Proactively Solicit Lease Renewals
Forecasting your rents and tenant turnover for the next several months is a good business practice. As part of that process, consider approaching tenants up to 90 days before their lease expiration to see if they’re interested in renewing the lease. If they agree to renew, you’ve locked in a suitable tenant. If they opt not to renew, you have more time to advertise before they move, so you can avoid absorbing any months of lost rent.
Keeping Your High-Quality Tenants
Keeping tenants happy pays off in higher occupancies and lower costs. Property maintenance is an integral part of providing a quality living experience. Using a stormwater maintenance company as part of your routine grounds management plan takes the work off your to-do list.
When you outsource your stormwater maintenance work to the professionals at CatchAll Environmental, you get a team of dedicated, experienced pros who will put the maintenance on autopilot so you can focus on your core functions. Call us at CatchAll Environmental today and see how we can help.