You have probably read or heard plenty of horror stories from other landlords–tenants who are constantly behind in their rent, deface rental property, and then either cause trouble or make a lot of noise day in and day out. There’s the opposite case to unruly tenants: not having any tenants at all. A vacant property is costly because it needs upkeep plus a marketing budget to reach out to prospective renters. Whatever the case, you need good tenants and a system for keeping them in place longer.
Citizens Advice explores the ins and outs of being a landlord, while Gov.uk offers guidelines for evicting problematic tenants. Meanwhile, real estate professionals offer their explanation on what it takes to be an informed and effective landlord. So, if you are one of the few lucky landlords who rent out to ideal tenants, then finding ways to retain them longer becomes one of your main priorities. Check out the following strategies to help keep your prized tenants from leaving and to avoid having a tenant-free property languishing on the market for a long time.
Proper Maintenance of Your Property
A run-down rental property is a recipe for disaster. You are effectively steering your good tenants to move elsewhere by not being mindful of the condition of the property you are renting out to them. A clean and meticulously maintained rental property does not only work at keeping your prized tenants. It also sends a powerful message encouraging your other tenants to be respectful of the property and to clean up after themselves.
Be attentive when it comes to fixing even the most minor of repair and maintenance issues. A leaking tap, for instance, may not sound too serious for you, but from the perspective of tenants, this problem–when left unaddressed for a while–builds frustration and annoyance. Set a reasonable time frame for fixing repair problems in your rental property.
Be proactive, too. Tell your good tenants to give you a heads up on peeling paint, rusting fixtures, and the like.
Adjusting the Rent
Because you are in the business of making money from your rental properties and to get a return on your investment as quickly as possible, setting the rent just slightly below the market value seems counterintuitive. But this strategy proves to be an effective enticement for keeping prized tenants in place longer.
To factor inflation when leases are renewed, consider making consistent yet incremental adjustments to the rent. An annual increase of two to three percent is much more preferable for most tenants compared to being faced with a huge rent increase every two years. It helps to talk to your favourite tenants, too. Ask them which arrangement is more manageable for them.
Your trusty tenants, who pay on time and treat your property with respect, deserve preferential treatment by way of having an open line of communication to you. Listen and carefully consider their requests–even if you have already made up your mind about not granting such requests. For example, some tenants might wish to have a small backyard garden, which you don’t want. Don’t simply push them away with an emphatic “no.” Instead, reflect on their reasons for wanting a garden and then formulate a reasonable, fair decision. Explain your decision to them. If you don’t want a backyard garden in your property, offer a viable alternative that is tied with their reasons for wanting a garden. This cements a healthy working relationship with your prized tenants. They will be grateful and will appreciate your efforts to meet them halfway.
Small Gestures of Kindness
Never underestimate the power of a handwritten thank you note. Consider sending them a thank you note for taking care of your property and for paying the rent. Then enclose a gift card to the local cinema, for example. A gesture such as this can make your special tenants, who have never given you any trouble for years, to feel valued.
If your prized tenants aren’t going to be renewing their lease soon, ask them why. The ones who are buying a home, of course, are beyond saving. But for those who may be moving because they’ve found another rental property offering a few perks which yours don’t have, then consider giving these tenants what they want, most especially if their demands aren’t really that exorbitant. They may be after features like new carpeting, a couple of ceiling fans, or a freshly painted living room. So, ask away and you might end up retaining your best tenants.
Keira Ibbott is used to managing tenants as part of her job and enjoys sharing her tips and strategies for keeping a property continually rented. She is a regular online contributor and writes for a number of different websites.