If you want to maintain a profitable rental property portfolio, you need to find, secure, and keep the right tenants. And while most landlords are intentional about finding and securing the right tenants, they often slip when it comes to keeping them.
This is problematic for a multitude of reasons. But if you can learn how to keep your tenants happy, you won’t have trouble getting them to stay.
Why Happy Tenants Matter
Happy tenants are important for a variety of reasons. Not only are they more likely to pay on time, but they’re also more likely to re-sign a lease agreement and stay for several years. Unhappy tenants, on the other hand, generally leave as soon as they can. This leads to increased turnover, which is costly.
“Simply put, tenant turnover is when the current tenants move out and the rental property is prepared for brand new occupants,” Roofstock explains. “There are three big components to this process: the move-out, getting the property rent-ready and marketing it, and leasing the property to new tenants. Turnover is something all property investors deal with, and if not handled properly, it can really eat into your bottom line.”
According to Roofstock, tenant turnover costs range anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000, with an average somewhere around $2,500. This includes a variety of expenses, like addressing deferred maintenance, paying for professional cleaning, property marketing, tenant screening, and missed rent.
While every tenant eventually leaves, prioritizing tenant happiness will make turnover less frequent (thereby saving you thousands of dollars over the years).
5 Tips for Happy Tenants
Happiness is variable. Every tenant has a unique personality, desires, and expectations. However, you can keep most happy by heeding the following principles:
- Be Transparent
Want to know a secret to being a successful landlord and living a successful life? Don’t hide information from people and do what you say you’re going to do. Seriously, it’s that simple. It’s about being transparent and authentic.
Communicate everything in as much detail as you can. This starts with explaining the lease agreement before signing and then quickly and efficiently communicating any changes as they occur over time.
People won’t always like what you tell them, but they’ll respect you for being truthful and forthcoming.
- Be Reachable
When someone is paying to live in your property, you owe them a certain level of service. And while you don’t have to be available around the clock, you do need to be reachable. If you’re so busy that you can’t pick up the phone or return a call within a couple of hours, you should hire a property manager to serve as a liaison between you and the tenant. This will provide the tenant with 24/7/365 support, while also giving you more free time.
- Be Proactive
Tenants shouldn’t need to nag you to get something done. You should be proactive about fixing issues and repairing breakdowns. Preventative maintenance goes a long way toward showing your tenants that you care about them. (It also saves you money over the long-term.)
- Be Respectful of Privacy
As a landlord/owner of the property, you have a right to enter the property in certain situations. Likewise, the tenant has a right to privacy. Make sure you understand these rules and always respect the tenant’s privacy (even in situations where you’re technically allowed to enter).
Generally speaking, there are four reasons you may enter a tenant’s rental:
- Property maintenance
- Sale or rental of the property
- Health or safety concerns
- Court-granted access
But even under these circumstances, you have to provide the proper notice. Be sure to research your state-specific laws for more information.
- Be Fair, Yet Consistent
Treat your tenants fairly. There’s a time for being a stickler and a time for being lenient. You’ll have to feel out each situation and use discretion to understand when and how to act. At the same time, it’s important to be consistent – particularly if you have a multifamily property with a number of tenants. Fair and consistent are the operative words.
Adding it All Up
At the end of the day, it all comes down to treating people the way you want to be treated. If you follow the Golden Rule, you’ll have happy tenants who respect you and give you the benefit of the doubt when things don’t go according to plan.
Not every tenant will provide the same respect in return, but you’ll have more successful relationships than failed ones.