If you have experience as a landlord, then you know probably already understand the value of finding and keeping good tenants. If you’re just starting out, what you may not know is that managing building maintenance, enforcing timely rent pay, and ensuring it doesn’t all run into the ground, can be a serious full-time job. Tenants who make that job even just a little bit easier are worth keeping around (seriously, check out some statistics on the costs of a bad tenant). Here’s some good landlord advice on the best practices to help reward your stellar residents and make sure they stay happy—and stay longer!
Responsiveness and availability are two of the most important things you can offer to not only your good tenants, but to all your tenants. It’s always a good practice to live close to your property, especially if you manage it yourself, so you can check in when you need to assess any maintenance that may need to be done or address any repair requests. Nothing will drive away tenants faster than a landlord who doesn’t respond when issues arise—or worse yet, ignores glaringly unsafe maintenance problems, such as leaks or infestations.
Remember the Details
Life is about the little things, and a little can go a long way when it comes to your tenant’s rental satisfaction. Remember special dates and occasions such as birthdays, holidays or even the anniversary of their move-in. Make it a point to transfer individual information like this from each tenants’ rental application into a calendar and set up reminders so you can mail cards on time. If possible, try to remember special or unique holidays they may celebrate… you never know who could use a little cheer throughout the year! It may seem like a trivial practice, but trust us, letting your tenants know you appreciate them is worth it.
Ease up on Pet Policies
If you have a No Pet policy in place, consider easing up on tenants who’ve rented from you for a while and have proven themselves reliable. Allowing animals on the premises does come with some amount of risk, and you’ll have to consider that some type of pet damage may eventually occur. However, your best tenants are likely very responsible individuals who are up to the task of ensuring their pets won’t cause serious damage, or are willing to take responsibility and foot the bill for any issues that may occur. There are some people who just don’t feel like a house can be a home without a furry friend, or those who are struggling with grief or anxiety who could really benefit from a four-legged companion. Use your best judgment, or even ask for a pet deposit if necessary, but creating some flexibility when it comes to pets could make a huge difference for trustworthy residents and will help keep turnover low.
Sending cards around the year is awesome, but you may also want to consider giving renters who’ve consistently and punctually paid rent all year an end-of-the-year cash bonus or gift card. This not only enforces good behavior, but it’s a small price to pay compared to the costs of housing bad tenants who don’t pay on time or regularly incur damage. You may also try offering incentives to tenants who are willing to help fill vacancies. Most of the time, good begets good, so you’ll likely get high-quality referrals. Not only will this help increase your chances of finding someone quickly, but you’ll also likely up the chances of keeping those initial tenants with their friends nearby.
Reward your most dedicated tenants by upgrading appliances such as washers, dryers or stoves, as well as other elements of the property like the paint or flooring. You may even consider allowing your renters to have a teeny bit of decision-making power when it comes to things like picking a paint color of their choosing. Take a look at your property’s landscaping as well. Curb appeal is a big factor when it comes to loving where you live. When renters come home, a tidy row of hedges or some perennial blooms can go a long way. Remember, it’s the little things! You should also reevaluate your security measures if this is an area you’ve neglected for a while. There’s a variety of new technologies out there, including locks which provide one-time access only for visitors or maintenance workers.