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12 Effective Strategies for Long-Term Tenant Retention

By 6 min read • July 8, 2024

If you have a good tenant who looks after your property and pays their rent on time, you’re onto a winner!

Reasonable and reliable tenants make a landlord’s job simple and stress-free. So, if you don’t want your tenant to leave, make sure that they don’t want to either!

In this article, we’re exploring some top tenant retention strategies to help keep your tenants happy and get them to stick around for longer. We’ll cover all sorts of strategies, from keeping communication lines open to making small upgrades to your rental property. Apply the strategies in this article to reduce tenant turnover and make sure your tenants never want to leave!

What are the benefits of retaining tenants for longer?

If you have good tenants, it pays to keep them happy so that they stick around for longer. Retaining reliable tenants for as long as possible not only makes your job easier but could also boost your profits. Here’s why you should make tenant retention a key part of your property rental business strategy.

Steady and predictable rental income – If a tenant leaves and your property is empty for a period, it can disrupt rental income and cause significant financial losses. Stable, long-term tenants provide a continuous and reliable income stream and help reduce the financial instability associated with tenant turnover.

Fewer void periods – Void periods cause landlords a headache. They don’t just represent a missed opportunity to earn rental income; empty rentals can also be a security risk as they are more vulnerable to break-ins and damage. Without tenants to report problems, it’s also easier for maintenance issues to go unnoticed, causing deterioration to the property’s condition or even serious damage.

Reduced expenses – A high tenant turnover can cost a lot in expenses. Each time a tenant leaves, substantial costs are involved in filling the vacancy, including marketing the property, getting it ready for new tenants, and screening potential renters. By keeping tenant turnover low, you can significantly cut these costs.

Time savings – Attracting, screening, and onboarding new tenants is an expensive and time-consuming process. From advertising the vacancy and conducting viewings to processing applications and drafting new lease agreements, each step takes time.

Property maintenance – Good tenants who are reliable at cleaning and maintaining your property as though it were their own, help keep your investment in top condition and potentially save you money on maintenance in the long run. If you have a high turnover of tenants who never stay for long, they may not feel as compelled to maintain the property to a high standard as they’re not there long enough to create the same sense of responsibility or attachment.

Enhanced reputation – If your tenants stay for a long time, it signals to prospective tenants that your properties are well-managed and desirable places to live, boosting your reputation as a landlord. This can increase demand for your rentals and potentially allow you to charge more in rent.

How to improve your tenant retention rate

Reducing tenant turnover and improving tenant retention rates is a smart strategy for any property rental business. After all, happy tenants equals a happy landlord. Keeping happy, dependable tenants long-term will help you to save time, money, and stress. However, tenant retention is not always in your control. Of course, you can’t retain all tenants. Sometimes, it’s a case of, it isn’t you, it’s them. Sometimes, tenants need to move on for personal reasons like relocating for a job, outgrowing the space, or other life changes.

While there are many aspects you cannot influence, there are also plenty of factors that you can control – like if a tenant isn’t happy with the service you provide, believes they can get a better deal elsewhere, or finds your property lacking in some way. It’s all about creating an environment so appealing and a service so reliable that tenants can’t imagine living anywhere else. Aim to make your property a place where tenants feel comfortable, happy, and thoroughly supported.

12 effective tenant retention strategies for reducing tenant turnover

1. Communicate effectively with tenants

    Poor communication is the number one cause of breakdowns in almost all relationships. While your tenants don’t want you calling or emailing them every day or even every week, they do need to know that you will always keep them in the loop and respond to their messages quickly. Making it clear that communication lines are always open, communicating clearly, and responding to tenant communications quickly and professionally all help to make tenants feel more connected and valued, build trust, and encourage them to stay longer.

    2. Resolve problems quickly

    Your tenants have the right to a safe and comfortable living environment. If your tenant contacts you with a problem, aim to resolve their issue as quickly as possible. Leaving issues unresolved or tenants living in sub-optimal conditions can cause the tenant to become frustrated, damaging the landlord/tenant relationship and eroding any loyalty they felt towards you.

    3. Set a fair rent price

    There’s nothing more likely to prompt a tenant to up-sticks and leave than money worries. If you want your tenants to feel satisfied with the deal they have and not leave for greener pastures, then it’s important to make sure that the rent you charge is competitive and avoid increasing it too regularly if you can help it.

    4. Maintain the property to a high standard

    Tenants will not stay long if they frequently encounter problems with the property or quality of living. Being proactive about maintaining your property rather than waiting until your tenant reports a problem can help keep tenants happy and your investment in top condition. Perform routine maintenance tasks, like caulking the bathroom, maintaining the condition of windows and doors, and checking for signs of damp and mould at every routine property inspection.

    5. Thoroughly screen prospective tenants

    If it’s long-term, dependable tenants that you’re looking for, it’s important to screen prospective tenants rigorously. Carrying out comprehensive tenant screening can help you look for signs that prospective tenants are financially stable and likely to look after your property. At a minimum, your screening process should involve a detailed background check, employment verification, a credit check, and checking references from previous landlords.

    6. Add value

    To prevent tenants from exploring other options, make sure they feel they’re getting a good deal. Adding little perks and extra conveniences can help improve tenant satisfaction and make them feel valued and cared for. Try upgrading dated appliances, providing high-speed internet, or including utilities in the price of rent to improve your tenant’s comfort and happiness in their home.

    7. Allow pets

    Not all landlords allow tenants to keep pets, so accommodating a tenant’s request to keep a pet can be a major factor in their decision to stay on at your property longer. Not only does it show that you are flexible to their needs, but pet-friendly rentals are harder to find, making them more likely to stay.

    8. Be friendly

    Building good rapport with your tenants is key to a long-lasting relationship. This goes beyond being professional and respectful. Establishing a friendly rapport creates a positive relationship where tenants feel more comfortable coming to you with any issues, which can enhance their satisfaction with your service. Simple gestures like greeting tenants warmly, acknowledging special occasions, and showing a genuine interest in their well-being all help to build a friendly rapport.

    9. Be flexible

    If you want your tenants to stay longer, show understanding and flexibility with their requests where reasonable. For example, if your tenant needs to change the day they pay rent or would like to make a minor change to the property’s décor, don’t be too hasty in saying no. Being accommodating to their needs can make tenants feel respected and valued, improving your relationship and enhancing their rental experience.

    10. Incentivise contract renewals

      A couple of months before your tenant’s contract expires, offer them an incentive to renew their lease. This could be something like one month of free rent or waiving their parking fee. Offering an incentive shows your tenants that you value them and want them to stay, and it could make renewing more attractive than facing the cost and hassle of relocating.

      11. Allow tenants to personalise the property

        If you’re lucky enough to find good, long-term tenants, they may want to personalise your property to make it feel more homely. If tenants are willing to invest money into making their living environment their own, it could be a sign that they’re planning to stay for some time. Whilst you don’t want your property painted in neon colours, allowing the tenant to make subtle, reversible changes to the décor can make a world of difference to their comfort. Just make sure that they run all alterations by you first to maintain control over the property’s appearance.

        12. Request and take onboard feedback

          Finally, if you want tenants to stay longer, don’t be shy about asking for feedback from existing and departing tenants. Ask questions about what they like about renting from you and what areas could be improved. Showing that you care about their opinions and experiences and making changes based on their feedback can significantly enhance tenant satisfaction and retention.

          Most landlords find that maintaining a low tenant turnover makes good business sense. Not only does it help to maintain a reliable stream of rental income, but it also saves significant time and money associated with finding new tenants. Low tenant turnover rates can also help to enhance your reputation and the quality of service you provide as a landlord. Adopt the strategies in this article to start creating positive, long-lasting landlord/tenant relationships and make your rental property a place where tenants want to live for years to come.

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