No landlord wants to deal with high tenant turnover -- it's expensive and time consuming to vet new renters. But more importantly, once you have good tenants, they're a gift. They pay rent on time and in full, they take good care of the property, and they're just pleasant to have around. Here are four tips to make sure they don't go leave anytime soon.

1. Be Transparent About the Lease

Don't rush your tenants through signing the lease; make sure they know that you're looking out for them. Explaining to tenants about your company and your lease makes them feel more like an equal, respected party in the landlord-tenant relationship. Do your tenants know who to call if a pipe breaks or the furnace fails? Do they know they can pay their rent online?

Conversely, this also means making sure your tenants know what they must do, or aren't allowed to do at all. If your lease mandates that they mow the grass or shovel snow, or that they may not replace the shower heads, or something else that's not standard -- make sure your tenant is aware of that to avoid running into problems in the future.

2. Communicate Honestly and Openly

Maybe your tenant has a house guest who is overstaying their welcome, or you have reason to believe there's a pet that's not allowed, per your lease agreement. It's tempting, and easy, to come down on a tenant like a ton of bricks, but doing that can alienate an otherwise excellent tenant. Instead, enter into a polite dialogue with them. Ease into the topic and don't intimidate them, and look for a compromise. If you have to get back to your tenant about something, do it as quickly and thoroughly as you can so they're not tearing out their hair waiting for you. And always remember: At the end of the discussion, the tenant should still feel respected, even if they're disappointed with the outcome.

3. Stay on Top of Repairs

Nothing makes a tenant feel like they're not valued quite like when you delay making repairs. Always repair vital things such as toilets, pipes, and windows as quickly as possible, but make sure you move swiftly on other repairs that seem minor, too -- just because it's not an urgent situation for you doesn't mean it's not important to them. If it's going to be a while before you can get it fixed -- say, because your maintenance team is stretched thin -- tell them that and give them an estimated date for the repair, so they know you respect them and aren't blowing them off.

4. Consider Letting Them Do Repairs and DIY Projects

Presumably, you're a mature, competent adult. How would you feel if you weren't allowed to put up a curtain rod or touch up some paint?

You're gambling here on the maturity and skill of your tenants, but if your tenant voices an interest in doing some repairs or sprucing up, consider letting them do it rather than sending in a maintenance team or saying no. It saves you money, and lets your tenant know you take them seriously, while also allowing a tenant to leave their mark on a property, which is bound to make them feel more attached and at-home.

POSTED December 03 2014 1:37 PM

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