Having to replace a good tenant can be very expensive. The final costs of replacing a tenant can easily exceed $4,000. Accordingly, it’s very important that you try to hold onto your favorite tenants for as long as possible. Offering competitive rental rates and keeping your property in good condition are obvious requirements in this effort, but consider these five suggestions for extra steps you can take to keep good tenants signed on.
Offer a Longer Lease Renewal
If you normally offer one year leases, try offering a two year lease (or even longer) the next time your favorite tenant is up for renewal. While this is technically a market gamble for both of you, from your tenant’s perspective it will seem as if you’re offering them the opportunity to avoid rent increases for the next couple of years. This will encourage their loyalty to you and the property. The income stability of a tenant with a good payment history can often outweigh the potential downsides of missing the opportunity to increase the rent for a few years.
Give a Lease Renewal Gift
The small things matter, and that can be especially true when you’re trying to keep a good tenant. The next time a tenant renews their lease, offer them a renewal gift. It doesn't need to be much, and even a $50 gift card to a fantastic local restaurant can be enough to make a tenant appreciate you. Pair this with a small gift for the holidays and you'll generate even more goodwill.
Give Them Opportunities for Feedback
It’s important to make sure your favorite tenants feel that their concerns are being noted, and this requires more than simply waiting for them to call with a problem. Be proactive about communicating, and actively reach out to them from time to time. If you’re renting a multi-unit property, make sure to have a comment box in a common area, along with a placard that reminds tenants of your contact information. It’s also a good idea to send them a letter two or three times a year letting them know that you’re available to discuss any concerns that they may have.
Offer an Apartment Update
Part of the appeal in finding a new apartment can be that vacant apartments have often been newly renovated, or at the very least given a new paint job and touch up. To recapture this feeling for your favorite tenants, particularly if they’ve been renting for several years, offer them an apartment update for their next lease renewal. This can be a simple repainting, but it’s also a good opportunity to accomplish two objectives from things you were planning to do anyway. For example, instead of simply stating that you’re going to replace their stove (if you were already planning on doing so), tell them you’re doing it because they’re a good tenant and you appreciate them.
Offer a Cleaning Service
In the same vein, offer them a visit from a cleaning service when they renew their lease. A good, deep cleaning can make a difference that is just as dramatic as an actual renovation. Tenants will feel like they’ve genuinely stepped into a brand new apartment, but one with all the comforts of their familiar home.
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