Finding a great tenant is every landlord and property manager's goal. It may take some effort, but a quality tenant is worth it, and once you have them, you'll want to make sure you treat them right. Of course, you'll want to treat every tenant equally and you shouldn't show favoritism, but there are ways that you can make tenants a little more comfortable if you hope that they'll stay with you through another lease term. Thank you's go a long way with some tenants, and it encourages good behavior.
Choosing to reward good behavior not only helps out those tenants that make your life as a landlord/property manager just a little easier, but it may help to shape those tenants that aren't quite up to the level that you thought they would be when you accepted them into your property. Choose the perks that you can afford when you sign the lease with the tenant and let them know that you have these in place. If they know, they'll be more likely to stick to the rules to receive that reward.Rewarding on-time payments.
If your tenant pays on time, it really does make your life easier so that you can, in turn, pay your own bills on time without feeling stretched and stressed. There are several ways you can choose to reward regular payments. Check out a few of the following and see what your budget allows.
Keeping a great tenant at the end of the lease.
- Late rent forgiveness - For a twelve month lease, you may wish to allow one late payment for the duration of the lease that does not incur late fees. If you choose to take this path, though, make sure to spell out very plainly when you must begin the filings for an eviction if the rent is not paid. Just because you are forgiving the late fees does not give the tenant a free pass to completely skip the month.
- Reduced rent/free month - Once again, this makes more sense for a longer lease and will depend on your own budget for the property, but you may wish to look at offering either a reduced rent for one month or even a free month if you've found a truly great tenant. Some property managers will look into this as a way to draw new tenants in as well.
- A gift card to a local restaurant or store - This is a very affordable option and if you have several properties in the same area you may even be able to make a deal with the business that cuts down on your cost for the gift card. This is a small thank you, but it still goes a long way and shows the tenant that you appreciate their efforts to abide by the lease that you both have signed.
You may wish to couple one of a few ideas with the earlier ones to encourage your tenant to stay. There will be times when you've done everything correctly and they will still move, but extra costs always come with changing over a property to a new tenant, so if you can find a way to encourage a quality tenant to stay on with you it will help give you peace of mind since you already know the tenant that will be in your property.
- Limited or no rent increase - This will depend on your budget, of course, but often tenants leave to find a cheaper property. It may cost you less to keep a tenant on that has a proven record with you rather than begin the process of find a new tenant. Check your budget and see what you can do and what the current market prices are in the surrounding area.
- Flexible lease terms - If you've found a great tenant, you may wish to be flexible with the lease terms if it will encourage them to renew the lease with you. You may think about locking in a rental rate for a longer lease period that will keep them there.
- Offer upgrades - Choosing to offer upgrades to a property helps all parties involved. Your property will be worth more after the upgrades and the tenant is provided with new counter tops, appliances, carpet, etc etc... Keep options open to them and think about offering a couple options to them to see what would benefit them more. If they feel they are involved they are more likely to feel that they've received something with you that they may not have received elsewhere.
Flexibility and gratitude help a tenant feel wanted and appreciated. Make sure you keep communication open with them and promptly see to their requests. If they feel at home in your property, they'll be more likely to stay and more likely to treat it as if they owned the property themselves. Great tenants can take work, but it's worth it in the end.