If you’re the landlord of a rental property, it’s important to think of your tenants as your customers. These are the people paying you money each month, and if you treat them well, they’ll return in kind. There are many easy ways you can keep your tenants happier (and more likely to stick around), and almost all of them are founded onbasic customer service principles.
The Value of Keeping Tenants Happy
Happy tenants tend to yield a positive return in several ways:
- They pay rent on time, every time. Happy tenants are far less likely to forget a rent payment or fail to pay. Even if they suffer financial hardship, they’ll actively try to get you your money.
- They stick around, lowering vacancy rates. Satisfied tenants are much less likely to leave, especially suddenly, meaning you’ll have far lower vacancy rates.
- They’ll work with you on issues. If and when a tenant has an issue with your property, they’ll be much more likely to work it out with you. They’ll collaborate and discuss things with you, rather than simply getting into an argument or making demands.
So how can you keep them happier?
Make Things Easy for Them
First, try to make their life easier if you can. Set up an online portal so they can pay rent with a couple of clicks, rather than having them mail you a check. Give them multiple phone numbers they can use to reach someone if the property needs immediate attention. Make it easy for them to review documents, move in, and move out.
One of the best approaches to take here is to enlist thehelp of a property management company. You’ll have to pay for these services, but you can sit back and rest assured that your tenants will get everything they need.
Be Clear About Rules and Expectations Upfront
You’ll have significant flexibility in how you structure the rules for living at your property. Most tenants will happily abide by those rules—unless they change on the fly, or were unclear from the start. Don’t assume your tenant will read your entire lease agreement, and definitely don’t count on them reading your mind. Explain your rules and expectations clearly and unambiguously, from the start of your relationship.
Be Polite and Friendly
You don’t have to be best friends with your tenants, but it takes little effort to be polite and friendly in your interactions. Smile at them when you meet in person, and get to know them a little. When you talk to them over the phone or via text message, go out of your way to make it a pleasant experience.
Respond to Repair and Maintenance Requests Immediately
Occasionally, your tenants will reach out to you with a request for a repair or maintenance to the property. When this happens, try to respond immediately. If you can’t address the issue right away, at least explain to them when you’ll be able to address it. The more transparent you are here, the better; most tenants will be patient as long as you’re honest. Again, you can delegate these responsibilities to a property management company to make things easier for yourself.
Listen to Feedback and Complaints
Listen to feedback from your tenants. Are there features of the property that they hate? Is there something that could make them more comfortable? You don’t have to respond to every request or complaint, but even a few adjustments could make your tenants happier.
Beautify and Improve the Property
Spend some time actively improving your property in whichever ways you can. If you have the time and money, you can issue renovations that make the home more comfortable or more functional. Otherwise, you can commit to smaller improvements,like beautifying the yard. Any effort you spend making the property better is going to be noticed.
Though optional, consider leaving gifts for your most loyal or longest-renting tenants. Small, simple gestures like leaving them a plate of homemade cookies or sending them a holiday card can reinforce their desire to stay here.
Be Mindful of Your Pricing
Finally, be mindful of your rent pricing. Obviously, you need to cover your expenses and stay competitive in the market, but if you can offer a discount to your best tenants, consider doing it. Additionally, if you must increase rent prices, do so gradually, with plenty of advanced notice.
These strategies won’t cost you much time or money, but they can instantly make your tenants more comfortable and more satisfied. With happier tenants, your life as a landlord will be massively easier—and you won’t have to deal with the turnover and vacancy that can render some investment properties unprofitable.