Being a landlord can be very profitable, but only when circumstances are in your favor. One of the main keys to landlord success is having low tenant turnover and vacancy rates. Finding a tenant who will stay at your property long-term is sometimes a matter of luck. However, there are things you can do as a landlord to encourage tenants to stay on for longer.
How can you get good tenants to renew their leases? The Woodlands Texas property management companies recommend the following practices:
1. Start the renewal process before the lease expires.
Tenants don’t enjoy being in limbo when it comes to where they’ll be living after their lease with you expires. Perhaps you’re assuming your tenants are going to move out, but they in fact want to stay on for another lease term. The best way to let your tenants know you’re interested in having them live at your property longer is to let them know soon.
Beginning the lease renewal process three months before the current lease expires is a good practice for keeping tenants. This ensures both you and your tenants will have the future secured before the current lease runs out. This also is a good time to find out if your tenant in fact does not wish to stay on. If this is the case, you can begin seeking new tenants immediately, rather than waiting for the current lease to expire and risking a vacancy.
A three month window is also a solid amount of time to negotiate any changes in the lease, such as a rent increase. Tenants will likely not choose to leave over a small increase in rent, but surprising them with this increase is not a good practice. Give yourself and your tenants plenty of time to work out the future.
2. Offer incentives for renewing the lease.
If your tenants stay on, you’re going to be saving time and money. Why not spread those savings around? Incentivizing tenants to renew their lease is a great way to keep them on.
One incentive is agreeing not to raise the rent; another may be cutting them a break on the first month’s rent. You may consider allowing your tenants to earn back their security deposit over time. This is a great way to offer an incentive without losing anything yourself. If you want your tenants to stay on, chances are they respect your property and you know they will continue to do so in the future. This means you won’t need their security deposit, and returning it to them is a gesture of trust that is good for your relationship.
3. Address complaints.
There are plenty of bad landlords out there. Chances are your tenants have dealt with one or two in the past. For tenants, moving not only means finding a new property they like at a price they can afford, but finding a good and fair landlord. If you’re a good landlord, your tenants will be much more likely to want to continue living at your property.
A good way to prove to your tenants that you care is by addressing their complaints quickly. If tenants feel you are prioritizing their needs, they’re happy. Be sure to address emergency needs with the gravity they deserve. A broken lock or other safety hazard should be immediately rectified. Other repairs can wait a few days – but the lag time should be reasonable. A tenant shouldn’t have to deal with a broken appliance for months. Aim to resolve every tenant complain within a week of it being made.
Your tenant should clearly know how to reach you. Email is good for non-emergencies, but your tenant should have a way to contact you immediately in case of an emergency, day or night. A good tenant will not call you at unreasonable times unless it’s absolutely necessary, and you can specify times you wish to be contacted in non-emergencies.
Being responsive to the needs of your tenants is an excellent way to make them feel at home on your property and not want to leave.
4. Offer a grace period for rent.
A tenant’s responsibility is to pay the rent on time. However, life happens. Sometimes a tenant is waiting for a check before he or she is able to pay. Other times, it’s possible for busy tenants to simply forget it’s time to pay the rent.
It’s common practice to offer a tenant at least one day grace period before you begin to charge late fees for the rent. A tenant should be aware of the amount of these fees, and the length of this grace period.
5. Offer facts about the local rental market.
If your tenants are waffling on whether or not they want to renew the lease, you should be available to provide them with information about their options. Perhaps they’re looking for a specific concession from you before renewing. Use your own best judgment in these scenarios, or look to Houston property management companies for advice.
Give your tenants information on the local market, explaining why the property they’re renting from you is a good value. Tenants may hesitate to renew with you due to a rent increase, but if all comparable properties are the same price, they are likely to reconsider. Helping your tenants make an informed decision makes a good impression. It also shows them you really care about renewing their lease.
Finding the right tenants and keeping them on can be an involved process. Green Residential has extensive experience in keeping properties rented, and can help you find and keep your dream tenants. Contact Green Residential today to learn more.