Tenant retention continues to be one of the biggest challenges in rental real estate. Every time you lose a tenant, it’s a small but unmistakable punch in your financial gut until you can find someone to take that person’s (or family’s) place.
You can try various tactics to improve tenant retention, but one of the most effective is showing gratitude. This is true for any business that hopes to keep its customers; as they say, you’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
So this holiday season, why not put some effort into showing gratitude to your tenants? It will make them feel like they belong to your community.
It could persuade them to stay longer and work more from their end to improve the tenant-landlord relationship. If you desire greater tenant retention, consider the following seven ways to show your appreciation.
1. Put Together a Gift
Gifts are one of the simplest expressions of gratitude, yet they can speak louder than words. Who doesn’t like an unexpected gift on the doorstep when you arrive home after a long day?
The gift doesn’t have to be large … and it probably shouldn’t be if you have a lot of units. You don’t want to go broke!
It could be a simple gift basket, a holiday ornament, a memento of the neighborhood, or another classy but inexpensive gift. Include a thank-you card so your central message of gratitude is clear as part of the gesture.
2. Inquire About Your Tenants’ Well-Being
This is the perfect time of year to visit each unit and check in with your tenants. Ask about their premises and make sure they have no outstanding complaints or maintenance issues that you failed to handle.
Without getting too personal, you may also inquire politely about a tenant’s health, holiday plans, family, or other details to show you’re interested in their general well-being. It might surprise renters to have someone show a genuine interest in their everyday lives, and it can leave a very good impression.
People will be more likely to stick around and let their friends know about having a landlord who seems genuinely to care.
3. Make Some Updates
In the interest of saving money, some landlords don’t upgrade their holdings to meet the latest trends. The bright-orange linoleum flooring in apartment C might still be in great shape, but it probably won’t make most of your likely tenants very happy.
Invest some extra savings into make a few updates to each unit over the holidays. You might put in new flooring, paint the walls, replace appliances, or fix a rusty door. It’s gratifying for tenants to receive an upgrade of their living quarters beyond routine maintenance.
4. Grant a One-Month Rent Deduction
For a single month, perhaps in December, why not take $25 to $50 off the rental cost as a holiday gift to your tenants? The amount won’t break you, and it will endear your tenants to you. A rent deduction is so rare that it will feel like a special gift.
Again, include a thank-you card with this gift so your tenants understand it’s a gift that expresses your gratitude. It’s vital for them to understand the value they signify to you, if you want to maintain a good relationship with them.
5. Be More Accessible
Starting with this holiday season, you can make yourself more available in response to tenants’ needs, and more promptly rather than procrastinating. Take a day or two to go through old maintenance requests and complaints and address as many as you can.
At the very least, you might acknowledge each one so the tenants know you’re aware of it and ready to address the issue, even if you can’t get to it right away. You might also increase the times and methods by which tenants can reach you.
If you’ve only been accessible via an office phone number, for example, you might give out your cell phone number as well … with discretion, of course. You could also present social media or email avenues if you haven’t used these forms of communication in the past.
In order to catch up on requests and be present for your tenants, you might extend your office hours for a few weeks. Let everyone know this is their opportunity to address end-of-year needs. Tenants will appreciate the gesture, even if they don’t need anything at this time.
6. Lighten Up on the Rules
This method of showing gratitude should be reserved strictly for your very best tenants. You can probably let a couple of rules slide under certain circumstances for your excellent tenants without having them walk all over you in response.
For example, if a tenant who is always on time with the rent misses a payment around Christmas, you might waive the late fee this one time. Their gratitude will likely be as evident as yours.
Of course, it’s essential that you don’t allow tenants to do anything illegal, break serious rules, or put someone else in danger. It’s all right to let the less-important rules slide around the holidays; just don’t get carried away.
7. Hire the Property Managers at Green Residential
If you really want to show you value your tenants, give them the gift of a more professionally managed property. Maybe you do a solid job keeping up with DIY landlord responsibilities, but it’s difficult to maintain consistently high quality when you’re not an expert in every field.
Ideally, tenants shouldn’t have to wait until you have time to meet their landscaping and maintenance requests. When you have a property manager, such requests will be handled promptly and professionally by experts in the industry.
There won’t be any forgetting or procrastinating, and tenants will be overjoyed by the higher quality of living this small change brings. If you’re ready to take the leap from DIY landlord to using property managers for your rentals and the appreciation of your tenants, give us a call.
We’ll happily service your rental in Houston and any of the surrounding region, which will make you shine as a landlord, just in time for the holidays.