Addressing a tenant’s concerns quickly and efficiently is one of the most important things you can do as a landlord and property owner to improve tenant retention. It’s even more important than having competitive rental rates, nice amenities, and move-in specials, like free rent for the first month.
Most tenants will appreciate amenities and a good deal on rent, but those aren’t always the main factors that will make them stay long-term. At the end of their lease, your tenants can find other properties that offer a similar rental rate and affordable rent. What makes a tenant renew a lease with their current landlord is often the result of how maintenance and repairs have been handled during their tenancy.
In this article, you’ll learn several ways to improve tenant retention by prioritizing maintenance and repairs. Ultimately, the best way to find and retain great tenants is to hire a reputable Houston property management team. However, if you’re managing your own properties, the strategies outlined in this article will help.
Why you need to stay on top of maintenance and repairs
Maintenance is important because it keeps your property in good shape, ensures that it is safe and habitable, and helps maintain both the value and curb appeal. Nobody wants to live in a house that isn’t being properly maintained.
For example, having a set of crumbling stairs visible from the street will diminish your curb appeal. It can also make your property deemed unsafe for your tenants. This is an issue you would need to fix as fast as possible to remain compliant with Texas landlord-tenant laws and regulations.
The consequences of neglecting maintenance and repairs can include fines from the city and lawsuits filed by your tenants. If you get sued and your tenants win a judgment against you, it could cost you thousands of dollars. The best way to avoid this potential is to have a reliable, reputable team of maintenance personnel you can call when your properties need work.
5 strategies to strengthen tenant retention with superior maintenance
As a landlord, you have several options when it comes to boosting tenant retention, and staying on top of maintenance happens to be one of the most impactful. Tenants who feel taken care of are more likely to renew their lease at the end of the term, and when your goal is to get long-term tenants, this is a must. Here are some of the best strategies you can use to provide superior maintenance services to your tenants.
- Be proactive
Being proactive means not waiting for your tenant to inform you when it’s time for maintenance that’s expected. For example, if you outline specific maintenance tasks in your lease, make sure you take care of them on schedule and don’t wait for your tenant to tell you something is needed.
For example, if you have a large property and trim tree branches away from buildings every fall, make sure you initiate that process and don’t wait for your tenant to call you about a problem with branches on the roof.
Some of the most common maintenance tasks you might need to perform on a regular schedule include:
- Testing fire alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, changing batteries, and installing new units when necessary.
- Replacing dirty air filters in HVAC units
- Routine landscaping
- Testing major appliances to make sure they’re functional
All of these things benefit your tenant, and tenants are more likely to renew their lease when they know their landlord is looking out for them. Too often, tenants are used to having absent, uncaring landlords who don’t bother to maintain the property or the appliances. They’re used to being left to manage things on their own and find workarounds to inconvenient problems their landlord won’t fix.
When you can show your tenants you will fix problems immediately, you earn their trust and that’s how you get lease renewals and long-term quality tenants. Being proactive will help you increase tenant satisfaction, which ultimately increases your retention rate.
- Make the maintenance and repair request process user-friendly
People are busy and don’t have time to mess around with complicated maintenance processes. Your tenants shouldn’t have to struggle to figure out how to submit a request or jump through hoops to make it happen.
Avoid frustrating your tenants by creating a user-friendly maintenance request process. All you need is a simple online form they can fill out that goes directly to your email and lets you know what they need. If you make it too hard for tenants to get work done, they might just move and then you’ll have to fill a vacancy.
- Be flexible
One thing you might encounter during the process of handling repairs and maintenance is a tenant who needs a little more notice before the repair can be made. For example, they might need a little extra notice because they have personal belongings blocking access to the area you need to fix.
It’s important to be flexible with your tenants while still maintaining your authority. Tenants don’t need to be present for repairs to be handled, but if you don’t work with them when they need reasonable flexibility, they will feel disrespected.
- Conduct regular inspections
The fewer issues your tenants have to deal with, the happier they’ll be with you as a landlord. The number one way to prevent major issues is to perform routine inspections. During your regular inspections, you can verify that your tenants are caring for your property and spot unreported/unnoticed damage before it gets worse.
For example, you might see signs of water damage in the ceiling, which means you can fix the leak before it does serious damage. Believe it or not, some tenants don’t realize that what looks like a small amount of water damage can actually be severe.
- Hire a property management company
If managing repairs and maintenance is taking too much time out of your day, the best thing you can do is hire a property management company.
Let the pros at Green Residential manage your properties
At Green Residential, we have decades of experience helping landlords maintain the value of their properties while keeping their tenants happy. We provide top-notch, professional maintenance services for landlords in the Houston area, along with any other property management services you may need.
If you’re ready to lighten your load and increase tenant retention, contact us today for a free property analysis to learn more about how we can help.