The most challenging factor in property management for any property owner is finding and retaining high-quality tenants. It is best to screen and interview applicants before renting any prospective tenant for your property. High-quality tenants are difficult to find, and by quality tenants, we mean tenants who can pay their rent on time, and tenants who are willing to care for minor issues that arise in the rental units. The tenants are the customer, and without them, property investors and property managers wouldn’t have a place in this industry.
It is true that retaining a tenant is cheaper than looking for a new one, therefore, the need to keep those high-quality tenants close to you. Business is about relationships, and how we treat others will directly affect the business; this being a real estate industry, it will suffer from poor relationships. How a property manager treat tenants is quite crucial as this determines their relationship. The landlord has to make sure proper steps are taken that will strengthen the trust between all tenants and the Landlord. It is important to remember Fair Housing – treat all tenants with the same level of respect and care, even when they present challenges. Equal Housing Opportunity matters.
Some of the ideas a property manager may use to make his tenants happy include:
Remember special dates
Tenants will always feel appreciated if the property manager can celebrate some of their special times with them. These special dates may include birthdays, graduations, and weddings. It may not necessarily mean being physically present for the occasion but sending postcards or birthday gifts may play a crucial role in showing that you are a caring property owner. At InterWest, we send personal signed cards to acknowledge and celebrate weddings or special events of our customers. We send congratulatory Birthday announcements to celebrate with our tenants on their birthdays. It’s about the customer, and helping them to feel a part of our InterWesting Family.
Security is everyone’s concern, and the Law demands we act to secure a tenant’s home with proper locks. No one likes to live in a place that is full of criminal activities and has little or no security measures in place. Most property owners lose their tenants who don’t feel safe in their home, or who may have maintenance issues surrounding issues of security of their livingspace. Some actions taken by property owners include installation of security lights around the property, installation of a reinforced gates or controlled entry systems, and installation of CCTV cameras to help in investigations in case of burglaries. These measures can sometimes get expensive, but can pay off in the end in retaining tenants.
Strategic energy investments
It would be wise for a property manager to install energy efficient devices such as LED light bulbs, aerators for faucets, and low-flow toilets and fixtures. These are relatively inexpensive and provide a tenant with a ‘value add’ to their rent prices. An owner could also install solar panels. This form of energy mechanism helps the tenant pay fewer energy bills, thus assisting the tenant to save more money on energy. As a standard practice, InterWest Properties is mindful when replacing lights and fixtures to use LED bulbs, and to exchange faucets and toilets with low-flow variety when the need arises. This is another way of ensuring friendly tenants are happy, and they will not feel the need to vacate a property.
Keep your property in good condition
Rental units must be upgraded from time to time, and investors often get comfortable with the tenants paying rent for a decade or more, just to walk in and wonder ‘what happened?’ Well, the cabinets that were already 20 years old are now 30 years old. The flooring that was 10 years old is now 20 years old, and every system in the home has a useful life expectancy. While it can’t work miracles, preventive maintenance is crucial to help in making sure the property is desirable to both the existing tenants and potential customers. For a tenant to be happy his/her house should be painted after a certain period, this is because the paint is prone to wearing off and this registers as a kind gesture to the tenant. Often, if a tenant is offered a few gallons of paint, they will paint the home themselves, saving the owner labor expenses. Do you have a high-quality long term tenant? Why not toss in a carpet cleaning once a year? One crucial factor a property manager should note is that he/she should always respond to maintenance requests on time.
Be fair with rent increases
A significant reason why tenants move out of their rental homes is due to frequent and unreasonable rent increases. Many property owners are tempted to increase their rents especially when the market is in high demand. This works in an owner’s favor as they can make more profits in the short-run, but it does not work out well for their tenants as some are not able to handle the raise in rent. They often abandon their rental homes or invite unsavory roommates that are often not disclosed, only to be uncovered by unit evaluations. If you want a tenant in Portland, Oregon to stay longer, it will be advisable to keep your rent prices constant with the quality of home you’re offering for rent, or to make sure that the value of services you’re offering is above and beyond expectations.
Tenants want a property manager who are responsive to their needs. Therefore, to make your tenants happy and long-term, you should learn to never neglect them, and always provide feedback for any issue brought to your attention by the tenants.