7 effective ways to encourage tenant renewals
Every landlord’s dream: clean and considerate tenants, who look after your properties with personal care and orderliness, who proceed to make payments on time and renew their leases while prolonging their much-appreciated living habits. And, while you may have an arsenal of methods for dealing with unruly or difficult tenants, it is less likely that landlords and residential leasing companies have mastered the art of keeping the best tenants around.
The difference between a tenant wanting to renew their lease at your property or search for a new one comes down to just a few affordable acts that show appreciation and, in turn, ensure that the property is respected and well looked after-- which most residential property managers or owners would say is worth the extra effort.
Here, we’ve listed 7 effective ways to encourage your favourite tenants to remain in your property.
Know your tenants.
If they are good tenants, you may be surprised at your commonalities when getting to know them on a more personal level. Maybe not on “best buddy” terms, but it is important to develop a good relationship to reinforce trust and respect for one another. Keeping track of things like birthdays and anniversaries; taking an interest in your tenants’ career or studies; simply catering on a personal level with them goes a very long way in terms of the tenants’ ease and comfortability with you. As the landlord, you are a major aspect of your tenants’ lives, and your attitude and choice to show you care about your tenants can be very meaningful.
Small gifts can make a BIG difference.
Something as simple as a small gift card to a favourite restaurant or nearby grocery store, or a simple succulent plant can be a great influencer for your tenant to want to stay at your property. We all have memories of gestures such as these turning our days around, and you can have a positive impact on your tenants’ lives just the same-- and encourage them to want to stay for the long run!
Don’t raise the price without notice.
If you have a tenant you’d like to keep around, make sure they are aware of any potential rent increases on their next monthly rental bill. As the market increases, rent increases, but if the tenant has been an extraordinary tenant, why not offer a small rent discount after one year? Exceptional tenants are valuable, and worth keeping around. You will reap the rewards of their upkeep of your property in the future.
Be as prompt as possible in fixing or replacing appliances.
Remembering that it’s your property you are investing in, and therefore your upkeep and upgrades are beneficial for the future of the building. Waiting to fix or replace old and worn appliances will rarely save you money, or encourage caring tenants to renew. Vacancy can be the result of simply a lack of upkeep in appliances, so staying on top of repairs is essential. Budgeting a small amount of your property’s value per year to fulfill repairs is a reasonable investment.
Allow animals (if possible).
For that wonderful tenant whose pet is a part of the family, allowing the animal’s residency can be the very reason your resident chooses to stay. “I have a service dog, so I do get to keep her [where I rent]” says Ashley Vanhatter of Toronto, “but [the landlords] are very strict. I’m not even allowed to have her go to the bathroom anywhere on the building’s property, even if I clean it up right away. I am forced to walk her off the property to go to the bathroom.” Rules such as these can prevent your tenants from feeling like a trusted and appreciated resident.
Consideration for the environment is a must.
“If [a landlord] is really accommodating with setting up composting/recycling systems, that determines if I want to stay!” Alicia Parkin, currently residing in Kitchener, Ontario, and having rented multiple properties, says of her experience. Not only does a service such as this leave less hassle for your tenants, but it shows that you care about the environment, reflecting on your abilities and character.
Practice light leniency in partnership with rewards when it comes to on-time payments.
Avoid threatening messages if rent isn’t paid on the day it is due. Allowing a grace period of a few days, to a maximum of a week with just one reminder, is usually fine if late payments are not a common occurrence. Frightening off a tenant who usually pays on time is not worth the hassle of finding a new one. In addition, throwing in little rewards for six months of on-time payments, such as a 5% discount on the next month’s rent, will surely encourage appreciated tenants to stick around.
Needless to say, the time, effort, and money put into searching for new tenants make for a begrudging task. The most profitable, time efficient, and pleasurable method to go about renting out your properties is to treat the tenants that care about your property and are excited to call it home with a little extra love. Such practices won’t break the bank-- but they might end up providing you with less long term expenses, less stress, better reviews, and a more profitable and thriving property.