As any good landlord knows, the first step in filling your rentals with quality tenants is a well-rounded screening and interview process. We’ve written extensively on both tenant screening and interviewing prospective tenants, so we know you’ve got that in the bag. So what comes next? You have great tenant who pays on time and respects your property. Great! Now, how do you keep them?
First, let’s discuss why it’s beneficial to keep a tenant rather than cycling them out every time the lease is up. The answer is very simple: don’t fix what isn’t broken. If you have a situation that’s working for you financially and professionally, it’s better to maintain that stability for as long as you can. You may very well find another great tenant after this one decides to leave, but it’s still an unknown risk. Better to stick with what you know is working.
Okay! How do you make sure you can keep your best tenants? Here are a few pointers.
Be sparing with rent increases.
One of the biggest reasons a tenant decides to move on is a rent hike that’s just too rich for their blood, or too frequent for their liking. It’s always tempting to raise rental costs when the market’s in high demand, but you have to weigh the cost of potentially losing a great tenant. Consider whether the extra $50-$100 a month is worth losing a renter who pays on time and treats your property well. If you want them to stay, consider keeping their rent the same for the next leasing period.
Keep your property in good condition.
If there are maintenance requests or problems with the property, respond to them in a timely and professional manner, every time. We’ve written about how to find a good handyman for your rental property before, and it’s a good idea to review and have a dependable maintenance person you can call on for emergencies or general fixes. Don’t leave a good tenant in the lurch when things go wrong or they’ll have little reason to stay on. People who choose to rent rather than own their own home often do so to avoid all the nitty-gritty maintenance issues, so you have to be willing and ready to step up.
Select tenants with stability who will be in one place for a while.
If you’ve used a proper screening service, than you’ll have a good idea of who your tenant is based on the work history, credit report, and previous residences. Students, seasonal workers, and people who move frequently aren’t great choices for a long-term tenant, though they’re great for filling a spot temporarily. If you want someone for longer than a single lease period, however, you should look for someone with steady employment who tends to stay in the area.
Offer rewards for longer leases.
A great way to ensure someone stays for a longer term is to offer bonuses or rewards for signing a longer lease. When it’s time to renew their lease, offer your best tenants a cash-back bonus or other special reward for signing a two-year lease. You’ll be guaranteed a good tenant, and they have one more great reason to stay!
As always, we recommend our RentalConnect program as an added tool for selecting the right tenants for your property. RentalConnect offers property owners and landlords a great alternative to the expense of full tenant screening. This service requires no on-site visit, sign-up, or membership fees, making it extra convenient. The $34.95 service fee is paid by the applicant. Available 24/7, RentalConnect is fast, easy, secure, and delivers reports needed to make an informed decision, including a credit report, a national criminal search, and a national eviction search. Reach out to us for more details!
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