Tenant Retention Strategy
The ultimate goal in maintaining a rentable property is to get that cash dancing into your bank account.
While the physical location of your property plays a huge role in whether a tenant decides to continue renting from you, there are many neat little tricks that you can use to make them want to stay.
So what exactly should you do?
1. Develop a retention goal
As with any good strategy, you need to have a set of goals. What lengths are you willing to go to keep your tenant happy? An example of a goal that you might have may be to try and respond to any queries that your tenant has within 24 hours. This would mean that you will need to keep your mobile close at hand and to keep checking it regularly for new notifications. Thankfully that shouldn’t be too hard to do considering that we are pretty much glued to our phones these days anyway!
Of course there is only so much you can do to make your tenant stay.
A tenant may choose not to renew their lease because the current building space simply cannot accommodate for all their needs. However, all is not lost! If your tenant did in fact enjoy living in your property, they may even put in a good word to their friends.
Who knows? Their friends might even become your new tenant!
2. Assess your property
Do a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunities and threats) analysis of your property. This allows you to look at your property from different angles and assist you in deciding what the selling point of your property could be. This will make you more aware of all the positives and potential downfalls of your property.
To help you with filling out your SWOT table, consider the following things:
a. The physical condition of the property – Is there anything that needs to be fixed or replaced?
b. Location of your property – Think about its proximity to universities or workplace, as well as nearby amenities. What are the neighbours like too?
c. How “in demand” your property is on the market – Are there any newer homes that have just been built in the nearby area?
d. The structure of your house – How soundproof are the rooms?
e. What demographic would your house best suit – For example if it was a smaller apartment, it may be better suited for a student than for a couple hoping to start a family
This information should also be updated regularly (perhaps once a year) as many changes can occur in the world of property development during this time. So don’t forget to do a new SWOT analysis from time to time.
3. Create a tenant profile
As creepy as this may sound, it is actually a good idea to create a brief document that compiles key information about your current tenant.
Things you should include:
a. Basic information (including contact details)
b. Lease termination date
c. Their tenant history
d. Maintenance and service history
The last point is actually the most important. There are sometimes repairs that you may decide to carry out for the tenant even though it is beyond your scope of responsibility in the lease.
By having a record of all the extra work that you put in to make your tenant’s residence as comfortable as possible, you can always bring it up as a polite reminder when it is nearing the time of renewing the lease.
Your extra level of attentiveness may be just what they need to solidify their decision in renewing the lease.
4. Have a good contact list
When appliances go haywire or when the property is damaged, the first person your tenant calls will probably be you.
Since it is your responsibility to provide these repair services, it is a good idea to have a few numbers on hand that gives you quick access to different repair services.
The tap in the sink started leaking you say? That’s not a big problem, I’ll scroll through my phone to get the plumber to check it out.
The porch light isn’t working even though you’ve just changed the light bulb? I’ll just call the electrician for you.
The wallpaper in the living room has started peeling? No problem, I’ll just get some contractors to come over and fix that in a jiffy.
With an array of things that can possibly go wrong in the home, it is always better if you already have the numbers of a variety of repair services. The last thing you want to do when your tenant calls about a faulty light switch is to panic, and then spend hours trawling through the internet to find a trustworthy repairman to check it out for you. Having a prompt response time to your tenant’s concerns or complaints is something that they will consider when deciding whether to keep renting from you or not.
So do your homework beforehand, and compile a list of repair services. Keep their phone numbers stored on your phone so you can find them easily.
5. Do a tenant survey
Whether or not your tenant decides to keep renting your property, ask them nicely if they can spare a few minutes to do a quick survey or answer a few of your questions. They have, after all, experienced first-hand what it is like to live in your property. No one can be a better expert in listing all the positives and negatives about the home like they can.
So use this opportunity to find out what made them decide to stay or leave. You can then work on the things that they’ve pointed out to further improve their experience as a returning tenant, or to avoid making the same mistakes in future for the next tenant.
6. Talk to your tenant
Having a regular schedule for communicating with your tenant is a good tenant retention strategy. Now I’m not saying that you should be in their face all the time, and to keep checking up on them with creepy phone calls at night. Instead, maybe send them a quick message every month to ask them if there’s anything that needs repairing.
Also if you ever decide to do house visits, make sure you give your tenant enough notice in advance. There’s nothing people hate most than having a “surprise house inspection” – they will definitely remember this, and it will certainly be put down as one of their reasons to move out of your property.
You should also ensure your tenant knows your number so that they can give you a ring when they have any problems. You should also encourage them to leave a voicemail if you aren’t able to pick up the phone, or to send you a quick message instead.
At the end of the day your responsibility in retaining a tenant is to basically keep your tenant happy. It doesn’t matter how you do it, but if a tenant loves the experience of living in your property, they are a lot more likely to stay!