First of all, let’s think about what makes keeping tenants the best option. Cost is a major factor, as is time. The average landlord spends over 40 hours and $1000 to find and sign a new tenant, each time. Right there you see plenty of incentive to keep the ones you’ve got.
Long term tenants tend to be happier, quieter, and much easier to deal with when it comes to maintenance issues or anything else that might require patience. New tenants can be unpredictable, as you always take a risk with an unknown quantity.
To help keep your tenants happy and wanting to live on your property, there are some crucial actions to keep in your arsenal.
One great idea is to give tenants a break on their rent for renewing. After all, you’re likely saving a good chunk of change by keeping them, so why not pass on a bit of the windfall? You want the good tenants to stay, so there’s likely no worry with giving the security deposit back as a show of thanks. Alternately, you could agree to not raise the rent. It’s as good as a price drop, because rental prices tend to rise across the board, no matter where you live. The tenant will appreciate it and so will your bank account, in the long run.
As we mentioned with the reasons for non-renewal, it’s important to keep the channels of communication open. This means responding immediately to any problems that need your attention, sending out someone to fix anything that’s broken as soon as possible. To really cement the business relationship, try to be there in person where possible. Check in on work progress, ask how the tenant is doing, and generally make sure you’re a positive presence.
Similarly, you can built the tenant-landlord relationship by making sure everything is kept up to date, from smoke alarms to furnace filters and beyond. Being proactive really shows a tenant that you’re working in their interest, around the clock. It also keeps the property in tip-top shape, meaning that the tenant will be more than happy and might even feel proud to live there.
Something that might seem too obvious to consider is an action that we too often find overlooked: simply asking tenants to renew their rental agreement. You might assume that they will renew if they want to, which is true, but once again a little communication goes a long way. A few months before the lease is up, let the tenant know that you value their presence and are excited to keep them around for years to come. If you’re already being a decent landlord, it’ll be a nice bonus for the tenant to hear that they’re wanted and welcome. It might just make the difference when it comes time for the tenant to consider what to do next.
As long as you’re following the generally accepted guidelines on how to be a good landlord, you don’t have much to worry about when it comes time to renew. But it can help tremendously to keep in mind a few tips for keeping your current tenants in the building.