Retaining Good Tenants
Tenant screening has a measurable impact on tenant retention. Early detection of tenants who could cause damage to the property, break their lease, or pay rent late helps property managers avoid many headaches. We suggest running income, credit, and criminal background verifications on each tenant. Proper screening increases the odds that the leaseholder will take care of the property and pay their rent on time. When calling references, be sure to ask these questions:
- Were rent payments made on time and in full?
- What monthly rental rate did they pay?
- Describe how well the tenant maintained the property?
- How did the tenant communicate with you?
- Would you rent to this tenant again?
Good and Effective Communications
Tenants communicate differently, so property managers should be flexible when engaging with their renters. Some renters like to talk on the phone, while others do not and feel more comfortable with email or text. Any issue that comes up should be discussed with an agreed-upon resolution. Landlords need to remember that the property is still a tenant’s home, so respecting their space is essential.
The Benefit of the Doubt
One mistake landlords make is to treat their tenants like the enemy. When something goes wrong, it probably happened because of a lack of knowledge by the tenant, not ill intent. Clogging up the kitchen garbage disposal with the skins of ten potatoes on Thanksgiving happens because the renter has no idea the appliance could not handle all those peels. It was just a simple mistake in judgment. DenCO believes giving the renter the benefit of the doubt is a superior approach.
Be Proactive with Repairs
Regular maintenance is one of the easiest ways to increase tenant retention. DenCO inspects all properties twice per year to keep ahead of all repairs. Check out our blog on managing repairs at rentals. If repairs are needed, we proactively reach out to the renter to determine the most convenient time to do the work. Also, we follow up to confirm that the vendor showed up and completed the job. If the vendor is not responsive, DenCO will call another company to do the job.
Avoid Big Rent Increases
No one likes surprises, particularly tenants. A significant increase in rent at lease renewal time may run off even the best leaseholder. Things are getting more expensive during inflationary times, and owners need to cover their costs and taxes. If an increase is warranted, we make sure the increase aligns with rents paid for comparable properties in the surrounding neighborhoods. If the rental rates seem fair, the tenant will be less likely to give notice to avoid the hassle of moving.
Repair or Replace?
Reliable appliances, fixtures, and systems are a great way to keep tenants. If your renters complain about a particular appliance or system, replacing the unit might be more cost-effective than repairing it. DenCO recommends that owners put extra money away to fund future replacements and upgrades.
An energy-efficient home attracts savvy renters looking for ways to save money. Housing is expensive in Denver already, and most tenants pay for utilities. Installing energy-saving appliances and fixtures help tenants save money on energy bills.
Tenant Retention Checklist
A happy tenant becomes a long-term renter and gives owners a steady flow of rental income. Below is a checklist to help property managers increase tenant retention rates.
- Pre-qualify and Screen All Tenants
- Make Maintenance a Priority
- Conduct Two Inspections Per Year
- Keep Rental Rate Increases Market-based and Fair
- Be Professional but Understanding
- Provide Top-Notch Customer Service
- Take Time to Call and Follow-up
DenCO manages over 150 rental properties in Denver. Our owners use our firm’s expertise to protect their investment and maximize rental profits. DenCO understands that tenant retention begins at the first meeting and continues through every landlord-tenant interaction. Give us a call at 303-722-9688 to learn more about our full-service approach to rental management.