Tenant Retention 101: Essential Tips for Property Managers

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Retaining good tenants goes beyond convenience—it impacts your bottom line. High turnover can drain your finances and disrupt your property management workflow.

The cost of turnover adds up. You’re not only looking at lost rent for every month your property is empty. The cost of finding a new tenant, additional maintenance, marketing the property, etc., means that keeping your tenants happy is very important.

According to the NARPM financial performance guide, the best property management companies had a churn rate of 9.6% in 2022, which is much better than the average of 19.5%. Cutting your churn rate by half doubles the revenue you’re getting from your residents. 

By prioritizing tenant retention and lowering churn, you can build a steady income and reduce headaches. This guide will show you practical strategies to keep tenants satisfied and loyal in 2024.

Key Takeaways

  • Screening is Key: Start strong by thoroughly screening potential tenants. This includes checking backgrounds and speaking with previous landlords to ensure reliability.

  • Step Up Customer Service: Respond quickly to tenant inquiries and tailor communication to their preferences. Whether it’s through email, phone, or text, making tenants feel heard is crucial.

  • Maintenance Matters: Keep up with regular property maintenance and embrace smart technology to monitor systems. This proactive approach prevents issues and keeps the property in top shape.

  • Leverage Technology: Use tenant portals for a smoother management experience, allowing tenants to easily pay rent and request services. Automating reminders can also help keep everything on track.

  • Personalize Tenant Interactions: Use data to understand tenant needs better and customize your interactions. A personalized approach can significantly enhance tenant satisfaction.

  • Build Community: Organize events to foster a sense of community. Engaging social activities can help tenants feel more connected to the place and each other.

  • Offer Benefits: A Resident Benefits Package can show tenants you care about their experience, potentially reducing turnover.

#1 Screen Properly

Tenant screening is your frontline defense against future headaches. If you bring in problematic tenants, you’ll likely deal with vacancies or costly repairs. 

  • Start with thorough background checks. These include verifying employment, checking income stability, and making sure they can consistently pay rent.

  • Next, make reference checks part of your routine. Call previous landlords to get insights into their behavior and reliability. Knowing whether they paid rent on time or maintained the property well can help you avoid problems later.

It’s always a good idea to use tenant screening tools to help you out. They help you run credit score and criminal background checks.

You can also engage prospective tenants in brief discussions to get a sense of their personalities and plans. This informal chat can reveal a lot about how they might fit into your rental community.

#2 Deliver Exceptional Customer Services

OpenWorks says 60% of tenants leave due to poor customer service and communication. Addressing tenant needs proactively can prevent costly turnovers. Exceptional customer service is based on:

Personalized Communication

Tailoring communication to tenant preferences can make a big difference. It shows you value their time and concerns. You can personalize communication by:

  • Learning your tenant’s preferences: Everyone likes to communicate differently. Some tenants prefer email, while others might like phone calls or text messages. Learn what works best for each tenant and stick to it.

  • Giving quick responses: Don’t keep tenants waiting. Whether they have a question or a problem, respond as quickly as possible.

  • Keeping them updated: Keep tenants informed about what’s happening.  Is there a community event coming up? Or is maintenance due? Keep your tenants in the loop and they’ll thank you for it.

Regular Check-ins

Scheduling periodic check-ins with your tenants is key to understanding their needs and concerns. 

These can be monthly or quarterly, depending on your setup. Use this time to ask how they’re doing and listen carefully to their feedback. Addressing their concerns quickly and effectively shows that you value their input. 

These check-ins help build a positive relationship, making tenants feel more at home and less likely to leave.

Professional Property Management

You can’t keep your tenants happy if your team doesn’t know how to resolve conflicts and what customer service is all about.

Have regular training sessions so they can handle any tenant issues properly. It also helps to have a management team that’s responsive and easy to reach. This way, tenants will feel more secure and valued.

Preventive Maintenance and Upgrades

Preventive maintenance involves checking and fixing things regularly so they don’t break. Instead of waiting for problems to occur, you should deal with them before they happen. 

This helps keep everything in good shape and avoids last-minute repairs.

Here’s what that involves:

  • Creating a maintenance calendar: You can set up a schedule for regular inspections. Like, check the HVAC systems before summer and winter so they’re ready for hot or cold weather.

  • Using technology: Install smart sensors to watch systems like plumbing and HVAC. They can alert you to issues like leaks or weird system behavior, so you can fix them before they get big.

  • Having regular inspections: Perform routine inspections of common areas and key systems. For example, you can inspect roofs twice a year to catch any damage before leaks happen.

  • Seasonal preparations: Prepare for different seasons. Clean gutters in the fall, check heating systems in winter, and inspect air conditioning in spring.

Keep the property modern and appealing. Start with small changes, like updating light fixtures and faucets. These little touches can make a big difference in how the place feels.

You can also think about bigger projects, such as renovating common areas or adding new amenities. For example, you could update the lobby with fresh paint and new furniture or create a co-working space for tenants who work from home. Installing smart home features like keyless entry or smart thermostats can also add value and convenience.

#3 Use Technology To Manage Your Maintenance

Managing rental properties can be a hassle when tenants are always calling, emailing, or forgetting to pay rent. Technologies like tenant portals can solve these problems by putting everything in one place. 

Modern technologies make it easier for tenants to pay rent, request maintenance, and stay in touch with you—all online.

Here’s a closer look at the different technologies you can leverage:

Tenant portal: Imagine tenants paying rent, submitting maintenance requests, and messaging you all from one portal. No more scattered calls or emails. They can log in, pay rent, or request a repair while you manage everything from a single dashboard.

Automated systems: You can automate reminders for rent payments, lease renewals, and maintenance schedules. This technology sends notifications for you, so you don’t have to remind tenants manually. No more chasing down payments or deadlines—it’s all handled automatically.

Data gathering: Use the portal to collect valuable data on tenant behavior and property needs. This helps you spot trends and improve your policies. If multiple tenants report similar maintenance issues, you can address them proactively.

#4 Personalized Tenant Retention Dashboard Implementation

A tenant retention dashboard helps you manage tenant relationships better. The impact is in how you personalize the experience for each tenant. Below are the steps to create and use this dashboard effectively:

  1. Choose the Right Tools: Pick property management software that fits your needs, like Buildium for finance tracking or AppFolio for system integration.

  2. Set Up Data Collection: Keep records of tenant maintenance requests, rent payments, and feedback to better understand their behavior and needs.

  3. Personalize the Dashboard: Create profiles for each tenant showing their payment and maintenance history. Customize your dashboard to view these details quickly.

  4. Analyze Patterns and Predict Issues: Regularly check your dashboard to identify trends and prevent problems before they worsen, such as addressing common maintenance issues early.

  5. Proactive Engagement: Use alerts for key events like lease renewals and late payments to stay proactive and maintain good relationships with tenants.

  6. Offer Tailored Solutions: Based on your data, provide specific solutions to meet tenants’ needs, like free maintenance check-ups for frequent issues, to increase satisfaction and retention.

#5 Have a Resident Benefits Package

If you want to keep tenants happy and reduce turnover, offering a resident benefits package is key. It shows you’re invested in their experience and can make them more likely to stay.

What It Usually Includes

Services like air filter delivery, move-in concierge assistance, and resident credit-building programs work wonders for tenant retention. Renters insurance is also a valuable addition. 

These services make life easier for tenants, showing them that you’re committed to their well-being and comfort. You should also add:

  • Virtual Concierge Services: Add a virtual concierge to make life easier for tenants. They can use it to arrange maintenance, find local services, and get updates all in one spot. Use platforms like Second Nature or Citizen Home Solutions to add these services to your property management system.

  • Community Building: Creating a community feeling makes tenants less likely to leave. Organize social events like BBQs or holiday parties to boost interaction among tenants. Additionally, set up online forums or social media groups where tenants can connect, share updates, and communicate with landlords, helping them feel more involved and at home.

#6 Good Communication and Transparent Policies

If you want tenants to stay, focus on communication and clear policies. Being open and direct makes tenants feel valued and helps avoid misunderstandings. Here’s how you can make communication and policies work better for you and your tenants:

  • Build Strong Relationships: Regularly talking with tenants is important. Using newsletters, emails, and personalized notes makes them feel cared for and valued.

  • Tenant Feedback and Involvement: Regularly ask tenants what they think through surveys. This helps you understand their needs and lets them have a say in community rules and property upgrades. They’ll feel more connected to their home.

  • Transparent Policies: Keep rules clear and easy to find, like online. Apply these rules the same way for everyone to build trust. When tenants know what to expect, it’s easier for everyone.

  • Communication and Policy Management: Keep in touch with tenants through regular check-ins, surveys, and updates. Start talking about renewing leases 90 to 120 days before they end. This helps keep tenants from looking for other places to live.

In Conclusion

In the end, keeping tenants content is key to their staying longer. When tenants feel valued and part of a community, they’re more likely to renew their leases. Implement the tenant retention strategies above to foster a positive environment and encourage long-term stays. With these tips, you’ll have tenants feeling right at home.


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