It breaks my heart when I have good tenants that inform me they’re moving. I so appreciate my good people . . . and I often wonder if I’m doing enough of the right things to keep them with me.
In today’s environment, society is very mobile. People lose jobs or get transferred, have family, health or money issues that force them to move, and with the economy in this state, people are being laid off right and left. But the worst thing that can happen to us landlords is for one of our great tenants to make a move because they just want to.
To maximize your length of tenancy with those great tenants, remember this:
- They notice when their apartment is being neglected
- They’re paying a good deal of rent, and they expect prompt service in return
- They know when they’re being ignored or brushed off, or treated with disrespect
Over time, although you may not hear complaints from these decent people — they’ll likely suffer silently — they will become disenchanted with you and the way you run your business. Eventually, you’ll lose them.
And once they leave, God only knows what the next tenant experience will bring, right? So, why not make a little extra effort to keep your good tenants with you? Here are a few tips:
- Be visible, let them see you’re involved (at least partially) in your business. If someone else manages for you, find out who the “good ones” are and visit or call occasionally to get acquainted.
- Ask them if everything is working well in the house.
- See if there are any other issues they feel you need to be aware of.
- Ask if they have suggestions or questions for you.
If you stop by or call with these questions, your good tenants will see that you care about them, and they’ll feel their livelihood and wellbeing is tops on your list. And if concerns have been raised by these good people, by all means address them quickly! I’ve received hundreds of compliments from tenants over the years because of the way I take care of problems in a timely manner. I guess there are a lot of uncaring or disorganized landlords out there.
Another good question to bring up is, “Are you content here? Do you see yourself moving in the near future?” I know you kind of hate to bring up the “M” word with a good tenant, but if you get a response like, “Yes, we’re outgrowing this apartment” you can discuss moving them into one of your larger places when one comes available. Or, if they find it too hot or too cold in certain weather, those problems can be remedied with inexpensive (safe) space heaters and room air conditioners. Remember, your good tenants will be too shy to complain about issues that might force a move, so do ask them how they’re doing with their accommodations. It may help you retain an excellent tenant for several years.
In the event a move is unavoidable, do ask them to spread the word about their apartment becoming available. Their friends and family may be wonderful tenants as well.
I’ve already mentioned the small gifts or gift certificates I give my good tenants as holiday presents. Another good thought is to keep a couple nice size space heaters and insulated coolers on hand. Unfortunately, furnaces and air conditioning units break down from time to time. When this happens, I quickly deliver the appropriate “back-up” for them to use until their unit is repaired. This is a kindness they don’t forget.
As I’ve said all along, when you treat your tenants with kindness and respect, they usually respect you in return. Longer tenancies, happier tenants, happier landlords . . . what could be better?
Onward and upward! 🙂