A rental agreement will never be forever, but, as a landlord, you hope it lasts as long as possible. Indeed, a more permanent tenant works out better for your bottom line. You don't have to spend money or time to show the place, screen new leasees, or pay the mortgage if it doesn't get rented immediately.
It's not just the property that keeps tenants around — or sends them packing. A good relationship with the landlord can entice someone to stick around as well. Want to keep your tenants happy for as long as you can? Here are six ways to do it:
On the list of reasons why tenants typically move out, maintenance issues make the top ten. As the landlord, you have the power to make this a non-factor. Simply respond to tenants' requests for repairs or help in a timely fashion. Provide high-quality fixes that get things back to normal, and they'll be pleased with your response.
Another reason why tenants are quick to move out — their neighbors make too much noise. If you only own one unit or home, then it might be hard for you to fix such a situation. However, if you oversee a multi-family property, you shouldn't hesitate to step in and calm things down. Speak to those behind the ruckus and explain the complaints you've received. Hopefully, a conversation will be enough to restore the peace — and keep good tenants in the house, too.
When a person's desperate for help, the last thing they want to hear is your voicemail greeting. Instead, ingratiate yourself to your tenants by answering their phone calls quickly and helpfully. If you can't answer the phone, do your best to reply as soon as you can. Follow up with a speedy response to their question or maintenance request and voila — you've shown your tenants they're in good hands.
You can't give in to your tenants' every whim, nor can you update your property with every new design trend. However, you should consider making upgrades that will make life easier and better for those living in your property. For instance, a multi-family unit might have multiple people relying on the same water heater. An older model might have them running out of hot water after a bath or while the dishwasher's on. By installing a newer model, though, everyone can have hot water at the same time. These types of comforts should be standard for tenants — and you should make the must-have upgrades to implement them.
It is tempting to spike your rent and make the maximum amount per unit or home you lease. This is especially true when you sign a lease in a weaker market and find yourself in a stronger one at the end of the contract. However, you can find a happy medium that works for you and your tenant. Keep in mind that the cost of turnover will probably cost much more than what you're potentially losing from month to month.
The most important tip in building a rental agreement is to make sure the stipulations of the lease are clear. Once you both sign, you agree to your responsibilities as delineated in the contract. This alone serves as a strong foundation for your landlord-tenant relationship. Having an airtight lease reduces the possibility of conflict between you. And, as you maintain your end of the bargain, your tenant will grow to trust you more and more. From there, you'll have a solid rapport, one that will keep both of you happy — and perhaps inspire your tenant to stick around longer, too.
In the end, it's not that difficult to make your tenants content. Most of the time, all it takes is considerate care for the property. And, considering it's your investment, maintaining it well will serve you just as well as it serves your happy tenants.
Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, SUCCESS, Guides for Brides, Hotel Online and more!