It’s one thing to land a great tenant, but another to ensure they keep renewing the lease as the months and years go by.
“All of the industry ‘talk’ is about rent roll building,” says Rebecca Fogarty, Director of Blackbird and Finch Property Management Specialists.
“But I think the most important part of having a good rent roll is tenant retention.
“It’s a statistic that isn’t measured enough.”
Securing on-going tenants means not having to worry about missed rent and property damage, and allows you to devote your time and effort to improving your rent roll, organising maintenance, planning and completing inspections, and the multitude of other tasks that occupy a property manager’s time.
Losing a quality tenant is a blow for two main reasons.
Firstly, you may not be so lucky with future tenants.
And secondly, and perhaps more pertinently, it means once again going through the arduous process of securing a new tenancy, not to mention the missed rent and added overhead that comes with it.
“A good tenant is worth their weight in gold,” says Director of Arrive, Karen Herbert.
Herbert says treating renters with respect and appreciation will go a long way towards developing a positive relationship, and thus promoting tenant retention.
“Although tenants do not own the property, it is their home,” she says.
“Showing them respect, courtesy, and privacy in all dealings will encourage the tenant to stay longer.”
More material actions may cost more money, but could pay dividends in the long run when it comes to keeping good tenants.
“Items such as air-conditioning, internet, a dishwasher, and fresh paint will make a property more desirable over the long term and significantly reduce turnover rates,” says Herbert.
“While it provides a touch of luxury for some, for others these items are a necessity.”
But maintaining a positive tenant/property manager relationship goes even further than an ability to retain their current tenancy.
Fogarty says that even when tenants do move out of a property, many search for a new home among properties that are also managed by her agency, Blackbird and Finch.
“The main reason for this is communication,” she says.
“Not just template emails, but real communication, like calling them after a major maintenance issue like a flooded house or burst hot water system, and checking in with them to make sure everything was sorted.
“Extra little gifts like lollies left at routine inspections or Christmas text messages all go a long way towards building a good relationship with tenants.”
Jamie Billerwell, Business Development Manager at Code Property Group, says the obvious way to hold on to tenants is to ensure maintenance is completed promptly.
Beyond that, she suggests some simple yet thoughtful gestures to make your tenants feel the love.
“Have them sent a nice gift on the anniversary of their lease, or their birthday,” Billerwell says.
“At the routine inspections, leave a hand-written card thanking them for their hard work – perhaps suggest that the landlord supply a dinner voucher, or cleaning voucher, as a token of gratitude.
“If a tenant runs a local business, support them by offering social media stories and the like.”
Regardless of the specifics, ensuring great tenants stick around starts with nailing the fundamentals, like open communication and timely maintenance, but continues with personalised, thoughtful acts of customer service that make tenants feel wanted and appreciated.