For landlords to keep the best tenants. it comes down to 3 basic components…
1. Prepare your rental unit properly.
a. Keep it clean – You’re showing a place that someone will pay you money to live or work in. If you can’t handle basic cleanliness, how are they going to trust you to fix other repairs? I’m not talking about just surface level clean either. The inside of the refrigerator, the stove & the cabinets should all be cleaned. Imagine if you went on vacation and checked into a hotel and your room refrigerator was dirty and had someone’s old food in it? You’d probably check out immediately and never go back. Keeping it clean a simple thing that you can do to ease the mind of a prospective quality tenant.
b. Keep it smelling nice – Whether it’s new paint or the old tenants funk, bad smells are going to turn people off. Buy some air fresheners and put them out before showing an empty unit.
c. Put out toilet paper, soap & paper towels – This small extra step will give a prospective tenant a much better feeling if the need to use the facilities.
d. Curb appeal – How does your property look from the outside? In the winter, snow and ice should be cleared. In the spring & summer, grass should be cut & weeds should be pulled.
e. Set a fair price for the market.
f. Advertise your rental in all of the proper places including to your existing quality tenants. Good renters know other good renters and if you’re a good landlord, they’ll want to refer their friends to you.
2. Tenant Screening
All tenants need to be properly screened for:
b. Prior evictions
c. Criminal record
d. Income stability
e. Income to expense ratio
3. Once you get a good one, you need to keep the best tenants happy.
As I wrote in, Keep the best tenants, there are 4 ways to retain quality tenants and keep your best tenants happy & paying.
a. Take their problems seriously – If you want to keep the best tenants happy, when one of them calls you with a reasonable complaint, get it addressed quickly. It may be just another call to you, but it’s a big deal to them. In the late afternoon on December 24th, I received an email from one of my best tenants whose stove just stopped working. She has family coming over that night and was in a total panic. We quickly started dialing whoever we could find that was still working to beg them to go fix the stove. In the meantime, I gave the tenant a list of other vacant properties that I had in the area where she could cook her holiday meal if we couldn’t find someone to fix it in time. Luckily, we found someone to go out, it was an easy fix and her holiday went on as planned. She let me know how appreciative she was if our efforts. Chances are, she will remain a tenant for a long time.
b. Make their life easier by accepting payments via check, ach, credit card & automatic bill pay. It’s not hard to do and it keeps your money coming in on time.
c. Create an incentive program – To keep the best tenants, it often pays to let them choose from a list of either ceiling fans, new appliances, etc., if they renew a lease. You can always reuse the old appliance or fixture that you take out and the money that you spend only goes to improving your property.
d. Be nice – There’s never a reason to talk down to a tenant (or anyone else) and there are many reasons to be nice. Being nice doesn’t mean being a pushover. If rent is due, then rent is due and the tenant needs to be told that, but they can and should be told in a nice and respectful way.
Follow this simple formula and you’ll keep the best tenants.