Perhaps you’ve found out the hard way, or just heard enough horror stories to know that not all tenants are created equal. So what if, after an exhausting screening process, you’ve finally found the dream tenants to rent your home? How do you go about keeping them?
The reality of the rental business is tenants come and go, whether it be for work, family, or an insatiable wanderlust addiction, the fact remains that eventually they’re going to leave. But as a property owner, there are things you can do to reduce the likelihood of your tenants moving on at the end of their lease.
We’ve compiled six ideas to help you turn those short-term gypsies into long-term residents.
1. Set Your Rental Price Just Below Market Value
I know what you’re thinking, but there is method to the madness.
Listing your property at just a fraction below market value has two benefits:
- It makes your home more attractive to renters
- It attracts a higher quality rental applicant
You want the tenants who are looking for a home, not just a place to stay, so it is worth considering finding out what similar properties are listed for, and reducing your asking price by 2-3%. Setting the rent price just slightly under market value brings serious contenders to your inspections. It may be tempting to set the rent a little higher to increase return and a more ‘elite’ crowd, but on the contrary you are just more likely to get applications from desperate and unreliable tenants who are unable to get approved anywhere else.
2. Reasonable and Consistent Rent Adjustments
Property prices are in a constant state of flux, and the cost of running a property is likely to change accordingly. Most tenants will understand that rent prices are subject to change, but this doesn’t give you the green light to hike up your rent with significant increases.
As a general rule, around 2-3% per annum is considered reasonable, but some renters may not be satisfied with that, either. In this instance, you could offset the rent increase with a with a longer term lease, that way the tenant’s fortnightly payments remain the same, and you don’t lose income on a newly vacant property.
3. A Well Maintained Property Keeps Tenants Happy
A well-maintained property isn’t just to appease tenants. It’s a good way of keeping the property value at maximum potential, and it inspires the tenants to take better care of their home, reducing the chances of major maintenance and repairs needing to be done. By taking care of the property, tenants feel that you are also taking care of them; and a tenant that feels valued and respected is far more likely to sign on for another term.
4. Jump on Repair Issues
If something does happen to come to your attention during a routine inspection or via a maintenance request from the tenant, don’t just file it on the ‘when I get around to it’ list. Take care of it ASAP. Once again, this is about showing the tenants you care about them just as much as the property.
5. Give Tenant Requests Due Consideration
To feel right at home, some tenants may want to make changes to the property, like interior decorating or planting a small garden. If they are willing to invest a little time and effort into the property, then these are generally the kind of tenants who are in it for the long run. Pets are another popular request that you should consider allowing. Most property owners are against pets, which means good tenants will be encouraged to stay put.
6. Build a Good Relationship
Keeping long-term tenants means building a relationship that is more than just collecting rent and routine inspections. Consider sending them a little present for Christmas or other occasion. You don’t have to break budget, just something simple like movie vouchers will suffice. It’s a simple but effective way of showing the tenant that you value them as more than just a source of income.
7. Bonus Tips!
Surprise! We’ve got a few extra little no-noes to avoid if you want your tenants to stick around. Happy tenants won’t stay happy if you:
- Raise the rent too much or too often
- Take too long with repairs
- Don’t listen to their requests
- Show up unannounced
- Schedule too many inspections
- Hire an inept property manager
- Are dishonest in your dealings
- Don’t maintain the property to comfortable standards
- Restrict their decisions on furniture, artwork and layout
- Become so friendly that the line between landlord and tenant becomes blurred
To acquire long-term tenants, consider what would make you happy if you were renting the property. Allowing renters to make your house their home may not guarantee you lifetime tenants, but it will at least give them no reason to leave if they don’t have to.