Having a successful rental property and investment partly rests on obtaining a great tenant and then keeping them in the home. Keeping a good tenant relies on two things, only one of which is in your control:
- Maintaining good relationships
- Their continued requirement for your premises
While some tenants may move along after their tenancy agreement ends due to a lifestyle change, some will be more than happy to continue living in the property provided their experiences with the landlord and property manager are positive ones.
As you only have control over the interactions you have with the tenant, with little input into their own life, it is important to ensure your relationship is positive. Here are the four ways to ensure you stay on their good side, without compromising your needs as an investor.
Experienced property manager
Your property manager is a representative of yourself as a landlord and they are the most critical person when it comes to ensuring there is a relationship of mutual respect with a tenant. Choose a property manager with good references, who treats tenants in the same manner they treat the landlord.
Allow your property manager to have enough authority to make small decisions on your behalf to ensure there’s no delay between the tenant and your property manager speaking to you.
Maintenance and repairs
Undertaking repairs and maintenance in a timely manner is not only required to keep your tenant happy, but it is also your legal obligation. Ensure your property manager has filled you in on the obligations around urgent and non-urgent repairs and be prepared to act if a call comes through.
For most landlords, it will be critical to save some sort of a buffer for these expenses. It is not conducive to a positive tenancy for a renter to be without access to facilities or needing to go to tribunal to uphold their legal rights.
You can always ask the tenant for their feedback. Consider the following questions:
- Is there anything in the home that makes your life difficult?
- Have you noticed anything that needs repairing or may need maintaining soon?
- Are there any features you’d like to see added or improved in the home
- What fixtures and fittings would make your day-to-day home life easier?How does the home suit you?
- How does the home suit you?
On each inspection, your property manager should take note of anything that needs repairing.
Openness to requests
All tenants will at some point ask for something – whether it be to put picture hooks in the walls, to bring in another tenant or for a more substantial change. A good landlord will be open to all requests and will fairly consider them. Tenancy laws even suggest that some reasonable requests cannot be denied without a substantial reason. A willingness to discuss and compromise goes a long way.
Tenants will respond well, even to a refusal, if they are approached with an open mind and a fair landlord. If you are refusing a request, be sure to provide reasons why and, where possible, provide alternatives. Talk through requests with your property manager before making a snap choice as these decisions may be more important to a tenant than you realize.
Everyone likes to know they are appreciated, so there’s nothing wrong with sharing this with your tenant as well. A gift or a card at Christmas – or at the end of the lease – may not be to everyone’s tastes, but for some landlords it helps them give a bit of gratitude to their best tenants.
You may also want to consider some aesthetic improvements from time to time. Not only will these help with the valuation of the home, but they will also make your tenant happy to live in a place that is even more attractive. Be sure to negotiate access for any improvements with the tenant ahead of time to ensure it is stress-free.