How to Reduce Tenant Turnover

Turnover is a landlord’s biggest enemy!

If you’re new to being a landlord or have never gone through a tenant turnover, I advise you to take time to learn about the costs you could be hit with when a tenant moves out. The most obvious cost is the loss of rent when there is a gap between tenants and your rental unit is vacant. You will also have a variety of costs related to a tenant leaving, finding a new tenant, and the fees associated with
getting the rental unit ready for a new tenant, which includes things like cleaning, repairs, and maintenance.

Costs can increase if your tenant moves out acrimoniously and they leave your place in a mess without bothering to clean, or they cause intentional damage out of spite. The American Apartment Owners Association provides a comprehensive list of costs you should be prepared for.

Turnover is a landlord’s biggest enemy!

If the idea of these landlording headaches scares you a little, you should realize that reducing tenant turnover is important to your success. Your primary goal must be to find tenants that will stay long- term, pay their rent on time, and treat your rental unit as their home!

Here are three ways you can minimize turnover:

#1 - Find good, quality tenants.

Screening prospective tenants can help to identify the characteristics of a good tenant. Characteristics can include having a good credit score, a stable job, and good references from a previous landlord. You want to find tenants who pass your screening requirements, as they are more likely to be quality tenants. A person with a stable job is more likely to be a stable tenant. A person who can keep their financial life in order is more likely to keep their home in similar order.

#2 – Maintain a positive, professional relationship with your tenants.

Having a good relationship with your tenants does not mean being buddies or best friends. It does mean that you are always friendly and professional. On Day 1, the apartment should be handed over clean and in good condition. Moving forward, you or your property manager should be accessible when tenants contact you and responsive and communicative when they report a maintenance or repair issue. In short, you should uphold your end of the bargain to provide tenants with a safe, well-
maintained, quality home. At the same time, you should gently and firmly require your tenants to uphold their end of the bargain as well. Clear expectations should be set by detailing in the lease what you are responsible for and what they are responsible for.

#3 – Make sure your rent is market-related.

If you have found a quality tenant that pays their rent on time and treats your rental unit with the same care and attention that you do, you want to do whatever you can to make sure they stay. Besides the quality of the rental unit, tenants are sensitive to cost. It is a good instinct to want to raise your rents every year to stay in touch with the market, but should you always demand the maximum? Keep an eye on other rental units available in the area as these are your competition. You want to keep your rents in line with other similar (age, condition, amenities) rentals in the area, and realize that rents may stay static some years or even decrease.

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