Last week, we reported on the increase in lease renewal occurrences in the past 10 years, with the majority of renters choosing to stay put rather than move out when their rental lease expires.

And while 54.4% of renters reported opting to renew their rental lease instead of move, what about the remaining 44.6% of tenants who vacated their rental property?

Tenant retention is the most cost effective way for property managers to build revenue and reduce vacancy rates.  Vacancies are expensive considering the loss of rental income, utility bill responsibility that falls on the manager or property owner, the cost of advertising and marketing the property, and the time it takes to screen and approve applicants.  It is in a property manager’s best interest to examine their pool of moving renters in order to retain all qualified, responsible tenants, by renewing expiring leases.

To better understand renter behavior, released the 2015 Moving Outlook Survey which examines the reasons why renters choose to move and the reasons why renters choose to stay in their current rental.  Understanding renter behavior gives property managers the tools to make important leasing decision for offering incentives to encourage resident retention.

According to the’s Survey, affordability, changes in marital and relationship status and wanting more space topped the list of reasons why respondents said they are moving this year.

2015 Top Reasons Renters Move

Alternatively, the survey asked renters the top 5 reasons they are planning on staying in their current rental property this year and found that neighborhood, expenses, and satisfaction with their current apartment are the top reasons these respondents are not moving.

2015 Reasons Renters Do not MOve

While some reasons for moving are out of a property manager’s hands (like relationship changes or job relocation), a successful manager might be able to capitalize on some factors to encourage residents to renew their lease. Considering the majority of survey respondents cited affordability as the top reason for moving, monetary incentives are no doubt an important tool for property managers to offer great tenants to encourage  them to stay put when their lease expires.

Analysts at Software Advice surveyed over 4,500 past and current renters to see what incentives are the most effective in convincing them to renew their lease.  When asked what items renters would prefer to encourage them to renew their lease, 52% of respondents indicated monetary incentives as the most enticing.

Software Advice’s Survey revealed the top incentive preferences by type:

  1. 52% Prefer Monetary Incentives: Discounted rent(58%) and cash(28%) are the most popular types of preferred monetary incentive, followed by security deposit rebate(11%) or a gift card to a popular retailer (4%).
  2. 27% Prefer a Unit Upgrade: Types of unit upgrades include new appliances, new flooring or plumbing fixtures.
  3. 11% Prefer a Free Service: The most popular free service is a gym membership.
  4. 11% Prefer Household Items: Like a new TV or tablet

If you are not able to offer monetary incentives to encourage lease renewals at your rental property, the survey also reveals community incentives that landlords may offer tenants.  The most preferred community perk incentives are:

  1. 35% want a free Covered Parking Spot
  2. 24% want a free upgrade to a better unit
  3. 21% want a free upgrade to a greener unit
  4. 20% want a free storage space.

By encouraging residents to renew their leases, you reduce the effort and resources needed for turnover and marketing the vacancy.   Now is the time to start considering lease renewal campaigns in your rental community.  As the survey indicates, renters anticipate moving months in advance, so managers need to be proactive about approaching tenants with renewal incentives that offer perks they actually want.  Managing lease expirations with your property management software can help you approach your tenants at the right time with an offer they will not want to say no to.