As landlords, most of us know the pain of having bad tenants and the process and legal actions that sometimes have to be taken when dealing with them. We know what to do when we have a bad tenant but what about when you have a good tenant you want to keep? All landlords hope for a dream tenant to come along, therefore, it simply makes sense to reward the good ones you may currently have, and to try to keep them happily paying rent each month and treating your property with respect. Responding quickly to maintenance requests or tenant complaints, creating an atmosphere of community within a residency, and rewarding your tenants for rule-abiding behavior all can decrease tenant turnover, and ensure that your great tenants are there to stay.
Let those good tenants know that you appreciate everything they do. I’ve compiled a few ideas you can do to show your appreciation.
Gift cards are an inexpensive and easy way to let your tenants know that you appreciate their positive contributions.
Rental Bonuses and Deductions
A rental bonus could be given if your tenants recommend and refer good people to rent from you. You could consider reducing a months rent or cash. You could also reduce rent for a month, a good time of year to do this is December, since many people are a little tight on cash that month because of the expenses associated with the holiday season.
Address Complaints or Issues Right Away
Whether your tenant is great or not, it’s imperative to respond promptly to maintenance issues or complaints. This is especially vital if the issue is one that could be legally considered a habitability issue. Regardless of the importance, however, taking the time to show that you are responsive promotes trust and fosters a good landlord-tenant relationship. Reply to even small issues by saying that you have noted the concern and will address them at your earliest possible convenience. If two issues of equal importance came to you at the same time I would respond to the good tenant before the tenant who pays late or is a slob.
Offer a Grace Period Before Charging a Late Fee
Some states legally require that you offer a specified grace period before charging a fee. Check your state and local laws to see what your minimum needs to be to ensure that you are compliant. However, even if your state has no requirements, offering a grace period can be an easy way to stay in your tenants’ good graces. I offer a five day grace period for rent before a late fee is charged. I do this for all of my tenants, but it is an incentive to make them want to stay. You are showing compassion by being lenient (to a point) and allowing rent to come in anywhere between the 1st and 5th of the month for example.
Keep Up on Property Maintenance
This is a big one in my opinion. If someone has been living at your property for a few years, it’s time to consider having the carpets cleaned, touching up the paint, maybe having the home professionally cleaned, and other cosmetic issues that could send your current tenants looking for a “fresh” place to live. This extra care not only will ensure that you stand out from other landlords or property managers in your area, but will also serve to protect your investment while diminishing turnover. A win-win for everyone, in my opinion.
Flooring, appliance, etc. replacement
In the same vein as property maintenance, if your tenant is long term it’s important to not forget that things do wear out, the carpet may be due for replacing. Appliances could have surpassed their lifespan and be needing replacement. Tenants may not confront you about these issues but it could be a reason they want to move to a more updated place. In this case, it’s important to have good communication and a working relationship with your tenants. I would suggest that if there are several things that need to be replaced ask your tenant which 1 of those items they would appreciate the most. They will feel good about having input and you won’t be burdened with all of the upgrades at once. You could set up a timeline to replace items.
Good tenants can sometimes be hard to find, so when you get them, do what you can to hold on to them. Keeping those good tenants plays a huge role when analyzing the profitability of a real estate business. Finding new tenants can be expensive; having a house vacant, repairs and marketing are all expenses that can make a profitable rental turn into an expensive burden.
Consider some of these incentives to keep from having to search for new tenants. It will make managing your properties so much more pleasant!