Tenant retention is how to keep your tenants in place once they’ve moved in, and how to prevent them from moving out, especially after a rent increase. This of course reduces turn overs and vacancy loss, but also benefits the landlord by maintaining positive relations with residents. When something does go wrong, residents will approach you with a better attitude, positive attitude. Below are 5 high Impact actions to keep happy tenants, longer.
Maintain Common Areas
Tenants aren’t expecting the world, but they are expecting clean and safe common areas. When they get home or when their friends and family come for a visit, they want to walk thru areas they are proud to call home.
Fresh Look Management upholds an 8 of 10 standard, that means at any given time, 8 of the 10 items below are true:
- Interior/Exterior entry way is clean & all exterior doors closers functional
- Exterior, curb & parking area are litter free & swept
- Hallways/breezeway/elevator has been cleaned recently, free of cobwebs & smudges
- Laundry Room is clean- machines wiped down, sink clean, swept & mopped
- All light bulbs are functional
- All garbage cans have been emptied recently
- Dumpster area is picked up and clean
- Resident Register, Parking Log & Key box is current
- Emergency lights & exit signs are functional
- Storage Areas are clean & orderly
It's not realistic to assume that everything will be perfect at every moment, but setting the a realistic expectation with your Site staff of 80% will ensure that common areas are well maintained.
Focus on Entrance
Expanding further on Number 1, the Front Entrance is the most important area and needs to be addressed daily. This area gets the most traffic; Mail, packages and 'freecycling' tend to accumulate here, and everyone who visits, drives by, and lives in the building will view the entrance. For these reasons, this area requires special attention.
The front door should be serviced monthly & re-painted yearly. This means cleaning the door of all smudges, ensuring the closer is operating, the key and lock work smoothly, and the weather stripping is intact. A re-paint each year will protect the door and keep the entrance looking fresh year round.
Respond to maintenance requests in a timely fashion. Fresh Look Management has partnered with a maintenance company that maintains a 48-hour maintenance response policy and we recommend you do the same. Of course, it is not always possible to complete the request within 48 hours, but it is possible to enter the unit, address the issue and develop a plan of action. The standard is to resolve or communicate the plan to the resident within 48 hours.
Resident Check Ins
Some residents simply do not submit maintenance requests, because they don’t want to bother us, or they think the issue is not a big deal. Common issues we've seen include a broken cabinet door, broken blinds, or closet shelves. To counter this issue, we recommend checking with each resident every six months. In otherwords, make sure you've had some dialogue with each resident at least 2 x per year.
Just a friendly call to find out if there’s anything they need or if they have any concerns.
Fresh Look Management also provides a monthly newsletter via email on preventative maintenance, how to unclog a drain, travel safety, and other valuable topics for tenants. We also use this as a friendly reminder that rent is due and how to submit maintenance requests.
Don’t Be a Jerk
Things come up. Sometimes people can’t pay their rent for a variety of reasons. If this is the first offense, they are likely embarrassed by it, so there’s no reason to be rude or throw the book at them.
If a tenant is unable to pay rent because they overdrew their bank account one month, it does not necessarily make them a bad tenant. If they become a long term tenant, paying rent on time for the next five years, they will always remember how you treated them during that one bad month.
First, thank them for calling or letting you know that their rent will be late. Calmly and professionally, explain your established rental policies and brainstorm how you can work together to get the rent paid. Even if they cannot pay their rent, approaching the situation with grace and treating them with diginity will encourage them to leave the unit in a civil manner and in decent condition.