You could be forgiven if most your time as a landlord is spent focused on the tenants who cause problems. Non-payment of rent, damaged property, and calls to the police for noise are all some of the realities of less-than-great tenants that all landlords have to deal with from time to time.
Your best tenants, the ones who pay on time and take care of your property, can get lost in the shuffle. Don’t let a good tenant feel unappreciated or forgotten because your bad tenants take up so much of your time. With just a little bit of effort on your part, you can remind your best tenants they’re valued and keep them longer.
Take Their Concerns Seriously
You can’t correct every problem a renter faces. You also shouldn’t let them do anything they want to your property without oversight and the final decision. But when a tenant calls you to talk about a tree that’s covering their car in sap or problem neighbors, listen to them.
When you must make a decision against a request they’ve made, give them a complete answer. Explain your thinking and, ideally, offer alternatives that may alleviate their concerns. People who feel listened to feel valued and all it costs you is a bit of time.
Give Move-In Gifts
You don’t know if a tenant will be a good one on the first day they move in, but you can make them feel valued from the beginning. This will cost you a little bit of cash but it could make all the difference between a good tenant who stays in your rental for years and one who doesn’t. Try one or more of these ideas:
● One month free internet service
● Lawn care service for two weeks or a month
● Newspaper subscriptions for three or six months
● Coupons to local restaurants
● Free storage for a month
You’re not giving away the farm, and you may get these offers at little to no cost to you if you work with vendor partners who see the value in giving away a freebie to a new resident, too.
Say Thank You
Send your tenants a thank you card at specific times of the year to let them know you appreciate them. When they renew their lease, drop a thank you card in the mail. If their annual property review comes back great, write a note of thanks. If you drive by and see that they’ve made great improvements to the yard, let them know.
It costs next to nothing to send a thank you card but you grow goodwill with your tenants that you both benefit from. They feel appreciated and valued. You’ve established a relationship that may be able to withstand rent increases over time.
Offer Perks and Incentives
After a great yearly maintenance review or a solid year of on-time payments, send your tenant a thank you gift in that card you’re sending. It can be a gift card to a local grocery store or restaurant or maybe you offer a freebie that usually new tenants receive.
At the holidays, work with local restaurants or stores to offer freebies or discounts to your tenants as a way to say Happy Thanksgiving or Merry Christmas. You never know how much a small gesture like this can help a family at a hectic time. You can “help” and build a positive relationship with your tenants.
You don’t have to discount your rent (although you can if you want to) or give away luxurious gifts to build relationships with your tenants and show the good ones you value them. A quick word of thanks and a small thing to make their life a little easier or let them enjoy a night out can work wonders. In return, you’ll keep your vacancy rates down and find it easier to retain your current tenants when it’s time to raise the rent at lease renewal.