Oftentimes, landlords and tenants have interactions filled with mutual suspicion and a hint of bitterness.
However, given that landlords and tenants need one another, this constant friction is unnecessary, and harmful to both parties.
As a landlord, you should strive to keep your tenants happy, because a happy tenant is a long-term tenant. This means happiness for yourself in return, since you’ll have a satisfied tenant who is willing to stay and pay for longer.
Having a happy renter saves you money that could have been lost on tenant turnover, and guarantees a steadier income on your property investment.
We here at Florida Property Management & Sales have gathered a list of things you can do to keep tenants happy, and in doing so, secure more success for your rental business.
#1. Make a Good First Impression
In the very first meeting between an owner and a prospective tenant, the direction for the future relationship is set. Make sure to present yourself well, or you may indirectly give tenants the impression that they have a right to be slack. First impressions are important even before meeting the tenants, like in the property listing, which you can read about here.
Landlords who appear professional tend to attract the best tenants.
#2. Leave No Room for Ambiguity
Part of building a good foundation includes methodically laying out the info you want your tenant to have. Have clarity around rules by outlining each side’s responsibilities.
Define every term used. What constitutes an emergency, for example, will be different for every person.
#3. Make Agreements Legally Binding
Owners must never let their integrity be called to question. Make sure of this via a professional lease agreement. Tenants judge landlords’ sincerity by their willingness to put agreements in writing and signing them.
If the tenant knows that they have recourse to the law, they will be less distrustful and more cooperative.
#4. Set a Standard Through Your Actions
Most owners will tell tenants how they expect their property to be handled. However, how you treat the property before the tenant arrives is what sets the precedent for how they will manage the place.
For example, if you hand over a unit that is well-taken care of, this will subconsciously prime the tenant to follow that standard of maintenance. Similarly, handing over a property that isn’t well taken care of will set a very low bar for the tenant to follow.
#5. Be Accommodating to Requests
Even though the property belongs to you, tenants will want to be able to call it home. This often means that they will want to customize the place to suit their tastes. Minor changes to a unit, like drilling holes to hang paintings or installing a new appliance, should be allowed.
This helps the tenant feel at home. When tenants feel at home, they stay longer, and that benefits you in the long run.
#6. Show a Willingness to Help, but Stay Firm
Mutual respect is the bedrock of good landlord-tenant relations. You must be willing to help, but should not be at your tenant’s disposal. Don’t be afraid to put your foot down every so often.
You should state how you can be reached, and when. This demonstrates a desire to help, but also establishes boundaries.
#7. Show your Humanity
An owner’s professionalism is valued more if they show their humanity, too. Simple gestures like a list of important telephone numbers and interesting places to go (for tenants who are new to the area) or a move-in gift go a long way.
#8. Respect Tenants’ Boundaries
Under most circumstances, tenants will view unannounced visits as a violation of their privacy. Try to be courteous, and offer a 24-hour notice before any visits to make sure the relationship doesn’t turn sour.
#9. Respond to Tenant’s Calls and Emails
If tenants call within the time you specified you could be reached, they will expect a response. Not getting one undermines the relationship. Responding to tenant calls/emails is about courtesy first, and about resolving their issue second.
If you’re unavailable, you should try to reply at the earliest opportunity. You always want tenants to respond to your messages on-time, so it’s important to return the same courtesy. Never keep a tenant in the dark for too long.
#10. Attend to Repair Requests Promptly
Even if you can’t attend to a specific request, it’s best to respond to the inquiry. If it’s a problem that is the tenant’s responsibility, telling them so is better than not answering the request at all.
If a tenant is making repair requests too often, or for things that don’t require your attention, it is your right to tell them so. However, try to be gentle and specific when explaining what types of issues should be brought to your attention.
#11. Be Considerate When Raising the Rent
No matter how nice a property is, if tenants feel they are being overcharged, they will leave. This is true even if the particular tenant can afford the new rent.
You should consider a few things before raising the rent. Factors like location, market conditions, included amenities, and how long tenants have stayed are all valid explanations for a rent increase.
#12. Make Room for Pets
More and more American households now have pets. Pet owners account for over 67% of the population. This means that a significant proportion of your applicants will have pets.
Although many landlords are wary of taking renters who have pets, there are a few good things to be said for such tenants. They actually tend to be more responsible, and letting them bring their furry friend is sure to make them feel more at home and want to stay longer.
#13. Show Appreciation to Your Renters
It may go without saying, but without tenants, you will have no business! Tenants make it possible for a property investment to generate income. This very important fact cannot be overlooked.
Tenants are like customers, and every customer wants to feel appreciated. You should look for small ways to say “thank you” to your tenants. This can even help restore a strained relationship.
The Bottom Line
When landlords and tenants adopt empathy in their relationship, a lot can change. There’s a reason why you chose a specific tenant out of the many who applied. It’s important to remember what these reasons were.
If you follow these steps, you’ll surely have a healthy relationship with your tenant, and in turn, a lower turnover rate to show for it.