When you have a tenant in place who pays rent on time, communicates openly about maintenance issues, helps you take care of the property, and follows the terms of the lease agreement, you want to do everything you can to keep that tenant. Retaining tenants saves you money. There are fewer vacancy costs, and you don’t have to pay out of pocket for things like utilities, security, cleaning, and marketing for a new tenant.
How can you keep those well-qualified tenants in place?
We have a few ideas, and we’d also like to remind you that professional Charlotte property managers often have more success retaining good tenants than self-managing landlords. This is something to consider when you’re weighing the costs and benefits of professional management services.
Start with Tenant Screening
Once you have identified a tenant who meets all your initial criteria in terms of credit, income, and criminal background, you should think about whether that tenant is looking for a long-term place to live or whether you’ll likely be looking for someone else in a year.
Spend some time evaluating rental history. If your applicant has remained in properties for several years, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to retain that tenant. If your applicant seems to be a house hopper who barely makes the one-year mark at every place they’ve lived, you might want to reconsider whether that’s the tenant you’re looking for.
Responsive Maintenance Retains Tenants
When tenants have to wait weeks for minor repairs to be addressed or continually bother you for attention to maintenance, they’re not going to feel very enthusiastic about renewing their lease agreement. Instead, they’re going to look for another place to live.
You need to be proactive and responsive when it comes to maintenance and repairs. Have a system in place so tenants can report issues in writing. Then, get in touch with them right away so they know you’ve received the request. Explain what your plan is to take care of the issue. Always follow up after the work is done to make sure everything is satisfactory.
Provide a Pet-Friendly Charlotte Rental Property
Pet owners typically stay in place longer than non-pet owners and it’s easy to understand why. It can be difficult to find a rental home that allows pets, and if you are welcoming a tenant’s dog or cat, they’re going to appreciate living there. They won’t want to pay another pet fee or deposit in a new place. Consider opening your rental home to pets and make sure there’s a strong pet policy in place to protect your investment and reduce risk.
Implement Reasonable Rental Increases
Often, a tenant will wait and see whether rent is going up before they decide to renew a lease.
It’s not unreasonable to raise the rent. Most tenants understand that rents go up every year. Make sure you study the market and don’t overprice your property and chase out your great renters. Keep the increase reasonable, and don’t charge more than your competition. It’s going to cost you a lot more to lose a good tenant than it will to earn an extra $50 in rent every month.
Set up different incentives. For example, maybe the rent increases 8 percent if the tenant wants to go month-to-month after the lease period. For another one-year lease agreement, you’ll only raise the rent 5 percent. If your tenant agrees to a two-year lease renewal, perhaps you’ll only raise the rent 2 or 3 percent. This ensures tenant retention and still allows you to earn more every month.
These are some of our best retention strategies when we’re managing Charlotte rental homes. If you’d like to hear more about how we can help, please contact us at AM Realty.