Why and How You Should Keep Your Single Family Rental Tenants Happy

If you are an investor who owns single family rental properties, “vacancy” is a word you don’t want to hear. Having a property sit empty and not producing rent, even for a few weeks, costs you money. If your portfolio is small, a short vacancy on one property could make the difference between positive and negative cash flow for the year.

Consequently, if you have tenants in place who pay their rent on time, take good care of the property, etc. — in other words, “good” tenants — you want to do all you can to ensure they are happy and eager to renew when their lease term is up.

5 Tips for Keeping the Good Ones Coming Back

It doesn’t take much to develop and maintain the kind of positive relationship with your tenants that will make them eager to renew their lease. Here are just a few things you can do:

  • Thank them with a small gift.Whether they are a first-time tenant or are renewing for the tenth time, giving them a box of chocolates, a bottle of wine, or some other show of appreciation will let them know you value them.
  • Respond to questions or issues promptly.Taking action quickly is important, even if that action is initially just letting them know you received their communication and are looking into it.
  • Be friendly without hovering.While you may think you are just strengthening your relationship with your tenants by stopping by to say “Hello,” showing up uninvited, even with good intentions, can leave them feeling like they are being watched or the property is being inspected.
  • Be respectful with rent increases.Don’t rely only on a mailed legal notice to communicate rent increases. Talk to your residents. Explain your costs are going up and that you value them as tenants. Consider offering an incentive such as carpet cleaning or a new appliance. The cost of turnover and vacancy is high, so you might want to increase rents slowly if the market is rising quickly.
  • Meet with them periodically.Again, while you don’t want to hover, scheduling a meeting a few times during the course of a lease makes a tenant feel like you are eager to hear about their concerns.

Especially once you get into a rhythm, you’ll find that keeping existing tenants happy and your properties leased is much easier and more cost-effective than finding new renters.