A tenant retention plan can help you increase your ROI by holding onto those great residents who pay rent on time and take care of your property. Losing a good tenant means losing consistent rent. It also invites additional expenses such as turnover maintenance, marketing for a new tenant, utility costs, and extra security. Vacancy rates are still higher than normal thanks to the pandemic, and it’s more important than ever to keep your rental homes occupied. Some of the best tenant retention strategies focus on good customer service. When your residents feel like they’re appreciated and valued, they’re more likely to stay in place longer and renew that lease agreement year after year.
Provide Responsive Maintenance
Sometimes tenants move out of a Los Angeles rental property because of financial reasons or because they’re moving out of the area or buying a home. The most common cause, however, that tenants don’t renew a lease agreement is frustration over maintenance. When repairs are not responded to in a timely manner, tenants get upset. Check your system for accepting maintenance requests. Can your tenants get in touch with you right away? Is there a written procedure to request routine maintenance so that the issue is not forgotten or pushed off? Make maintenance a priority, and your prospects for tenant retention will improve. Let them know their comfort and satisfaction is important by taking care of even minor issues with a sense of urgency. Make sure your vendors are licensed, insured, and professional. Follow up to ensure the work was done to your tenant’s satisfaction.
Keep Communication Open and Positive
Are your tenants hearing from you only when something is wrong? You should check in with them from time to time to make sure the property is in good shape and to find out if there’s anything they need. During the pandemic, it’s a good idea to share resources and information that may apply to them. When things return to normal, forward any news you receive about interesting things that may be going on in the neighborhood. Tenant relationships are an important part of retention. If you need to call your resident because rent is a couple of days late, be empathetic and understanding. Talk about making a payment arrangement or collecting a partial payment now and the rest later. Respond to tenant phone calls and messages. Even if you can’t help them right at that moment, explain that you’ll need to do some research and talk to some other people, and you’ll get right back to them when you can. Don’t leave them hanging feeling unheard. It’s demoralizing, and will lead to a vacancy at the end of the lease term.
Be Smart with Rent Increases and Lease Renewals
When it’s time to renew the lease, offer incentives to the tenants you want to keep in place. This can be a new appliance, an offer to paint, or some other amenity that will make them want to stay if they were thinking about moving on. You could provide free Wi-Fi and cable, for example, or enter tenants into a raffle drawing if you have several renewals at once. Most tenants expect rent will increase from year to year, but make sure the rental increases are aligned with the current economic conditions and the competition on the market. Tenants are smart about the Los Angeles rental market, and they know what similar homes are renting for.
These are just a few of the things you can do to increase your tenant retention and avoid expensive vacancies and turnover costs. If you’d like some help with Los Angeles property management, please contact us at Bell Properties.