Incentivise tenants to renew their lease
Keeping quality tenants should be a priority, particularly if your current tenants look after your property well, pay rent on time and are not unrealistically demanding. In this case, perhaps you could agree to not increase rent if a lease is renewed. This could be especially valuable to your tenants if rents have been going up elsewhere around the suburb. If you raise your rent as well, then they’re going to start looking at what else is available and, if they leave, it probably wasn’t worth it.
Create a trusting relationship
It is easier to get somebody to cooperate if they like you, trust you, and are happy to deal with you. With a typical rental lease you have a year to create a relationship with your tenants. This can be done easily; make sure you handle repairs and complaints quickly and competently, return calls and messages promptly and, in general, be nice and friendly. By quickly resolving problems that are under you control goes a long way to keeping them happy and ensuring them that any issues that need ‘expert’ attention are being prioritized.
Make sure you have a regular property maintenance schedule to help prevent ‘issues’ from arising. Ensure you schedule in regular checks such testing smoke alarms, replacing batteries where needed, look for leaks in the roof, around the water heater, toilets and sinks.
Working with your property manager to ensure a tradesperson regularly visits your property is also a good idea, and will help create trust between you and your tenants.
Make your tenants proud of the property
Everyone likes to come home to a well maintained property, and tenants are no different. Spending time making sure your property has good curb appeal will go a long way to making tenants proud to live there.
If your property is a house, professional landscaping and landscape maintenance are two of the best, most cost effective ways to increase the value of the property, from both financial and aesthetic viewpoints.
For example, if your investment property is a house, plant flowers and decorative shrubs in the front yard. If your investment is in an apartment, make sure the entrance way to the apartment is clean and tidy.
Offer a grace period when collecting rent
If the rental agreement states that rent is due on the first of the month, it is within the interest of both parties to have a grace period in place until at least the fifth day of the month. While landlords can make the time frame lenient, they should let renters know that payment after the grace period won’t be tolerated.
Having a grace period accommodates for times when life circumstances get in the way and payment needs to be delayed a few days, rather than being delayed for weeks on end. Allowing for some leeway sends the message to tenants that as a landlord, you aren’t strict, just reasonable in your expectations.
Address complaints quickly
Aiming to resolve complaints within a week’s time is a good benchmark to set. For a landlord it leaves enough time to sort through the problem and for a tenant the short turnaround shows that the landlord takes their words seriously.
If a landlord earns a reputation of being quick to respond both efficiently and effectively, when it comes time to sign a new lease, renters will have to take into account how well they have been treated and consider if, should they leave, would another landlord be so accommodating.