You finally have a tenant who pays rent on time every month, takes care of the property, and doesn’t cause too much of a fuss. So how do you make sure they stay? In rental property management, Dallas owners with great tenants should do all they can to keep their tenants happy and minimize tenant turnover. Tenant retention is one of the biggest ways your investment will keep succeeding.
“Retention means greater profit. The Journal of Property Management revealed that on average, a retained resident is worth almost $900 each year on top of rent payments. Each time a resident moves out, a unit is vacant for an average of 1.5 months. If the tenant retains their lease, the property saves $1,350 as well as the additional costs that would go to marketing the vacancy.”from “The Economics of Tenant Retention”, an e-book by Zillow Rentals
At Specialized Property Management Dallas, we have over 30 years of experience helping property owners maximize their income. We have seen too many landlords who lose money due to high tenant turnover rates. Here are some tips for tenant retention from your team of property professionals.
It Begins With Tenant Screening
When tenants apply to lease your property, you should have a comprehensive tenant screening process in place to make sure that you’re getting a good tenant from the beginning. Every applicant who is 18 years old and up should fill out a rental application as thoroughly as possible. Then, your rental property management Dallas screening process should verify that the tenant’s income is at least three times the monthly rent.
You should conduct an extensive background check on each tenant, verifying employment history and rental history. Take that extra step and call your tenant’s previous landlord, seeing if they paid rent on time each month, caused any property damage, or had any issues with sticking to their contract. Then check credit history and criminal history, and call any personal references your tenant has listed on their application. As you conduct your tenant screening, keep in mind the Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to pick and choose your tenant because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin.
Having a proper, effective tenant screening in place will help you weed out the tenants who are unreliable and help you find someone who’s more likely to behave and stick around.
Stay Emotionally Cool
In rental property management, Dallas landlords have to keep their cool. Even if a tenant gets hostile or angry, you must keep it professional. Letting your temper get the better of you, or speaking to your tenant in a condescending way can lead to arguments and an unmanageable relationship with your tenant. Be sure when you email or speak to your tenant that you use an approachable, considerate tone and try to put yourself in your tenant’s shoes. How would you feel if you rented a house and the water heater broke in the first week? Things that don’t seem like a big deal to you as the rental owner can be a huge deal to your tenant, so treat it as such.
Some landlords don’t have a problem staying emotionally uninvolved with their tenant until the rent is late! Don’t make the mistake of jumping to conclusions if your tenant is suddenly late on their rent payment. Take the time to have a conversation with them about why the rent is overdue and remind them of the rent collection policies they agreed to when they signed the lease. If it becomes a recurring problem, treat your tenant with respect, but stay firm on your late payment methods. Usually, if a tenant knows there is an automatic recourse for their actions they will do their best to pay the rent on time every month no matter what.
Minimize Rent Increases in Rental Property Management Dallas
Say when your tenant first signs their lease that they agree to a monthly rental payment of $1500 a month. Then six months later, you start noticing that similar rental homes in your neighborhood are renting for $1650 and attracting no shortage of tenants. It can be so tempting to hike up your rent to match the market standards, but it’s usually not a great idea. Yes, annual rent increases happen all the time in every city, but the extra $150 a month you’ll make won’t make up for the money you’ll lose in tenant turnover if your tenant decides to move out. As a rental property owner, you can only raise the rent legally when your tenant’s lease has expired and if you’ve given your tenant plenty of advanced notice. Just keep the rent reasonable and your tenant will be more likely to stay long-term.
Promptly Respond to Tenant Maintenance Requests
Your tenant is not going to stay for longer than a few months if they encounter maintenance problems and have no response from you. Plain and simple. As a rental property owner, you have to answer maintenance calls and emails in a timely manner if you want your tenant to stick around. For example, the toilet in your tenant’s bathroom is slowly leaking and they call you at 2 a.m. to let you know. Instead of getting upset that it really isn’t an emergency and it could have waited until later in the morning, let your tenant know that you are grateful they told you about the situation. (Hey, they’re trying to take care of it before it becomes an even bigger issue!) Schedule an appointment with your tenant to come and check out the toilet when they’re home from work, and if you can’t fix it, hire a licensed contractor to do so.
Once the toilet’s fixed, call the tenant to confirm the problem is completely resolved, and apologize for any delay. Successful rental property management in Dallas requires frequent, effective communication in order to produce good relationships with your tenant. Go the extra mile to resolve every maintenance issue and you’ll have a happier tenant who wants to renew their lease when the time comes.
Respect Your Tenant’s Privacy
You’re not wanted at your tenant’s daughter’s birthday party, so don’t come over uninvited. Ever. Just because you’re the landlord, you don’t have the right to pop over unannounced while your tenant is living there. If you absolutely have to access the property for some reason, give your tenant plenty of notice (at least 24 hours) and stay for as little time as possible. There’s a reason the landlord-tenant relationship is a professional one. Stay out of your tenant’s personal lives and space.
You want your golden tenant to stay so you don’t have to go through the hassle of finding a new one, right? Then reward your tenant for their loyalty and show appreciation when you can. A gift card around Christmas time or money off one month’s rent after they’ve rented for a year can really incentivize your tenants to renew their lease. Also tell your tenant every now and then how much you appreciate them, whether with a quick email or a letter in the mail. In rental property management Dallas, a landlord who cares about their tenants is much more likely to have higher retention rates than those that don’t.
Be Open to Minor Changes and Pets
If your tenant wants to paint one wall in their bedroom purple, let them! If they want to add a porch swing to the front yard, say ok! Minor, reasonable changes to your property can make a tenant feel more at home and increase their willingness to stay. Don’t want to mess with allowing pets? Studies have shown that you’ll bring in 20-30% more money on average if you choose to allow pets in your rental property. The minimal wear and tear from common household pets like dogs and cats is worth the extra pet deposit and will keep your tenants happier and encourage them to renew.
Consider Your Amenities
In rental property management, Dallas owners can attract more tenants and encourage tenant retention when they offer amenities in the rental home such as a washer and dryer, a garage, and a fenced-in backyard. If a tenant wants to leave or break their lease, find out why. Are they unhappy with the Wifi situation? Is there nowhere for their friends to park when they come over? See what you can do and what amenities you can provide that will encourage your tenants to stick around.
Maximize Tenant Retention with SPM Dallas
As leaders in the property management industry, at SPM Dallas we are committed to making your job as a landlord easier. We have a 98% Customer Satisfaction Rating and the lowest eviction rate in the DFW metroplex. Our 24/7 maintenance hotline keeps both landlords and tenants happy and informed. Our comprehensive property management services encourage tenant retention and allow you more time to do what you want.
Put our team, experience, and ethics to work for you. Contact your Specialized Property Management Dallas team today at 214-233-7572!