This Month’s Question comes from Gary in Los Angeles:
“Hi Kari, What are your top 10 Resident Retention tips?”
Hi Gary! This is a great question and such an important reminder that our customer service starts when a resident moves in. Here are my top 10 resident retention tips:
Tip 1: Answer your maintenance calls.
The #1 reason a tenant moves is lack of competent or timely maintenance. It is in your best interest to respond immediately, and whenever possible, schedule maintenance at your tenant’s convenience.
Trying to defer maintenance can end up costing you more $$$ and you can lose tenants. Tenants want to live at a well-maintained building that gives them pride. Keep the front always looking cared for, utilizing good landscaping, flowers, and nice signage.
Send reliable vendors or maintenance personnel who are considerate of tenant’s belongings. It’s healthy to keep in mind that maintenance personnel are often the only contact tenants have with ownership, and thus represents their level of care.
Tip 2: Complaints.
Respond to complaints regarding a loud or bad tenant or you could chase away your good tenants.
Tip 3: Rent to good residents.
Do everything in your power to make sure tenants are qualified. At a minimum, run: Credit report, Criminal record, & a UD report (eviction) such as the Apartment Association AAGLA Quad check (includes two credit bureaus, eviction check, and background on bounced checks). Have the applicant bring a utility bill, with their name on it, to verify the current address. Consider 3 months of bank statements where you can see that deposits match net paycheck amount and see rental payments are made on time. Make sure they do not owe $$ on basic services such as: utility bills (DWP/Gas Co), phone, and cable.
Tip 4: Build the community.
Consider activities to bring your residents together such as: a Building BBQ event, Movie Night, Facebook page where they can communicate with each other or be able to post or schedule a bike or hike (I was told that among the most popular activities were knitting groups – I had no idea there were so many people out there that knitted!)
Tip 5: Show tenants you genuinely care.
Be responsive; send a newsletter, a gift card on their birthday, or at least an acknowledgement that is genuine.
Accept maintenance requests via email and respond to them with date and time of service. Know how to get messages to your tenants quickly by texting or calling them things like the water is turned off for an emergency or any important information regarding their unit. Statistics say that most residents prefer texts and emails rather than be called. If you have an on-site manager make sure they are a good one and are giving great customer service.
Tip 6: Security.
Apartment Owners who make security a high priority can keep their tenants longer, protect property values, and reduce maintenance and repair costs. Renters will pay more for a sense of security. Of course you can never guarantee security or safety in any way, but have gates that work, and develop a good relationship with your SLO.
Tip 7: Market rents.
Do not give a rent raise if their rent is already above market; raise rent if they are below market. Know you are offering a quality product – tenant should feel they are getting what they pay for.
Tip 8: Management.
Be the best building on the block – make sure your manager and vendors are doing their jobs. Find a great Management Company and Manager – Do not hire a management company with no experience or does not keep continually educated on code enforcement issues.
Tip 9: Survey.
Do a resident satisfaction survey for current residents, or ask departing residents if there were any problems, which caused them to move.
Tip 10: Proactive upkeep.
Keep a schedule of when your leases expire – if they are a good tenant, approach them 90 days out and offer an improvement in their unit such as carpet cleaning, fresh paint, a floor upgrade (if you would perform anyways for a vacancy), granite counter tops, a/c in the second bedroom etc. for signing another year lease. By doing this, you can do improvements to your building and keep good residents.
Bonus Tip: Coupons.
Know your building’s surroundings and let tenants know of any conveniences in your area – many surrounding companies will give local apartment buildings discount coupons if you request them – tenants appreciate this.
Have a question for Kari? Please submit it to her via commenting on the : Ask Kari YouTube Channel
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