Owner of Rhino Realty Property Management and Rhino Realty B&B, entrepreneur, investor, consultant, author and speaker.
Tenant churn is expensive. Keeping the same, reliable tenants year after year is a great way to save money and frustration associated with finding and screening new tenants, cleaning and preparing the unit, and answering all of the new tenant’s questions and concerns. If you can keep your tenants happy and loyal to the property, your job can be much easier and incomes remain much more stable. A simple, but often overlooked and inexpensive technique is tenant engagement.
Tenant engagement can include providing a robust online portal that puts tenants in control of their data or hosting monthly game nights. Engaged, satisfied tenants are loyal tenants. You want your tenants to feel like they can’t get an experience like you offer your competitors. These are some of the most effective ways to engage your tenants in improving retention.
Create a sense of community.
Neighborhoods usually have built-in communities, and people living in rental properties often lack this important sense of belonging. You can help ensure that your tenants are loyal not only to you and your property, but also to their friends and neighbors who live around them.
Hosting events can be effective in creating this camaraderie among your tenants as well as helping your tenants get to know you and your staff better. You can host holiday gatherings such as July 4th BBQs, Easter egg hunts, or trick-or-treating events. Or you can organize events that bring together people with specific interests, such as watching movies or sporting events. If you have staff with specific interests, you can even offer ongoing programs such as a walking group or book club that renters can join. The possibilities are endless, but you want to choose something that your tenants are interested in and that you can be consistent in providing.
Have active and fun social media accounts.
Today’s renters are on social media, so you should be too. Tailor your messages and content to your current tenants and don’t make your messages a sales pitch to potential tenants; they will see what you are doing and may not react well to it.
You can post news about your property or events in your immediate area, organize competitions or make jokes and comments about your property and aspects of living there. Depending on your comfort with social media and technology, this one can be challenging, but if you invest the time and/or money in social media, it will pay off.
Create tenant ownership over their space.
This may look different for everyone depending on your ownership and the processes you have gone through. But renters want to feel like they’re living in a home, not a generic rental property. If you can get them painted, add their own fixtures, or decorate their doors, they’ll feel more connected to their unit and less likely to want to look elsewhere.
Respond quickly to residents’ concerns and be available.
Responding quickly to tenant concerns is very important for developing a relationship of trust and loyalty. This applies to phone calls, emails, maintenance requests and all other forms of communication with tenants.
Property management companies are notoriously hard to get in touch with, so if you can find a way to be accessible to your tenants, you’ll be head and shoulders above your competition. One way to do this is to hold quarterly open days where tenants can share their questions and concerns with your staff. This can be casual and include drinks and snacks, but if you provide a way for your tenants to be heard, you can keep them in your property.
Part of this is training your staff to provide quality service so that your tenants feel heard and not frustrated when interacting with your office. Often people just want to be heard and validated and don’t need to change or be done about the specific things that upset them. Teach your employees to be this listening ear.
Getting your tenants involved is a simple process, but it isn’t always easy. Start by creating an overall strategy and then slowly implement these ideas. Stay consistent and keep making improvements to your tenant engagement strategy. Then you start to see the benefits when it’s time to send lease renewals.