8 Helpful Tips on How to Increase Tenant Retention | Santa Rosa Property Management - Article Banner

Increasing your tenant retention is one of the best things you can do as an investment property owner. It creates a sense of stability for your rental property, and it also saves you money. You’re avoiding long vacancies, and you’re not paying for the turnover costs that come with preparing a rental home for a new tenant. 

Turnovers often cost thousands of dollars. Here are 8 helpful tips on how to increase your tenant retention rate. As Santa Rosa property managers, we work hard at developing good relationships with tenants. We’ve found that when we’re responsive, easy to work with, and dedicated to outstanding customer service, tenants feel encouraged to renew their lease agreements. 

Try these tips.

1. Share Specific Expectations at Move-In

There’s a lot going on during the process of moving into a new place, and your tenants will likely be a little overwhelmed while leaving their old home and settling into their new home. If you can make things a little less stressful for them, you’ll set yourself and your residents up for a successful rental experience. 

It might seem strange to be thinking about potential lease renewals as soon as your tenants move in. But, the move-in experience is how you’ll demonstrate to your tenants what the tenancy will be like for them. Be available and resourceful. They might have questions about setting up utilities, learning how to use the thermostat, and finding the right school for their kids. 

Sharing your expectations is a critical part of establishing a good relationship and retaining tenants. As you’re going over the lease with your tenants, make sure you highlight important parts of it, such as:

  • Rent collection policies
  • Maintenance reporting procedures
  • Rules and regulations around guests, parking, pets, etc.

Tenants don’t like to be surprised, and if they understand what’s important to you during the term of their lease, you’re less likely to grow frustrated and impatient with each other. Share your expectations and be prepared to answer questions and provide direction. 

2. Offer Online Rental Payments 

Writing out a check is a hassle, and there are actually not a lot of people who still carry checkbooks. Your tenants want ease and convenience, and online rental payments provide that. You’ll have an easier time beating turnover and increasing retention when you show your tenants that you’re modern, capable, and willing to provide a secure and easy way for them to pay rent. 

As Santa Rosa property managers, we have access to great online software and accounting systems. You might not have all of those resources at your disposal, but there are plenty of payment apps that will allow you to collect rent from your tenants digitally. 

3. Include Landscaping and Pest Control

Who is responsible for maintaining the outside of the property? When you rent out a single-family home, there’s often a lot of outdoor space that needs tending. The lawn might need to be mowed and watered. There may be bushes that need trimming or flower beds that need watering. 

How will you handle that? 

Some tenants get excited about the idea of taking care of a yard. Most residents, however, are looking for low-maintenance living. They rent so they don’t have to worry about taking care of the landscaping. 

Include landscaping and pest control in your monthly rent so your tenants can have this taken care of professionally. Not only will it increase tenant retention by ensuring they don’t have to do it themselves, it preserves the value and the condition of your property. 

Tenants will appreciate that you’re taking care of this for them.

4. Provide a Pet-Friendly Santa Rosa Property  

Pets contribute to tenant retention, and that’s another great reason to provide a pet-friendly rental home

You know it helps you find a tenant; a majority of renters in and around Santa Rosa have at least one pet. So, if you don’t allow pets, you eliminate a large portion of your tenant pool. Considering pets helps you during the leasing process, and it also assists you in retaining your tenants when it’s time to renew the lease. 

There are several reasons for this. First, pet owners know that not every rental home will allow them to move in with their dog or cat. When they find a home that does accommodate them, they’re more willing to stay in place. 

There’s also a pet fee to pay before they move in. If they move to a different home every year, they have to pay a new pet fee every year. That gets expensive. 

As long as you have a strong pet policy in place, renting to tenants with pets is better for your retention plans.

5. Respond to Maintenance Requests with Urgency 

Maintenance is not a lot of fun, and when you get a maintenance request from your tenants, your immediate impulse will be to worry about the expense. That’s understandable. Costs are going up and finding vendors isn’t always easy. 

Make sure you’re prioritizing maintenance, however, with every request that comes in. 

The emergencies will require swift action, and you’ll need to rely on your best vendors to solve the problem quickly. Routine repairs should get the same sense of urgency. Don’t leave those small and seemingly unimportant tasks alone. Take care of them right away. It’s better for your property and it’s much better for your tenant retention.   

If you’re slow to respond or you ignore the requests altogether, your tenants are likely to leave at the end of the lease term. Communicate your maintenance procedures, and then be responsive. It will help you keep your tenants when they know that their repair requests are being heard. Even if you can’t fix something right away, let your tenants know where things stand and what you plan to do about the problem moving forward. 

6. Offer Improvements and Upgrades 

Providing a well-maintained home is non-negotiable. As a landlord, it’s your job and a requirement that you keep your property safe and habitable. 

Go a step further and make upgrades and updates whenever possible. Rather than simply maintaining your investment property, you should also be improving it. You’ll earn more in rent, and you’ll be sure to hold onto your grateful tenants for more than a single lease period. 

Some of the upgrades and updates that mean the most to good tenants include:

  • Technology. Think video doorbells or smart thermostats. Maybe you can provide some smart home features.
  • Updated floors. Vinyl, laminate, tile, and faux wood are all popular. It’s cleaner and easier to maintain than carpet. 
  • Energy-efficient appliances. 
  • Dedicated workspaces. With more tenants working from home, this is a cost-effective improvement.

Sometimes, your tenants will make a specific request. Maybe they’ll ask for a new dishwasher or new paint. Listen to their request and consider it carefully. When it’s a cost-effective improvement, it’s likely worth doing.

7. Stay Competitive with Rental Increases 

At renewal time, you’ll need to offer your tenants a new lease agreement, and that will come with a new rental amount. Tenants will expect that their rent is going up, when you have good tenants that you want to keep in place, make sure your increase is competitive. 

Tenants are smart. They’re going to do their research, and they’ll know what rental homes are going for in your area. If you offer them an amount that’s slightly below market rates but still higher than what they’ve been paying for your property, they are more likely to renew the lease. If they’re having a good rental experience and your renewal amount is reasonable, they’ll stay where they are. 

8. Work with a Santa Rosa Property Management Team 

Professionally managed properties often have higher retention rates and lower vacancy rates. 

There are a number of reasons for this. Most notably, property managers have the resources, time, and expertise to provide a better rental experience. When you partner with a professional management company, your tenants are more likely to stay in place for the long term because:

  • Property managers have the technology to allow for online rental payments and maintenance requests. 
  • Property managers understand the law and tenant protections in California. 
  • Property managers are faster when it comes to responding to maintenance and repairs because of the vendor relationships that are in place. 

When a property is professionally managed, tenants feel like they have access to an experienced and well-prepared team who can help immediately if something goes wrong. 

Our tenant retention numbers are pretty high. We invest in tenant relationships and we make sure that there’s a responsive, transparent property management plan in place for each property and every renter. 

Lose MoneyDon’t lose money on constant tenant turnover. In this market, you should be holding onto your tenants and encouraging lease renewals year after year. If you’d like to talk more about how we can achieve this, please contact us at Prestige Real Estate & Property Management. We manage homes in Sonoma County, including Santa Rosa, Windsor, Sebastopol, Petaluma, and Rohnert Park.