Retaining your best tenants means long-term, hassle-free income for you. It also means not worrying about walking into a vacant unit that has been trashed or destroyed.
Your best tenants are your most valuable asset to your property investment business, but how can you keep them as renters for as long as possible?
While there are many strategies you can employ, simplifying your operational processes is one of the best ways to ensure good tenants don’t move out. When tenants find it easy to get their issues resolved, they won’t want to risk moving and having no support.
For the best chance at retaining your best tenants, make sure the following processes are easy and smooth.
1. Your rental application process
Say you find the perfect tenant and they want to move in. If that prospect has to struggle to fill out and submit their application, they’re either going to pass and pursue another option, or they’ll hold the difficult process against you. It won’t necessarily be a conscious expression, but they’ll remember how frustrating it was to get into the apartment. Each additional frustration will only compound their upset.
The solution is to move your rental application process online. An automated rental application platform makes it easy for tenants to apply online, which gives you easy access to your pool of prospective tenants. Your applicants will also get automatically screened by the system and you won’t have to lift a finger.
2. Your maintenance request process
Can tenants easily contact you to request their maintenance needs? If a tenant’s dishwasher breaks in the middle of the night and they call you at 3am, do you have a formal process for documenting the incident and scheduling a service call?
Yellow sticky notes and to-do lists won’t cut it. You need software to manage your requests.
The best way to track maintenance and repairs is to use software that allows tenants to submit their requests through an automated system. That automated system should send you an email and keep their request in the system for you to reference.
The benefits of an automated system are:
· Tenants can submit requests online. You don’t have to take a phone call for every issue. Let tenants make their requests online and you can view and prioritize the reports as they come.
· You can submit requests for tenants. If your tenant calls you at 3am to report a broken water pipe, you can enter the repair into the system for your tenant. You can also do this for tenants who don’t use a computer.
· Send automated emails to tenants with updates. When you schedule a maintenance appointment, your tenant will receive an email letting them know when the technician will arrive.
· Sync scheduled appointments with your mobile phone’s calendar. Automatic calendar syncing is great when you want to be present for the repairs or if you just want to stay informed when a repair is happening.
· Everything is in writing. With an automated online system, every request, report, and result are documented. This will help you keep track of repairs and help you file your taxes.
While an automated system is great for managing actual tasks, your maintenance system should also include sub-systems. For example, you’ll want a pre-made list of reliable contractors you can call and a written procedure for giving notice to tenants when you need to enter the building. This way you won’t forget what’s in your lease and give too little notice.
Your maintenance system should also include a schedule for regular inspections every few months to prevent small issues from growing.
3. Your rent collection process
Tenants don’t like complex rent collection processes. Make it as easy as possible whether they’re paying you in cash, check, or money order.
The easiest way to collect rent is through an online platform. With an online platform you can automatically withdraw the rent each month. With some platforms, tenants don’t need to type in an amount. You set the rent amount for them, which makes it impossible for a tenant to pay partial rent.
Keep an organized system for all operations
Staying organized is the key to keeping your tenants. Make sure you can find leases, applications, tenant information, inspection reports, and repair invoices at a moment’s notice. This will ensure you can take great care of your tenants, which will help you keep your best tenants long-term.