Advice and Opinion

How to keep a good tenant

Estate Agency generic

If you have an excellent tenant occupying your rental unit, you’ll want to make sure you do everything in your power to encourage them to carry on renting from you. Finding a new tenant can cost time and money, and there are no guarantees that a replacement tenant will be conscientious enough to pay rent on time (or at all), look after your property investment properly, or comply with the full terms of your lease agreement.

Starting out right

The foundation of a good relationship with a tenant is making sure you place the right one from the very beginning. Screening a prospective tenant and completing the necessary checks and balances upfront will save you a lot of hassles down the line. A comprehensive lease agreement is just as essential, as it sets the tone of the relationship between a tenant and landlord by establishing what’s expected from both parties and stipulating what will happen if one party deviates from the agreement.

Deal sweeteners

There are a few ways to sweeten the deal so that your ‘textbook’ tenants keep signing their lease renewals. These sweeteners are called rental incentives and include good communication, regular property upgrades, rent discounts, and even asking your tenants directly about what they need from you to renew their lease.

  • Good management

Communication with a tenant is key, but many landlords prefer not to engage with their tenants directly, which is why it is so helpful to appoint a neutral managing agent, such as Just Property, to act as an intermediary.

Regular property maintenance and upgrades

A conscientious tenant is likely to look after their rental unit well; reward them by keeping the property as spic and span as possible. This may involve repainting or remodeling a room, putting in new light fixtures, replacing old carpets or cupboards, or timeously attending to maintenance issues.

No one wants to live in a run-down apartment and, the more outdated a home becomes, or the longer certain maintenance issues go on unattended, the more likely it is that your tenant will want to leave. They will also be more agreeable with an annual rent increase if they know they’ll be getting something of value in return.

  • Rental discounts

Tenants often do their homework on rental prices in their area to see if they are getting a competitive deal, so another way to keep on a good paying tenant who actually looks after the property is to waive an annual rental increase ‒ especially if your property is in a high-risk area.

  • Ask your tenants what they need

If a tenant does express a desire to move on, don’t be scared to ask them why. Is there something you can do to encourage them to stay? The reality is that tenants do move through different life stages and will have different needs as the years go by. They may feel ready to buy a property of their own, or they may need more space for a growing family. If you have another, bigger rental unit to offer them, this is a good opportunity to do so. Alternatively, ask them if they know of anyone who would be interested in replacing them as tenants ‒ it’s doubtful that they would recommend someone who wouldn’t be a good fit.