You are reading: How To Attract and Keep Good Tenants

July 15, 2024

How To Attract and Keep Good Tenants

Daniel Berlind

Finding good tenants can sometimes feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. You may not know what to look for or what should be cause for concern. Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place.

We’re going to go over the qualities you should look for in a trustworthy tenant, how to market your property to attract them, how to create an effective screening process, and we’ll provide some helpful tips for retaining tenants. With this knowledge under your belt, you’ll be a pro at finding the perfect tenant in no time!

Step 1: Define Your Ideal Tenant Profile

So, what makes a good tenant? Look for someone who’s responsible and reliable when it comes to paying rent. These tenants are always on time and keep you informed if there are any hiccups. They treat the property with care and let you know if any repairs are needed. Plus, they keep everything neat and tidy throughout their tenancy.

The best tenants are excellent communicators who quickly resolve any issues. They stick to their contractual obligations and follow your rules. And they’re courteous to their neighbors by not causing any unnecessary noise.

Now that you know what a good tenant looks like, let’s discuss how you get one.

Step 2: Develop a Marketing Strategy to Attract Good Tenants

The first step to attracting quality tenants is to market your property well. Identify the target audience for the apartment complex, taking into account the geographic factors of the area. For example, if the complex is located near a university, interested renters could include students or faculty members. If the complex is downtown, professionals may be interested. Make sure to follow all regulations relating to fair housing laws and marketing and advertising regulations for real estate. More information on advertising guidelines can be found in this Real Estate Advertising Guide written by the California Department of Real Estate.

Next, tailor your messaging to appeal to their lifestyle and unique needs. Highlight apartment features such as the number of bedrooms, balconies, and modern amenities that speak to their interests, hobbies, and preferences. Consider highlighting proximity to popular amenities, community events, and entertainment hotspots to attract potential renters.

Optimize Your Online Presence

Explore attracting potential renters through multiple channels.

Work On Your Website

First, make sure your website is user-friendly and highlights the features and benefits of the complex. The website should be optimized for search engines so that potential renters can find it easily.

Engage On Social Media

Second, use social media to engage with potential renters and reach a wider audience. Utilize different social media platforms to build brand recognition and create a community around the apartment complex. This is particularly important if your complex is in a downtown or university-adjacent area.

Create Appealing Rental Listings

Third, utilize online apartment listing websites, such as Zillow,, and, to promote the property and make it easier for potential renters to view the complex and submit rental applications.

Traditional Marketing Tactics

In addition to your digital strategies, you can establish a referral program to incentivize existing tenants to recommend the property to their friends and family. This helps build a community around the apartment complex and can enhance your marketing strategies by attracting high-quality leads.

Try hosting on-property events to showcase the complex and enhance the experience for potential renters. Events like open houses, happy hours, and community fitness classes help prospective renters visualize themselves living at the complex and help them experience what it will be like to live there.

Emphasize Your Differentiators

Make your property stand out from competing properties by emphasizing what sets it apart. Highlight fun amenities such as an on-site gym or swimming pool, upgraded features such as smart home technology, or convenient community services such as package delivery, a dog park, and bike storage.

Step 3: Conduct a Thorough Tenant Screening Process

Now that you’ve attracted people to your property, it’s time to start screening the applicants. These are some things you should review.

Steady Income

A stable income source is a sign of financial stability and ensures that the tenant can afford to pay rent on time. Harvard research found that by 2025, an estimated 13.1 million households will spend over half their income on rent. The general rule of thumb, according to NerdWallet, is that a tenant’s monthly income should be at least three times the rent amount. For example, if the rent is $2,000, look for a tenant earning at least $6,000 per month.

But what if a promising applicant falls short of this requirement? You can elect to require a trusted co-signer. Lastly, you can verify their income by contacting their employer. Protect your investment by choosing reliable tenants who can commit to consistent rent payments.

Good Credit Score

A good credit score indicates that the applicant is responsible with their finances and is more likely to make rent payments on time. Commonly used credit reports come from the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.

Positive Rental History

A positive rental history means that the applicant has a record of paying rent on time, taking care of the property, and ending the lease on good terms. Talking to their previous landlords can be a game-changer. By doing so, you can figure out if the tenant can be relied upon.

Some key questions landlords should ask are:

  • Did the tenant pay rent on time?
  • Was the tenant easy to reach when needed?
  • Did the tenant leave the previous property in a good state?

To ensure that you’re actually talking to the person’s real previous landlord, you might want to employ a few tricks. Say, for instance, the prospective tenant states that he lived in a property for three years; you can ask the previous landlord to confirm the person lived there for “one year.” If they correct you, you have verified that it’s the real landlord. This helpful tip can save you from the troubles of dealing with a “phony reference.”

Background Checks and Identity Verification

A good applicant should have no red flags such as prior evictions, criminal history, or poor credit history. Commonly used background check companies include Renter, Better NOI, and First Advantage. Make sure you verify their identity by requiring them to submit sufficient documentation. We cover this topic more in depth in our post on how to do a background check for tenants.

Step 4: Spot Fraud

Even with a robust screening process, bad actors can still try to slip through the cracks. In recent years, document fraud has skyrocketed. Instead of risking a denial, applicants may edit their bank statements and paystubs to make their income look much better than it actually is. It’s as simple as adding an extra one or zero to their annual income. A document that once said they make $50,000 per year now says $150,000.

There are steps you can take to mitigate this risk, but it can still be a challenge for the untrained eye. This is where Snappt steps in. Our software is designed to scan for document fraud and verify the authenticity of pay stubs and bank statements. We catch over 99.8% of fake documents, reducing potential future bad debt & evictions by over 50%. To learn more, check out our document fraud detection page.

Step 5: Retain Great Tenants

Now that we’ve addressed how to get great tenants into your property, it’s time to review how you can keep them there long-term. Retaining quality tenants is essential for the success of your multifamily property. These are some strategies property managers can use to keep tenants happy and minimize turnover.

Timely Repairs and Maintenance

One of the most common reasons tenants move out is maintenance issues that are not resolved promptly or effectively. When a tenant has an issue in their apartment, big or small, they expect it to be taken care of quickly. You must make sure your units all meet habitability standards, but should go beyond these legal standards to provide the best living experience possible for your entire community.

When a tenant submits a maintenance request, it’s best to respond quickly and get someone to their unit as soon as possible. If your maintenance team has a full schedule that day, let the tenant know when they can expect someone and provide updates if anything changes. If timely maintenance service is an issue to deliver, consider augmenting your maintenance resources with additional hires or contract services.

Consistent Communication

Maintaining an open line of communication with your tenants is crucial. Regular check-ins, updates on events happening on the property, and a web portal for managing requests and payments are excellent ways to ensure that your tenants’ satisfaction levels remain high. Plus, this level of communication may even make them less likely to bother you with petty issues!

Upkeep of Property Amenities

Property managers should ensure that all amenities, such as a gym or swimming pool, are functioning correctly and are clean at all times. Community amenities are an important part of their experience and likely had a hand in why they decided to rent at your property.

Renewal Incentives

Offer a renewal incentive to tenants when their lease is about to expire. This could include things like rent discounts, waived fees, or deals on home cleaning services. This is a great time to show your tenants that you value them and would like to keep them at the property.

Create a Welcoming Environment

Property managers should create a welcoming environment for their tenants by hosting social events, holiday parties, charity events, or even local dinners. These events can help to break down the barriers between neighbors and make them feel like they are part of a larger community.

It doesn’t take much effort to make these events happen; all it takes is some creative thinking and planning. Hosting these types of events can help forge relationships between tenants that could last for years and create a sense of camaraderie at the property.

Flexible Lease Options

A great way to keep your tenants around longer is to offer them flexible lease options. While a standard lease is typically 12 months, you can also offer shorter terms, month-to-month arrangements, or lease transfer options. Being flexible and accommodating the needs of your tenants can make them more inclined to stay. Make sure to also offer simple, frictionless methods of collecting rent – your tenants will be happier and more likely to pay on time if you make the process as simple as possible for them.

To Sum Up…

By focusing on these strategies, property managers can keep good tenants happy and improve their rental experience. Additionally, long-term tenants help to reduce the costs associated with turnover and vacancy periods, resulting in a more successful multifamily property.

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