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You are reading: How to Drive Resident Retention

April 11, 2024

How to Drive Resident Retention

Daniel Berlind

Finding and keeping great tenants is a challenge all property managers know well. But the effort is worth it! Quality tenants will help you maintain constant rental income for years to come. So wouldn’t it be nice if there was an easy way to attract and retain top-notch tenants?

You’re in luck — that’s what we’re here to talk about today! We’ll explore the biggest challenges, proven strategies, and creative ideas for attracting and keeping excellent renters in your apartment complex.

Attracting Tenants

Before you can think about retaining tenants, you’ve got to get them in the door! Attracting great tenants is crucial to the success of your property. A great tenant is someone that pays rent on time, every time. They take care of their unit, making sure to notify you if they encounter any maintenance issues or other problems.

Effectively marketing your property can help get the attention of potential renters. Make sure you have an appealing, easy-to-use website. These days, everything is online – the application, photos, video tours, you name it. The easier you make it for them to navigate your site and get their questions answered, the more likely they are to want to live in your building.

Don’t underestimate the importance of well-lit, high-quality photos of the community areas and different floor plans on your site. A video tour or 3D tour can add a lot of value, too. Renters want to be able to envision themselves living there.

Make your property stands out by highlighting what sets it apart. Showcase fun amenities such as an on-site gym or swimming pool, upgraded features such as stainless steel appliances and hardwood floors, or community services such as secure mailrooms, dog parks, and covered parking.

Outside of having a top-notch website, you’ll need to promote your property. Utilize social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok to advertise the perks of your property.  You can also create paid ads and email marketing campaigns to bring more people to your website.

Hosting open houses and fun community events is a great way to show what it will be like to live in your property. These events provide a chance for prospective tenants to get to know the space, ask questions, and get acquainted with the people who will be their neighbors.

Screening Tenants

Once you’re drowning in rental applications you earned from your fruitful marketing efforts, it’s time to screen the tenants! A robust tenant screening process will help you find quality tenants for your property and weed out the bad ones. Important elements of a strong screening process include:

  • Credit check
  • Background check
  • Income requirement
  • ID verification
  • Rental references

Decide on the acceptable benchmarks for each category. What is the minimum credit score you will accept? What is the monthly income requirement? Once you figure that out, write out these rental criteria for your records. You can even publish it on your website so potential renters can see if they’re qualified before applying,

One thing to be aware of is the rise of fraudulent documents being submitted by tenants. What is a fraudulent document, you ask? It’s when an applicant falsified information on their application, typically by altering their bank statement or pay stub. This makes it look like they’re making a lot more than they actually are, in order to qualify for a property that they otherwise would not be able to rent. They either do this on their own pay a company or freelancer to do it for a nominal fee. The unfortunate truth is that many services exist online to help potential fraudsters with their deception.

Detecting these fake documents can be tricky. These minor tweaks often look normal to the untrained eye. Luckily, our team at Snappt has created an AI enabled solution that can detect these changes. We catch over 99.8% of fake documents, reducing potential future bad debt & evictions by over 50%. To learn more, see how Snappt works.

Retaining Tenants

Now, retaining tenants isn’t as simple as offering a reasonable lease renewal and calling it a day. Tenants have countless options when it comes to where they can live, particularly ones that are well-qualified and have robust incomes.

If you really want to hold onto great tenants, you’ll need to create a tenant retention plan. This can include things like coming up with a retention budget, providing incentives for lease renewals, hosting fun events throughout the year, and routinely checking in with your tenants. The goal is to show them that you care about them.

Define Your Retention Budget

The first step in your plan is to decide on the amount you’re willing to invest in tenant retention each year. Reflect on what your tenants leaving will cost you and the expense of remarketing the unit. Remember, it’s not just the hard costs – also think about how you’ll have to search for new tenants, and maybe they won’t be as great as the ones you currently have.

Once you have a budget ready, allocate it to two main categories: incentives and events. Plan out how many events you want to have, how big they will be, what vendors you’ll need to involve, and how you’ll show appreciation for your tenants.

Host Events

Perhaps one of the best ways to entice your tenants to stay is by hosting events. Hosting events at your apartment complex can be an incredibly effective tenant retention strategy. Not only do they help build community and foster a sense of belonging, but they also provide a valuable opportunity to show off the benefits of renting with you. Plus, they’re just plain fun!

Think about what kind of events your tenants might like. You can bring in a yoga instructor to teach a fitness class in your gym. Another great idea is to host a summer pool party, complete with catering from local restaurants. You want your events to be memorable and serve as a reminder of why they love living in your building.

You can even implement simple weekly events, like supplying bagels from a local bakery every Thursday or coffee from a nearby coffee shop every Friday. These small gestures are things that your residents can look forward to each week.

Remember to promote these events, big or small, on your website and social media accounts. Not only does this serve as a good reminder for current tenants, but it can even catch the attention of potential renters!

Implement Incentives

The best incentive you can offer your tenants is a discount on rent. For example, it’s expected that you’ll increase your tenants’ rent each year to keep up with the market and to stay competitive against other buildings in the area. However, too high of an increase is a quick way to get good tenants to move out.

Your tenants can easily Google what other units in your area are renting for. So, instead of risking them leaving, why not offer them a discount if they sign their lease renewal early? Send them an email 60 days before their lease expires and offer them a free month of rent if they sign within two weeks. You can still raise their overall rent price if you’d like, but it’s recommended not to exceed 5% of the total rent.

Maintain the Property

This may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many property managers let property maintenance slide! Keeping your property in top shape goes a long way with your tenants. They want to live somewhere they’re proud of and can call their home. Make sure to do regular maintenance inspections, offer pest control services, and keep up with landscaping.

Maintenance issues can be a major pain point for tenants if they are not handled in a timely manner. If something isn’t working in their unit, they want to know that you’re on top of it and care about resolving the issue as quickly as possible. This is especially the case if it’s a bigger issue, such as a flood within the unit or electrical issues.

Regardless of what the problem is, make sure you are communicating with them daily until the problem is resolved. A little compassion and communication will make your tenant feel like you care about them being inconvenienced.

Be Flexible

Even the best tenants can make a mistake or pay their rent late. Sometimes just a good conversation between you and the tenant can be the sensible thing to do in these situations. Try to understand their issues, empathize, and come up with a creative win-win solution, because going down the path of an eviction will only hurt both of you.

Evictions often lead to:

  • Lost time
  • Lost money
  • Legal action
  • Long term cashflow issues

After all, they’re a good tenant, right? Perfect tenants can also have mishaps or go through a tough week—resulting in them being late or communicating slowly.

Sometimes the solution looks like waiving the late fees. Sometimes it’s allowing partial rent payment on a later date, with an agreement to pay the rest later – with or without interest. Remember to use your best judgment.

Check-In and Communicate

Communication with your tenants is key! Keeping them in the loop and aware of any changes or upcoming events not only keeps everyone on the same page, it also helps foster an environment of respect between tenant and property manager. Keep things friendly, warm, and inviting, and you’ll find that your tenants will be far more likely to stick around.

It doesn’t hurt to check in and see how they’re doing throughout their tenancy, either. Try sending a nice email with a short survey twice a year to get a pulse check on how they’re feeling and what they feel is lacking. Use this feedback to improve their experience going forward.

To Sum Up…

As you can see, there’s nothing better than finding quality tenants who are happy to stay for the long haul. Regularly engaging with them, providing opportunities for community-building, and showing off the unique features of your apartment complex can all work together to create a sense of belonging. Not only will this help attract more great tenants, but it will keep your existing ones around.

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