5 Things Tenants Want from Your Rental Property

Keeping your rental property full is not just the goal of a good property manager, it’s also the topic of hundreds of article, pages and online forums. It’s pored over by professionals from loud-talking investment gurus to quieter investment clubs and the old lady who inherited her spouse’s portfolio.

One of the big problems comes when you start looking at tenants as mere aspects of your investment, and forgetting that they’re people. Making people happy is a lot easier than understanding numbers and projecting figures and investing, period. So let’s take a quick look at how to make the people in your property happy so that they lend a hand in filling up any other units – and so that all of them stay put.

In particular for anyone managing and renting single-family homes, keeping tenants in place can present a challenge in terms of simple space.  While they can’t gang up on you, and most likely tenants don’t even know of other tenants with the same landlord, they will pack up and leave just as easily. Losing a month or even two will put a big dent in your bottom line.

1) Customer Service

Start with it, and keep it. Establishing rapport means, your tenants are paying customers and they expect (or maybe they’ll be surprised) to be treated like customers. They’ll accept rules and all kinds of explanations – but take the time to explain them so that your customers understand why and all the limits and give them the time they need to ask whatever questions they have. Explain your business hours, and when they can contact you for non-emergencies, and keep up with them. They’ll always appreciate having a good customer service rep call them back in a timely manner – and they’ll stick with you if you provide it.

2) Move-In Package

Single family homes are generally rented to families with kids. They move from further away and consider your property with respect to their kids, often first and foremost. In fact, some of them would even sacrifice square footage for a better school. Establishing and maintaining a good relationship with them can mean, early on, respecting and assisting with all of these needs. You know the schools, the services and utilities and the moving companies. So, just like we’re trying to do here, providing the right information, upfront, and for later reference goes a long way toward reaching tenants, and keeping them in close contact for the long term.

3) Regular Maintenance

Just as your renting out a clean, newly painted property, you should also spell out what regular inspections or maintenance tasks are necessary. Furnace or air conditioning maintenance is not something you should expect tenants to provide. At the same time though, to ensure long-term relationships you may also offer to send a painting crew once every couple of years. Clear it with your tenants and let them pick the colors. It shouldn’t cost you more than a half a months rent, and a carpet cleaning company or yard maintenance will be deeply appreciated.

4) Respect

Professional protocol means calling and scheduling a visit. No knocking on doors. Outside of a true emergency, your tenants want fair warning, just as they expect from a visit from any professional. Your Move-In Package should already include information on what regular visits they should expect, but you still want to call first to remind them if one is coming up and schedule a time convenient for the tenant.

5) Convenience

Just like they pay their cable and telephone bills, tenants want to be able to easily pay the rent online [ ]. They’ll appreciate being able to request a repair or report any problems, and the interface, online, is a lot easier to keep professional, even if you really are managing properties from your kitchen table. Whatever you can do to keep it easy, professional and convenient will keep your tenants pleased and appreciative.

That said, showing some appreciation goes a long way too. Thank you cards are probably too much, but an annual holiday card is perfectly in order. Gift cards or similar incentives for referring tenants are always well received and for something special – like reporting a problem early – it’s also in your interest to personally call them and thank them for the warning.

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