Retaining good tenants is an important part of maintaining your investment, collecting consistent rental income, and maximizing your ROI. Vacancy costs are expensive, and turnover costs are even more expensive. When your Santa Rosa rental property is unoccupied, you’re also stuck paying for things like utilities, maintenance, cleaning, and marketing your rental.
Finding a new renter is time consuming and requires a lot of effort on marketing, curb appeal, screening, and lease negotiations.
Avoid these costs and frustrations by keeping the tenants you currently have in place. Low turnover will usually lead to a great investment performance.
If you’d like to do a better job of retaining tenants, consider these tips that we put into practice ourselves as professional Santa Rosa property managers.
Tenant Screening Can Reveal Who Is Likely to Stay for the Long Term
Tenant retention can actually begin during the screening process. You’re looking for a long-term renter who will not only fulfill the lease term but renew the lease when it’s time.
Your tenant screening process should be about more than credit reports and income verifications. Check for evictions as well. A renter with recent evictions is not a tenant you’ll want to keep. Make sure you’re closely reviewing the applicant’s rental history. Do they have a history of moving every year, or are they more stable, staying in place for several years at a time? If you invest more time upfront finding the right tenants for your rental property, you won’t have to invest nearly as much time and money to fill vacancies when tenants decide to leave.
Keep Your Tenants Happy and Provide a Great Rental Experience
Good landlords have an easier time retaining tenants than landlords who are non-responsive or difficult. Make sure you’re communicating with your tenants and helpful. You don’t need to be their best friend, but you do need to be a resource and an easy person to talk to, especially if you don’t have the benefit of professional management.
Well-maintained properties will retain good tenants, so it’s important to respond to routine repair requests quickly. If you’re slow to respond, your tenants are likely to leave at the end of the lease term. Make maintenance a priority, and respond to repair needs with a sense of urgency and respect for your tenant’s requests.
Making routine and regular improvements will also help you keep tenants. Long term tenants want to live in a home that’s attractive and comfortable. Replace out-of-date appliances, make sure the walls have fresh paint, and install floors that are easy to maintain and clean.
Both repairs and regular improvements will reduce tenant turnover and even increase the amount you are able to charge in rent. When your residents get a sense that you’re willing to improve the property and make it better for them, they’ll want to stay.
Increase the Rent, but be Reasonable
Rental increases are normal and expected. But, you don’t want to chase away a great tenant with an unreasonable rental increase that’s higher than what the Santa Rosa rental market demands. Take a look at what similar properties are renting for, just like you did when you established the rental value initially.
Remember to consider the current economic climate as well and be attentive to the needs and the limits of your tenants. With the rental market and the overall economy still recovering from the COVID pandemic, you might want to raise the rent two percent instead of three percent. That’s going to create goodwill between you and your existing tenants, and it won’t impact your cash flow negatively.
We can tell you more about tenant retention and anything pertaining to Santa Rosa property management. Contact us at Redwood Residential Property Management.