August 29, 2014
7 Ways to Make Happy Tenants
Many landlords are looking for ways to protect themselves and their property. They are naturally very property focused, thinking about liabilities and risks. Some landlords will be so concerned about these factors that they will forget to consider how they impact the tenant. Let’s flip this on its head. Try to imagine that the tenants are actually part of the property itself. The apartment community is the investment property. After all, without paying tenants, the property does not bring in income. Therefore at the front of your property strategy should be a tenant focused approach. The following are some important steps you can take to make a happy community.
1. Provide basic essentials on the first day
There are a few things that tenants need right away and they didn’t know it until they arrive.
- A Roll of Toilet Paper: It doesn’t cost too much money to have a roll on the ring when they arrive. They will be relieved after a long trip moving there things to find that they are able to use the restroom immediately.
- Soap: The other bathroom essential. A single bar of soap is still well within budget.
- Water: Moving items in and out of the property will be exhausting. To make life a little easier on the tenant, give them some water to drink in their unit.
- A Roll of Paper Towel: Tenants are going to make a mess early due to the move in. Make it easy to clean up for them.
2. Make rent payments convenient
Pay by mail is slow and frequently means that even if the tenant remembers on the last day, payment will still be late. A convenient way for tenants to pay rent is by just having a locked box with a slit on site for tenants to walk by and drop their checks into. You also can give them the means to pay rent by credit/debit card online.
3. Have workers that are responsive to work requests
Tenants are already unhappy when something isn’t working or is broken in their unit. They get very irritable when they’ve made a work order and it takes an unreasonable amount of time for the worker to arrive.
4. Refurbish frequently
Making frequent improvements to your property will make it more competitive. Tenants always prefer living in a nicer property. The tenant has signed a lease to spend 365 days in that unit. Older amenities or amenities that are in poor condition will wear on the tenant overtime. Perhaps the dryer just doesn’t dry the clothes all the way. Or maybe it takes too long for the shower to become warm water. Whatever it is, do as much as you can to minimize these minor inconveniences. Small problems become big problems from the tenant’s perspective, with the passage of time.
5. Have reasonable rental rates
This is always a balancing act. Landlords will often refurbish and add new amenities to the premises with the express purpose of raising the rental rate. But making the rental rate too high can make for some unhappy tenants. Even if you are able to fill the vacancy with a higher rate, tenants can sometimes hold a grudge. Being less competitive also means you will have fewer tenants to choose from to rent to.
6. Create a feeling of security
The feeling of security is different than actually being secure. There a variety of ways you can make tenants feel more secure on the premises. This includes:
- Security Camera in the hallways.
- An extra lock from the inside of the unit.
- Wire mesh over the front of windows.
- Keypad lock at the property entrance
All of these items do actually make tenants more secure to one degree or another, but they do even more in terms of the psychological effect it has on feeling secure in their own home.
7. Talk to your tenants
This is a simple, no brainer way to make tenants feel more comfortable in their own home. Some property owners and managers have a standoffish attitude about how much they converse with their tenants. While it isn’t good to over socialize with tenants, it’s important to have an easy approachable nature and be willing to spare five minutes for a little small talk. Every apartment community is different. If you’re actively in conversation with your tenants, they will be better able to communicate their specific needs to you. If you hear a good number of your residents requesting the same thing, you can start implementing site-wide changes that will positively impact the whole community.