It’s worth your time and resources to implement a tenant retention plan. You need to actively work towards encouraging your residents to renew their lease agreements at the end of the tenancy.
When you don’t have a strong tenant retention plan in place, you’re missing an opportunity to increase what you earn by avoiding vacancy and turnover costs.
Most Jacksonville landlords aren’t eager to keep all of their tenants. If you have a resident who pays rent late every month or is totally unwilling to communicate or maintain your home, the end of your lease term is a great time to go your separate ways. But, if the tenants you have in place are easy to work with and reliable when it comes to renting, maintenance, and the lease agreement, these tenant retention strategies are worth implementing.
We are sharing our top 10 tips today, based on our experience as Jacksonville property managers. Try them out.
1. Make Leasing Easy
You’re showing tenants what type of landlord you’ll be as soon as they call or message to inquire about a property. If you’re responsive and accommodating, you’ll likely attract them to your property easily, and developing a professional and positive relationship will not be difficult.
Be helpful. Let prospective tenants schedule showings at times that are convenient for them. Self-showing technology can really facilitate an easy process of seeing the home and completing an application as long as you’re available to address any of their questions or concerns.
Work with tenants during the application and screening process so they know you’re proactive about getting them approved and moved in. Don’t make them wait to find out that they passed your screening; send an email or make a phone call as soon as you have gathered and analyzed all the data you need and verified all the information you have.
2. Provide a Stress-Free Experience on Move-In Day
Moving is a challenge even for the most organized tenants. You can help them feel more at ease by providing a simple, stress-free move-in experience. Have the lease signed and the move-in funds collected before their moving day. Go over the lease agreement and answer any questions.
You can also provide a brief orientation of the home so they know how to set the thermostat and where to find the breaker box. Then, work with tenants on a move-in inspection to ensure that you’re all on the same page about the condition of the property.
When Jacksonville tenants move into a home easily and efficiently, and that home is in excellent condition and perfectly clean on day one, you’re setting a great foundation for your tenant retention plans.
3. Establish Proactive Communication
Good relationships start with good communication. It’s not a radical suggestion to say you must be open, transparent, available, and accessible to your tenants if you want to retain them. Never leave your tenants guessing what you expect from them.
Throughout the tenancy, be prepared to communicate about:
- Pest control visits
- Rental payments
Always answer questions promptly. Be available by phone, text, email, and even social media. Tenants have different comfort levels, and you’ll need to understand what your tenants need when it comes to communication.
Invest in technology, but keep communication personal. Check-in with your residents once in a while to make sure they’re having a good experience.
4. Make Maintenance a Priority
Maintenance is often expensive, frustrating, and difficult. Costs are rising and even finding good vendors to help you can be a challenge with the labor market squeezed. Sometimes, those emergency repairs are challenging to manage, especially when you have a tenant who is upset.
You can’t avoid maintenance, however, and with a solid maintenance plan in place, you’re more likely to retain the tenants who find responsiveness very important.
If you’re slow to respond or you ignore the requests altogether, your tenants are likely to leave at the end of the lease term. So make maintenance a priority, and respond to repair needs with a sense of urgency. Even if they’re minor.
Communicate your maintenance procedures, and then be responsive. It will help you keep your tenants when they know that their repair requests are being heard. Even if you can’t fix something right away, let your tenants know where things stand and what you plan to do about the problem moving forward.
5. Improve Your Jacksonville Rental Property
Improvements and updates are not like maintenance in that they’re not generally required. However, if you want to improve the condition and value of your investment while at the same time retaining tenants, consider making some cost-effective renovations, especially if your tenants have a specific request. Do they want a more efficient dishwasher? Consider installing one. New paint? Go ahead and do it, especially if the lease renewal is coming up.
The best tenants in Jacksonville want to live in a home that’s attractive and comfortable. Some of the cost-effective upgrades you can make to attract and retain them include:
- Replacing out-of-date appliances and installing energy=efficient models.
- Painting walls that have become faded or chipped.
- Cleaning or replacing carpet.
- Updating the landscaping
Updates like these will help you motivate tenants to renew their lease agreements. You can offer a new washer or a freshly painted bedroom. Maybe your tenants want a backsplash in the kitchen or better lighting outside.
If you’re willing to hear your tenant’s requests and update your property to make it attractive and competitive, you’re going to have an easier time keeping your tenants.
6. Provide a Pet-Friendly Property
Retention can be easily improved by allowing pets. Not only will pet-friendly properties rent faster and earn you more money through pet fees and pet rent, they’ll also help you keep your tenants in place. Your residents don’t want to pay a new pet fee every year by moving into a new property. They also don’t want to spend a lot of time finding another rental home that will allow their pets. When you’re willing to consider pets, you’re likely to keep your pet-owning tenants longer.
7. Offer Resources and Support to Jacksonville Tenants
Be a source of support to your tenants. That’s going to keep them in place because just about every tenant has had at least one bad landlord. If you can provide a positive rental experience, you’ll retain tenants. Provide resources and keep in touch without being overbearing. Tenants are looking for privacy, and you don’t need to be over-friendly. But, when you can provide resources, pass on some interesting information, express gratitude for on-time rental payment, or help coordinate maintenance, you should get in touch.
8. Consider Incentives for Lease Renewals
As the time approaches when you have to ask your tenants if they intend to renew the lease, think about what you’ll be willing to negotiate. Some of those upgrades we mentioned earlier can be used as a bargaining chip. You can also offer a free carpet cleaning or give tenants a gift card to a local restaurant or coffee shop when you ask about the lease renewal.
Small gifts demonstrate gratitude. If your tenants know that you want them to stay, they’ll feel valued and appreciated.
9. Make Rental Increases Reasonable
You will likely raise the rent on your Jacksonville property at renewal time, and your tenants will more than likely expect it. They know the market and they understand that rents have been rising while they were living in your property. Don’t shy away from increasing the rent when you’re working on tenant retention.
There should be an increase, but it must be a responsible increase. Study the Jacksonville rental market and look at homes that are similar to your rental. Chances are, you’ll be able to raise your own rent while still staying at or just below the market prices. This will encourage tenants to stay because even though their rent is going up, they don’t have to worry about the expense and hassle of moving into a new place that probably will cost just as much.
10. Consider Jacksonville Property Management
Retaining tenants is easier in a professionally managed home. Tenants like to work with Jacksonville property management companies instead of independent landlords because they understand that systems, processes, and communication will be automated and consistent. They know that property managers understand the laws and the requirements of rental properties in Jacksonville.
We mentioned this earlier – most tenants have had at least one bad landlord experience. That can make a lot of good residents hesitate before renting a home from an individual rather than a management company.
We have solid and effective tenant retention plans, and when you work with good property managers in Jacksonville, you can expect lower vacancy and turnover costs.
Let’s talk further about how to keep your great tenants in place. Contact us at Red Rooster Property Management. We are your local experts when it comes to rental properties in Jacksonville, St. Johns, and Orange Park.