While there are lots of variables in property investing, there is one key thing that all investors have in common – they want to attract and retain good tenants.
They’re the ones who take care of the property as if it was their own, keep it clean and in a good state, always pay rent on time and generally cause no trouble, all of which obviously benefit you as an investor.
What will also benefit you – once you have a good tenant – is tenant retention. Keeping a good tenant in there will minimise re-leasing fees and periods when your property in untenanted.
So how can you hold on to these good tenants when you find them?
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, here are some easy ways to show your tenants a bit of love and keep them happy in your investment property, which in turn, should keep you happy with your investment.
Be respectful and allow them privacy
Remember that while the property is your investment, it is the tenant’s home.
As such you should respect their privacy – that means no unannounced showing up or driving by each night to check on the property.
Leave this job to your Property Manager, who will perform inspections in line with tenancy laws. This is where keeping the emotional detachment from your investment also comes in handy.
Keep on top of repairs and maintenance
Not only is tending to repairs a legal requirement for landlords, but doing it in a timely and helpful manner will keep your tenants happy.
As well as responding promptly to repair requests, be proactive and keep on top of what needs replacing, updating or fixing in the property.
Getting onto repairs as soon as possible will help prevent damage from snowballing and leading to a cost blowout in the long run.
Also, by having a well-kept and nicely presented property in the first place, you’re much more likely to attract a higher quality of tenant who will continue to keep the property in a good sate.
Take requests seriously
Before blowing off requests that you don’t think are needed at the property – like a hook in the wall for a picture, or painting the nursery wall a new colour – remember once again that this is the tenants’ home and their requests should be considered and taken seriously. All within reason, of course.
Should you wish to deny their request, take the time to provide an explanation for your decision.
Be fair and gradual with rent increases
As a property investor, you should ensure that the rent you are charging is suitable for your property and suburb and in line with current market conditions, in order to maximise your returns and have a strong performing investment. This means that from time to time, a rent increase may be warranted.
However, you should avoid increasing the rent just for the sake of it, or because you would like a bit more extra money in your pocket each month and think you can get it from your tenant. While it may seem like a quick fix, it can be detrimental to your strategy in the long run when your tenant moves on to a more affordable place, and you struggle to get a new tenant in at that price.
A Property Manager will be able to tell you if you’re charging the right rent for a property in your area, and determine how much any increases should be.
When it is time to increase the rent, try and do it gradually so it’s not such a deterrent for the tenant.
Have good communications
When it comes to communicating with your tenant and Property Manager, be open, honest and prompt in replying to any calls or emails. It can be frustrating for tenants when they want to ask a question or request a repair but the Property Manager cannot get in contact with the landlord.
Once again, if you can’t fulfil a request or won’t be able to do it for some time, make the effort to explain why, to create better communication and understanding with your tenant.
It’s very easy for tenants to think of landlords in a negative light – they’re the unknown figure whose mortgage they are paying, often while struggling to put enough aside for their own home.
But there’s a very simple way to help overcome this:
If you have a good tenant, thank them!
There are lots of easy ways you can do this without going over the top – you could send them a bottle of wine at their lease renewal, send a card at Christmas, or simply ask your Property Manager to pass along your thanks for them looking after the property so well.