There are many benefits of keeping your tenants happy in your rental community.
No landlord wants to have unsatisfied tenants. At the same time, you don’t want to sacrifice your business income by giving a free month’s rent in order to make your tenants like you. Instead, apply a few of these ideas in your role as a landlord and your tenants will not only be happy, they will feel as though their landlord actually cares. And in the end, they will become long-term tenants that will give your community a good reputation as well as recommending you to others.
Have a presence at the community
If you have someone hired to do the lawn care/snow removal, you most likely don’t stop by your property very often. Once or twice a week, drop by your property, pick up loose trash in the yard or in the hallways (also check the laundry facilities to make sure things are operable, or if there is a repair note. Often times, tenants will post a note, instead of calling, if machines are broken). If you see a tenant in the hallway or outside, be respectful and carry on a quick friendly chat with them. Ask specifically how things are with the apartment. This gives you the opportunity to find out if they have any issues and gives them the impression you really do care. It is comforting to residents to know you are around if ever needed.
Be available for any situation
When a tenant calls, answer your phone, or return the call as soon as possible, and always be courteous. Even if you are in the middle of a project, make them feel as though their call is important. Your tenant already feels like a pest for calling about a problem. Don’t let your vocal intonation affirm that. If they are calling because they got locked out of their home, stop by and let them in, instead of making them find and pay for a locksmith. You will be a HUGE lifesaver in the tenant’s perspective. When a tenant asks for something to be repaired, whether it’s a major or minimal repair, do it! By setting it off to the way side, your tenant will start getting frustrated, and then they will give you a list of other minimal things that they want repaired. They're not paying rent for something that’s broken.
Provide supplies and essential equipment
If you are renting out a house, or if your units have laundry hookups, find out if your tenants have their own washer and dryer. If not, give them two options: help them find a cheap used set to purchase, or supply them with new/used set and add an additional fee to their monthly rent. After the tenant pays the deposit, first month’s rent, and all the utilities, it takes time to be able to save money for another large expense. You can even give them the option to make 12 monthly payments and buy the machines. Therefore, they are responsible for any required maintenance.
During the winter months, set out a salt bucket and a few shovels in the entryway or in a utility closet tenants have access to. Even though you or the maintenance crew plans on going to the property to remove snow, the sidewalks are still going to be slippery, and tenants are at risk of falling and getting injured. Most people are more than willing to throw a little salt out to prevent that from happening. Tenants typically won’t have their own shovel since they aren’t expected to remove snow. They probably didn’t consider the fact that their vehicle is going to be buried after the streets or parking lot gets plowed. Once again, come to the rescue and provide them with the appropriate equipment.
Time and time again, landlords have those certain tenants that always pay their rent late. In these situations, why wouldn’t you add a late fee!? Then you have those other tenants who ALWAYS pay their rent on time, sometimes even ahead of time. If these tenants call you in advance and explain to you they’re going to be a few days late (perhaps they can’t cash their paycheck because the banks are closed due to the holiday. Maybe their car broke down and they had to pay for the maintenance upfront. Now they have to wait a week for their next paycheck), be compassionate and understanding. Unexpected car repairs are spendy, and now your tenant has been shorted out on cash. Give them a break and forgive the late fee. They will deeply appreciate it, and by the next month, like always, that rent check will be in your hand on time!
Being a landlord comes with a list of responsibilities, but one important thing to try to do is keep your tenants happy. No matter how hard you have tried, there will be a few that you just can’t seem to please, but the point is that you at least tried! By applying a few of these ideas into your daily activities, you will be successful. Whether or not your tenant verbally tells you how happy they are, you will be able to tell by just communicating with them and by their actions. Give it a try! You might be surprised at what you see!