Tenant turnover—a phrase most Property Managers do not like to hear. For a Property Manager, there’s nothing more satisfying than a “good” tenant. These are those tenants who pay their rents on time each and every month, are pretty much silent dwellers and renew their lease every year faithfully. Though it’s always great to strive for attracting these types of long-term renters, tenant turnover is a disturbing reality that, unfortunately, many Property Managers may face at one point or another. It not only puts a major dent in cash flow—from processing costs, advertising and showing costs to repairs and more—but is just overall bad for the bottom line.
There are certain common drivers that influence good renters to leave; some are out of the Property Manager’s control—like buying a home, moving out of town, losing a job, etc.—but there are others that can be addressed now with a few simple solutions.
Poor Customer Service
Exceptional customer service can be a key differentiator for an apartment community, and it starts from day one. Before prospective tenants physically visit a property, they have already been online scouting for reviews, reviewing floorplans, checking pricing and viewing pictures, which is why it is so important for a community to not only have a website, but maintain it regularly, ensuring that it is updated with the most current information to avoid any discrepancies when the prospect tours for the first time. This element of service also extends to when the prospect transitions into an actual tenant as well. Renters want to have an effective means of communicating with the Property Manager should a situation arise or they have a question and are not able to visit the leasing office in person or reach someone within business hours. Additionally, another customer service bonus that tenants prefer is the flexibility to pay their rents online, which removes the need for their reliance on the postal service and paper checks. Incorporating these features into one’s property offerings will not only generate happier tenants, but longer leases as well.
It is the expectation of the tenant that their maintenance request is handled in a timely manner—not to mention this is an obligation that all landlords must abide by. However, this can sometimes be difficult for Property Managers to manage, especially when request forms and phone calls are flooding in and there is a limited maintenance team on-site. Oftentimes, status requests and updates are ignored, which negatively impacts a property’s customer service rankings. It is important to ensure that all tenants have an efficient channel to submit requests for maintenance and that their requests have been acknowledged. It is always a good idea to keep them in the loop throughout the repair process, providing updates like repair times (especially if the issue will not be resolved within one visit), completion and next steps. A streamlined maintenance request process is mandatory for great customer service as well as long-term tenants.
Whether it’s loud, barking dogs, late night partyers or screaming children, bad neighbors have the potential to turn off great tenants, leading to turnover. For these situations, it’s always beneficial to be in the know, which means providing an open communications channel for tenants to send their complaints, so that they can be mitigated as quickly as possible. This can be done through a website contact form, resident portal or even phone call. A Property Manager should ensure that all tenant concerns are taken seriously and treated fairly. Communication with tenants should be maintained throughout the course of resolving the issue, and they should be kept informed of what is happening, reassured that their rights are being protected and that every effort is being made to resolve the issue. In turn, the tenant will not only appreciate these efforts, but will develop a deeper loyalty to the property when it comes time to renew.
Rent price is another factor that contributes to tenant turnover. When setting the rent for a property, it is important to make sure that it is competitive, yet fair for renters. Compare your property’s rates to similar units within the area, paying special attention to the offered amenities and condition of the property. Some questions to ask are: Do the amenities you offer justify the difference? What are the current vacancy rates? While most tenants do anticipate some extent of a rent increase at one point or another, no tenant will ever be happy when this happens. When it is time to consider raising rents, properties should make sure they are abiding their state’s rent control statutes, first and foremost, then are assessing the value of their current tenants; considering the last time rents were increased, preparing the communication as well as justification for the increase; solidifying the date/time of the increase (at least 60 days in advance to allow the tenants to prepare); and being prepared to face some contention, which is normal, but is also why communication will always be key to ensuring the increase goes over as smooth as possible.
Rentbot can help.
Rentbot is a one-stop web solution for a good majority of one’s property needs, and can help solve many of the issues listed above. While Rentbot can’t remove bad neighbors or help with raising rents, it can definitely serve as a communications channel for tenants when these instances do arise. If that wasn’t enough, Rentbot also has your maintenance request process and customer service solved.
One way an apartment community can save time and increase efficiency is by simplifying the maintenance request procedure. Rentbot streamlines the online maintenance management process by allowing tenants the ability to fill out a simple request form which details the apartment unit, maintenance issue, contact information and tenant name and routes this request to the responsible party. This, in turn, reduces processing times, boosts productivity and improves service. With everything being handled online, it will be easier to provide status updates and email notifications, which tenants will appreciate.
Now a days, an online presence is more important than ever, especially when it comes to apartment communities. Renters want to conduct their own research before committing to a property visit or application. Rentbot allows communities the ability to not only showcase the property in an elegant, sleek and attractive way through high quality visuals, dynamic floorplans and up-to-date availability options, but provides a responsive method of communicating with prospective and current tenants as well—whether it’s by email or chat. Rentbot also makes paying rent simple as pie through its online payment options; thus, removing the worry of mailing times completely. Tenants will truly appreciate the modern options Rentbot provides, and an added bonus is that it can be integrated with most any existing Property Management software platform. Why not give them a try? There’s no need to risk tenant turnover when Rentbot can help alleviate many of the common factors for you.
About the Author
Jonsette Calloway joined the Rentbot team in 2015. With a background in public relations, advertising and copywriting, she has helped a multitude of clients achieve their marketing and communications goals within various fields, but she particularly enjoys working with the apartment industry.