The success of your investment property depends on the satisfaction of your tenants. If they’re unhappy with the services that they receive, they may decide not to renew their lease when the leasing period ends.
Since tenants play such an important role, it’s important to know how you can improve tenant retention, and in turn, maximize your investment. But how, exactly, can you encourage tenants to stay? One good starting point is by communicating with your tenants.
Why is communication important in property management?
#1 It allows tenants to reach their landlords at any time.
Tenants should always know how to contact their landlords. At the start of the tenancy, the tenant should be given the updated contact information of their landlord or property management company. This allows both parties to reach each other in the event of an emergency, such as serious maintenance issues that arise in the middle of the night.
#2 It eliminates misunderstandings between landlords and tenants.
When tenants request repairs, they expect to hear from their landlord within the day. If you don’t communicate with your tenant to update them on the steps you’re taking to address their concerns, they will begin to feel frustrated. No tenant wants to be left in the dark. As a landlord, it is your responsibility to keep your tenants up-to-date with matters concerning their home, safety, and comfort.
#3 It lets landlords reach their tenants during disasters.
Natural disasters can occur without warning. In the event of hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and so on, landlords must ensure the safety of their tenants. A landlord must make every effort to prepare their tenants and their property for the coming disaster. Aside from equipping the rental property with the basics (e.g. first-aid kit, flashlights, etc.), the landlord should be ready to provide their tenants with information such as the evacuation plan, local government directives, and so on.
#4 It improves tenant retention.
Not responding to calls, failing to provide information, and ignoring messages are some of the ways in which you can give your tenants a rental experience that they will never forget — and not in a good way. Poor communication can cause your tenants to pack up and leave the moment that their lease agreement ends.
To improve tenant retention, you and your property managers must be responsive to your tenants’ needs. Being communicative, such as checking in to see if they might need anything, can go a long way. By creating a positive experience for your tenants, there’s a good chance that they’ll want to continue renting for another year.
How can you improve your communication with your tenant?
Communication shouldn’t be limited to asking your tenant to pay up when their rent is due. As a landlord, you should constantly be getting in touch with your tenants. If you’re struggling to break the barriers between yourself and your tenants, here are some tips to improve your communication:
#1 Provide multiple channels of communication
During the lease signing process, ask your tenant to list down their preferred ways of communication. This can include text messaging, emailing, calling, Facebook messaging, and so on. Require them to provide at least two modes of communication, so that you’ll always have another option should one of them fail.
If your tenant provides an unpopular mode of communication, you must insist that they provide an alternative. It’s highly unlikely for tenants to not have at least one of the most common modes of communication.
#2 Identify the kind of communication tenants will receive
Tenants won’t like it if their landlord is breathing down their necks all the time. If you can, identify the types of communication that your tenant will be receiving. This can prevent your tenant from feeling overwhelmed by all of your messages.
An excellent place to start is by identifying what communication is required. For instance, this may include notices on rent payments, interruption of services, repair schedules, and so on. Keep in mind that certain matters, such as evictions, should be served to tenants through written documents and not just emails, texts, and phone calls.
#3 Provide updates on maintenance issues
Not all maintenance issues can be resolved immediately. As the landlord, you must provide follow-up messages to your tenants, especially if you’re still in the process of searching for third-party vendors who can fix the problem.
Tenants who do not receive updates will become more frustrated. They will feel like their landlord is not doing anything to resolve the issue. As the property owner, it is your responsibility to keep your tenants informed on every action that is being taken to remedy the problem.
#4 Always make a courtesy call
Imagine walking into your home, only to find a stranger in your bedroom. Chances are, the first thing that you would do is to call the police. It won’t matter if the stranger is in the house for maintenance work — what matters is that someone uninvited came into your home without your knowledge.
If you don’t want that scenario to happen with your tenants, you must make a courtesy call before sending third-party vendors to the rental property. Your tenants must be given advance notice as to when the work is scheduled to be done. Without making a courtesy call, you may be setting up your tenant for a potentially dangerous situation.
#5 Take care of maintenance requests quickly
One of the best ways to improve your relationship with your tenant, and ultimately, boost tenant retention, is by quickly addressing maintenance requests. Consider creating a list of screened service providers, such as handymen, plumbers, electricians, etc. whom you call at moment’s notice. By preparing this list in advance, you don’t have to spend time looking for reputable vendors in the area.
If you’ve hired a property management company, be sure to inquire if they have an established network of local vendors. Many property management firms can help you negotiate the best possible price without compromising the quality of work.
At Luxury Property Care, we leverage cutting-edge technology that enables our property managers to communicate with tenants throughout the entire duration of the lease. Through the AppFolio online portal, tenants can receive real-time updates on maintenance and repairs, as well as information regarding their payments.