When you are managing a property portfolio, a small amount of tenant turnover is expected. However, some landlords experience a higher turnover rate than others. Whilst some tenants will decide to leave due to a significant life change (getting a new job or having a child), others will move out based on their experience in the property.
Whilst you cannot control all the factors that lead to a tenant turnover, you can reduce your vacancy rate by providing an excellent service. We would suggest taking the following actions.
Ask for Feedback
Before you can start fixing issues, you will first need to identify the concern that your tenants have. Plenty of landlords fail and ask their tenants for feedback and miss out on the opportunity to improve. Tenants may not voice their concerns on smaller queries to avoid a difficult conversation. Therefore, landlords should make the first move to invite feedback. This can be less intimidating for tenants. On top of this, they will appreciate the effort shown to make sure they are comfortable.
During the tenancy, you can request feedback from your tenants simply by calling them periodically. Landlords with large portfolios may struggle to find the time for this, in which case sending them a survey via email may be more appropriate.
If your tenants do decide to leave, it is important to ask why they are leaving. By querying them on their choice to move, you will be able to identify what is causing them to leave.
Raise Rent Carefully
As a landlord, keeping your portfolio profitable will be one of your top priorities. On the other hand, your tenants will want to keep the best deal. Increasing the price on your tenants’ rent may cause turnover so it is important to make sure the change is justified.
Before you make any changes, you should consider the rental prices of other properties in your area. This will help you dictate whether your change is reasonable. You should also bear in mind what your tenants can afford as this will also affect their stay.
Be prepared that increasing the rent may lead to several vacancies. You will need to make sure you have a plan in place to fill vacancies quickly. You will need to analyse your cash flow to determine when it is the right time to raise costs.
Screen Tenants Thoroughly
Problematic tenants do not only pose a risk to your properties, but they can also impact your tenant turnover rate. If you rush through the selection process, you are more likely to end up with poor tenants.
Noisy tenants may cause other people in the building to leave. Similarly, antisocial behaviour may cause them to stray. Evicting these kinds of tenants can fix issues but you will have to deal with the vacancy that follows. Ultimately, it is better to spend more time selecting tenants to find good occupants. Ensure that your background checks are extensive and that you have a good understanding of their finances before you agree.
Respond to Issues Promptly
When your tenants raise problems, you should respond and combat the issue quickly. A slow approach to addressing concerns will not only convey apathy to your tenants but will also lead to your relationship deteriorating. This can turn into a high tenant turnover rate as they grow annoyed with the lack of care demonstrated.
If you are managing a large portfolio, you may struggle to keep a track of tenant communications and find the time to reply to them. Organising your communications effectively can help towards this. That is why property management software, such as Decorus for Sage, can prove so useful.
With this kind of system, you can easily track communications and send out correspondence in bulk. Also, if you tighten up the rest of your daily processes, you will have more time to spend on replying to tenants.
Keep the Property in Good Condition
Tenants are not going to want to stay in a run-down property. It is not wise to neglect your accommodation for the sake of saving money as it will deter existing tenants.
Before the tenant moves in, you should examine the property to make sure it is in good condition. If you need to, pay for repairs and if you afford it, make updates to the property. The more selling points your property has, the longer the tenant’s stay will be.
You should frequently clean and improve your property’s exterior. Improving the outside appearance could be as simple as planting more trees and flowers, mowing the lawn, and clearing the guttering. It only takes a small change to revitalise a property.
Consider Updating Your Pet Policy
Pets are often seen as family members and plenty of tenants are keen to adopt. If your lease agreement does not allow pets, your tenants may start looking around for a property that does.
Changing your lease to include pets will not only reduce your tenant turnover but it opens you up to a wider pool of candidates. Many landlords worry about the damage pets can cause, but this can be accounted for in the deposit.
On top of this, some animals pose less of a risk than others. Small, caged pets will not be able to roam freely around the property and do not make the same level of noise as larger animals. It is up to your discretion, but it is worth considering if you are struggling to hang onto tenants or fill vacancies.
Use Property Management Software to Track Tenants
Property management software can help landlords by organising their workload and automating daily tasks. This can help reduce tenant turnover by streamlining existing processes, such as communicating with tenants.
Property management software is designed to reduce the time taken to complete tasks and alleviate admin tasks. This gives landlords more time to dedicate to their tenants and their needs. The software’s layout also minimises the chance of communication errors by providing landlords with a summary screen and tenant profiles, where they can see the history of each occupant.
Aligned with financial data, landlords can easily review their portfolio finances to aid their decisions. This can help you spot weaknesses so you can put a plan into action to address them.
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