By Tracey March
Tenants who pay rent on time, keep their rental homes tidy, and are neighborly to fellow tenants, save property managers and owners a ton of money in advertising, marketing, and “make ready” expenses.
A high turn over rate of desirable tenants takes money right out of your pocket and makes a rental complex, single family home, or condo a far less valuable asset for the owner.
If your turnover rate is high among good tenants, listed below are a few of the common mistakes you might be making and ways to fix them.
1. The main reason customers stop supporting a business is that they feel they were treated poorly.
In Calming Upset Customers, Rebecca Morgan describes the reasons people stop being your customers:
- 3% move out of the area
- 5% buy a house
- 9% find a better place
- 14% just simply don’t like their apartment
- 65% felt slighted in some way by their landlord or staff
A 65% customer loss is huge; however, the good news is that great customer service can control that number.
2. When tenants don’t complain, you don’t get an opportunity to solve the problem.
Ninety-six percent of customers don’t complain when they have a problem, according to a Technical Assistance Research study. This means that for every complaint made by a resident, there are nine more renters who have a complaint but don’t speak up.
So it makes sense that the residents who get the most upset are often the ones you don’t notice. They drop their rental payments in the rent box every month. They never complain about loud neighbors, even though others do. They change their own air conditioning and heating filters, rather than calling the office.
The thing to remember about complaints is that you want and need to hear them if you want an opportunity to fix them and to show your tenants that you can be responsive to their concerns. If your renters don’t complain when they have an issue, they’ll move out without giving you a reason and tell their friends that your rental properties weren’t worth the rent. Or, even worse. They’ll go on Yelp and give your property or property management company a bad rating.
Think about it. When was the last time you complained to management about the service or food at a restaurant? You likely complained to the person you were with, but you also probably told several people over the following months, and maybe they told some other people too.
Residents who complain and are satisfied with the response are likely to renew their lease agreements.
3. Encourage complaints by giving your tenants opportunities to voice their concerns.
Here are some tools to help tenants alert you to potential problems:
- Periodically, place a “Just Checking” card on your tenants front doors, asking for maintenance requests.
- Leave a “Rate Your Maintenance” card when a service request is completed, so you know the work was completed to both your standard and that of the tenant.
- Include a “Maintenance Request” card in each month’s rental invoice, to give your tenants a friendly reminder that repairs and maintenance are important to you.
4. Remember that sometimes resident may have a problem that they haven’t articulated to you.
Whatever the reason, residents do get upset–justified or not. In order to make a resident happy, you must determine the source of the problem. A few reasons for an upset resident may be:
- Don’t feel listened to.
- Embarrassed by doing something incorrectly.
- Expectations have not been met.
- Already stressed-out from a day at work.
- Had a fight with spouse.
- Was told two different things by different people in the office.
- Was promised something that hasn’t been delivered.
- Has waited too long.
- Damage done to personal items.
- Told “I’ll call you back,” and never received a call.
- Someone in the office has argued wit him.
- Was given an out-of-the-blue reply.
- Tenant’s integrity or honesty was questioned.
- Someone laughed at something the tenant didn’t feel was funny.
Recognize that you can’t fix every problem. Just do your best to respond in a timely fashion.