Managing Tenants

6 Reasons Why Tenants Leave Their Rental Property

| 3 min. read

In a recent survey, only 36% of renters reported that they plan to stay in their current rental by mid-2023. For landlords looking to keep their rental property occupied, this statistic can cause some alarm. 

Realistically, there are some things landlords can’t change about the property to keep tenants forever. But knowing why tenants move can help you better predict how long they’ll stay. You can use this knowledge to keep your property occupied and profitable.

Which Renters Are Most Likely to Move

Between mid-2022 and mid-2023, 31% of renters definitely plan to move out of their current property; and an additional 33% of renters were on the fence about whether or not to move. As tenants take factors like rising rents and moving costs into account, they’re feeling greater uncertainty about whether to stay or go. This is particularly true for younger renters. 

Here are the demographics of those most likely to move out within the next six months:

  • Young adults with full-time employment  
  • Couples and families with kids  
  • Residents of single-family properties and high-end rentals  
  • Households with annual incomes of more than $150,000 who have been able to save up for a down payment over the last year  
  • Renters with a strong desire to own a home

Let’s unpack these demographics and dive into the top six reasons tenants are moving out, plus what landlords can do to prevent it.

The Top Reasons Why Renters Move Out

#1: Homeownership

Buildium’s most recent Industry Report reveals that 35% of renters who are considering moving plan to purchase a home of their own—particularly young and middle-aged couples and families. Due to a cultural emphasis on the importance of owning property, many renters have been saving up for a downpayment on their own homes for several years. When a life event occurs, such as a new family member or job, or the market is right, tenants will jump on the opportunity to join the real estate ladder, leaving landlords with an unoccupied property to fill.

#2: Affordability

Often coupled with the desire for homeownership, many monthly mortgage payments are lower than typical rent in similar neighborhoods, which entices renters to make a move. In fact, 32% of renters considering moving out cite affordability as a primary consideration, whether they’re struggling financially or looking for better value.

#3: Location

Changes in a job situation or family responsibilities also have renters leaving their current residence. One in four renters who are considering moving may choose to change locations for personal reasons—such as a better school district—while 17%, primarily young adults, may do so for work or school.

#4: Amenities

One place a landlord can make changes to ensure tenant retention is through amenity offerings. 22% of renters consider moving out to find a rental with features that are more desirable or better suited to their needs. Young adults in particular are enticed to move by amenities, followed closely by middle-aged renters with kids. A big draw, especially for families with young children, is the ability to keep pets on the property. Landlords should understand what amenities renters are looking for and consider what more their property can provide. 

#5: Space

Another major reason tenants move is space. In fact, 18% of renters may move in the next year because their household needs have changed, whether they’re looking for more space, less space, or a different layout. A growing family may need more bedrooms. A new job working from home may require permanent office space. While you can’t change the size of your rental property—at least without major renovations—landlords can look to invest in properties of various sizes in similar neighborhoods. This way, if a tenant needs to move, they might be comfortable in another one of your properties!

#6: Experience

The final reason tenants are itching to move is a less-than-fortunate experience with their landlord. Luckily for landlords, this reason is entirely within your control. By following proven techniques to keep great tenants and maintain cordial relationships with them, landlords can retain the 14% of renters who are considering moving because they haven’t been satisfied with their experience in their current rental.

Retaining Your Tenants

While there’s not much a landlord can do if a tenant wishes to buy a property, or a renter needs to change locations, there are easy ways to improve the amenities offered, space available, and experience tenants have when living in your property. 

Partnering with a property manager can help landlords spot ways to improve their offerings and ensure good tenant relationships over time. Plus, working with the right property manager can reveal where to invest in your real estate business to ensure higher tenant retention rates. 

Finally, you may consider asking tenants to complete a move-out survey that provides feedback on their time in your property. It’s extremely valuable to understand why tenants leave your property and where they move to. This allows you to adjust your real estate strategy in the future to keep good tenants as long as possible.

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