Guide To Getting Long-Term Renters
Landlords rely on keeping their rental properties filled to ensure income rolls in steadily. A good tenant means reliable rental payments, a better-kept property, and fewer problems overall. But to bring in quality tenants, a landlord needs to understand what potential tenants are looking for in a rental. In addition, landlords need to know what keeps a quality tenant, thus ensuring steady rental income for years to come.
Here are some things to know about building a positive, profitable landlord/renter relationship.
What Do Landlords Look For In a Tenant?
No landlord wants a bad tenant. To help select the right tenant for their property, they’ve learned to look for certain qualities. Among those are good references and not appearing on any database of troublesome tenants. In addition, they look for a history of paying rent on time and taking good care of the property. Other qualities landlords find attractive are good communication skills, a willingness to notify the landlord when issues arise, and sticking to the conditions laid out in the lease.
What Do Tenants Look For In a Property?
As much as landlords look for certain qualities in a tenant, tenants also look for certain things when looking for the best place to live. These often break down like this:
- Overall condition of rental property
- Living and storage space
- Appliances included
- All ready for move-in
- Signs of recent upgrades or renovations
- Outdoor space
- School District (if they have children)
In addition, tenants are looking for a cooperative, polite, and trustworthy landlord. How a landlord’s personality comes across when renting a property can significantly impact a potential tenant’s decision to rent.
Keys To Attracting and Keeping Tenants
Obtaining and holding on to the tenants you want isn’t difficult. Here are some of the most important things to consider:
- Make Tenants Feel Welcome – It may seem insignificant, but even small things can make a big difference. Consider offering a small welcome gift or a gift certificate to a local eatery. With your gift, include your contact information on a card they can easily reference when needed.
- Be Responsive With Questions and Repairs – When a tenant calls with a question, issue, or need for repair, a quick response is incredibly appreciated. It’s even more appreciated when followed up by an answer, action, or repair. While some repairs may be a mere inconvenience for you, something like a broken water pipe, nonworking stove, or HVAC issues can be more immediately serious for the tenant. A landlord who can be reached and who can take care of problems quickly is one a tenant will want to keep.
- Respect Tenant Privacy – This can be a significant factor in how comfortable a tenant is living in your rental. People like their property and are uncomfortable with the idea of someone entering their home (the space where they’re paying rent) either while they’re not present or without invitation or warning. While you have the right to ensure your property is well kept, be aware of local laws regarding entering a tenant’s living space and try to schedule visits—even repair visits—in advance.
- Be Flexible – Potential renters like to have options or at least see that you’re willing to be flexible when it comes to your rental policies. Most often, this involves pets. If you allow pets, you increase the number of people who may be interested in renting from you, so consider making some allowances when possible. Other areas to be flexible could include parking, storage, lawn care, snow removal, and date of lease renewal.
- Offer Safety Features and Other Amenities – Safety lights, security systems, door security cameras, or even handrails in the shower all convey that tenant safety is a concern. As for amenities, a contracted snow removal service, picnic tables and grills in the backyard, and laundry machines in the basement are always welcome.
- Be Reasonable With Rent Increases – Rent increases happen. Most tenants understand that this will occur from time to time. At the same time, too high a rent increase all at once will likely send your tenant looking for another place to live. Try to match your increases to what the local economy can easily handle, and be sure to give your tenants adequate notice.
- Online Payment Options – While many tenants will still pay by check, more and more people are conducting all their financial transactions online. It would be best if you considered this convenience by allowing tenants to pay via an online service such as PayPal, Stripe, Venmo, and so forth. These services keep records of each transaction for your protection and the tenants. Try to accommodate service fees when you can.
- Offer Incentives – If you have a good tenant on the fence about whether or not they’re renewing your lease, you may want to offer an incentive of some kind to keep them. Incentives could include a month of free rent, an upgrade to a larger unit if available, an offer of professional cleaning service to come in once or twice a year, or perhaps allow a small pet if you hadn’t allowed one before. A good tenant is gold. Why not take the extra step to keep them?
Managing Your Rental Property and Landlord-Tenant Relationship
A positive landlord-tenant relationship is a two-way street, and it’s the responsibility of both parties to make it work. Taking care of your property is essential to keeping your rentals profitable, so, too, is taking care of your relationship with your tenants. Happy tenants are more likely to renew leases and care for your property more. Likewise, you want tenants to treat you and your property with respect.
That way, everyone gains.
If you need help managing your rental property in the Charlotte area, be sure to give our team a call! 704.535.1122