How to Keep a Good Tenant
In the short term, they’re servicing your mortgage and longer term, by treating your investment property as their home, they’re ensuring you’ll reap those capital gains benefits.
We’ve all heard the horror stories about bad tenants who fail to pay rent, cause damage and rack up those unwanted costs of wasted time, money and stress. A good tenant, however, is worth their weight in gold. In the short term, they’re servicing your mortgage and longer term, by treating your investment property as their home, they’re ensuring you’ll reap those capital gains benefits.
So when you find yourself a good tenant, how do you keep them?
Like attracts like
Long before you’re advertising for a tenant, buy well. A decent property in a desirable location goes a long way in attracting quality candidates and also increases the pool of options you’ll get to pick from.
The property itself should be appealing as a place to live – a lick of paint, fresh carpets, well maintained quality appliances (eg. stoves, dishwashers, AC units, hotwater systems) all create a home good tenants will take pride in and care for.
Start friendly and stay that way
Remind your tenant that you are not some disembodied, soulless landlord out there in the ether but a human being as well by leaving them a welcome gift. Imagine their surprise to move in and find a beautiful bunch of flowers with a little note welcoming them to their new home – or a bottle of wine, box of chocolates, a double pass to the movies.
It doesn’t have to be big or expensive, or identify you personally, but an initial friendly gesture will help create a reciprocal sense of goodwill. Consider also sending a Christmas card each year as a way of investing in a positive relationship.
Ideally, your property manager will have cross-checked the applications and found you the best tenant. Trust that they have done their job properly. Don’t spy on your tenant, harass them or make unannounced visits. If you’re wanting them to abide by the Residential Tenancies Act in your state, you must as well.
“When you find yourself a good tenant, how do you keep them?”
Don’t get greedy
As tempting as it might be to advertise for the highest rent possible, competitively pricing your property will attract a larger number of candidates. Not only does this increase your chances of getting a good tenant, it also minimises the amount of time the property is vacant and costing you in lost rental returns. Plus, it reduces the chances of your tenant moving on when they find something similar for less.
Then once you’ve got yourself a tenant you’re happy with, carefully consider rent increases. Is the few extra hundred dollars a year you might gain worth accidentally chasing out a good tenant who will look for a better value option elsewhere? Think of the lost rent, the additional advertising costs, the hassle and the old saying that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Smaller increases less often can buy you years of peaceful slumber.
Maintain to gain
The whole point of buying an investment property is that one day you are going to sell it for a profit. Keeping it well-maintained serves this end goal, plus keeps your tenant happy.
Good tenants won’t make ridiculous requests (“we want a spa and a tennis court and we want it on the roof!”) but they will make reasonable ones when required, so grant them promptly.
If the blinds fall down or there’s a leaking tap, however minor it may appear, the fact your tenant is seeking repairs means they are caring about the condition of your property and doing their bit to maintain it in the best quality, which is a win-win for both parties.
Contact our Property Management Team here.