It takes time and money to find new tenants. Our post, “How to keep your California Tenants Happy” shows you how to make your California tenants happy for a long time.
According to the CBRE, the rental housing unit turnover (not renewed) in 2020 was 42%. This means that an average of over 40% of all housing rentals does not renew their leases. Thus, they move out leaving landlords with the burden of finding new tenants.
The National Apartment Association reports in 2021, that ”A single apartment turnover costs from $1,000 to $2,500 or $5,000 depending upon capital replacements”. So, the average landlord pays at least $1,000 to find a new tenant.
If you are a new landlord or thinking of becoming one, read our post How To Get Started As A Landlord.
Keeping your current tenants’ happy results in stable incomes. Also, no expenses cleaning up vacant units and finding new tenants. Read our suggestions here and use them.
How To Keep Your California Tenants Happy
Learn about how to attract good tenants. Read our post, Top Rental Features Attract Good Tenants.
Happy tenants stay longer, behave themselves, promptly pay the rent, and don’t abuse your property. They notify you of problems and emergencies. Often, they fix small things themselves.
Here’s what you need to do to keep your California tenants happy.
Educate Your Tenants
Develop a professional rapport with your tenants. Don’t become friends because it interferes with raising rents or evicting them. Stay professional due to the existing business relationship between you and your tenants.
Before your tenants move in, talk with them about the rules and your expectations. If they don’t understand the rules problems will occur. Avoid misunderstandings.
Go over the entire lease so they understand what it means. Explain your duties and theirs. Encourage them to ask questions about things not clear to them.
List what’s allowed and not allowed. For instance, smoking, large or dangerous pets, or operating a business on the premises.
Being transparent with a straightforward approach goes a long way with your tenants. Don’t be too polite or vague. Make sure your tenants understand their obligations and you take them seriously.
Good communication leads to your tenants having a good rental experience.
Read our post about What to Include in Your California Lease Agreement.
Check On Your Tenants
Most of the time, you only hear from your tenants around the time to pay the rent. But you should regularly reach out to your tenants.
Let your tenants know of your availability any time a problem occurs.
When you encounter problems with your tenant contact him or her to let them know something is unacceptable. Share your plans for solving the problem.
Getting feedback from your tenants lets you know if they feel upset, frustrated, or ready to move. Your tenant’s good rental experience is in your hands. Make them feel like you want them.
Perform Quick Repairs
According to a J. Turner Research survey, the top 10 apartment renters’ complaints. Including “Quality of response to maintenance requests and General lack of preventative maintenance”.
Tenants get frustrated when things break or don’t perform. Especially when the landlord or property manager doesn’t make quick repairs.
Broken plumbing or appliances disrupts your tenant’s ability to function. Don’t let your tenants get frustrated with you or your property. Put yourself in their shoes. Calling a repairman to schedule a visit to your property only takes a few minutes.
Take all repair requests seriously. Get the repairs done as fast as possible. Develop a reputation for getting things done right away. This will help you to attract more tenants.
Keep up with maintenance to avoid costly repairs. Schedule regular maintenance and upkeep at convenient times for your tenants.
Rapid Responses To Tenants’ Communications
Tenants reach out to their landlords when problems or serious concerns arise. They want a quick response. Don’t make them wait. If you’re too busy to reply, they might become too busy to pay the rent on time.
Don’t automatically send your tenants’ calls to voicemail. Tenants usually call in a panic when a serious problem with your property occurs. Don’t put off problems with your properties. Deal with them right away.
Make sure you or an employee gets back to the tenant within 24 hours. Tenants will appreciate it.
Send Reminders Before Rents Due
Hectic times lead to distractions making tenants forget to pay the rent on time. Unless you set up an automatic rent payment system, tenants need reminders.
A friendly reminder days before the rent due date wishing them good health and your availability to make repairs works wonders.
An Exception: Sometimes, tenants who always pay on time face situations where the rent may be late. If they contact you beforehand about a late payment don’t be rigid about the late payment penalties. A one-time (don’t make it a habit) waiver of the late fee goes a long way towards making your tenant happy.
Learn about different rent payment options in our post How To Collect Rent Payments.
Also, read our post about What to do When Your California Tenants Pay Rent Late.
Reward Your Tenants
Show your appreciation of good tenants by giving them rewards. For instance, send a gift card for their birthdays with a message about how you appreciate them as good tenants.
Keep track of your tenants’ special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, and religious holidays. Send a congratulations gift with a personal message about how you appreciate them.
Occasionally, call them to see how they’re doing. This allows them to point out potential problems before requiring costly repairs.
Make your tenants feel like they mean more to you than a monthly rent check.
A lease renewal also deserves a small reward. A gift of flowers or a fruit basket shows appreciation of the extended lease.
Being a landlord takes much time. But, maintain a good relationship with your tenants.
Inspect Your Properties Regularly
Make sure your written lease agreement specifies regular inspections.
It’s in your best interests to make sure your properties remain well-maintained.
Emphasize the purpose of your periodic inspections is not to pry into their privacy. But, to make sure no maintenance or repair issues exist.
Regular inspections with the cooperation of your tenants show you care about their safety.
Read our post about Landlord Right of Entry in California.
In conclusion, we answered the question, “How to keep your California tenants happy” with these suggestions:
- Educate your tenants;
- Check on your tenants;
- Perform quick repairs;
- Quickly respond to tenants’ communications;
- Send reminders before rents due;
- Reward your tenants; and
- Inspect your properties regularly.
For more tips, read our post about How to Successfully Manage Your Rental Property.
Tired of Being a California Landlord?
California landlords know it takes time to perform their duties while making their tenants happy. Consider outsourcing all the work by hiring a full-service property management company.
Steven Rich, MBA – Guest Blogger
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