A multifamily property manager’s job isn’t done once the units are occupied. No, the hard part is retaining tenants and keeping those units occupied, since turnovers are an ROI killer. With increased rental demand and the resulting competition in the marketplace, it’s more important than ever to update and innovate the apartment community in order to convince tenants to renew their lease.
While it’s unreasonable to assume that a 100% retention rate can be reached, the goal should be to make it a difficult decision for tenants to stay or leave. But can this be accomplished? Below are nine tenant retention ideas that can be used to win tenants over.
9 Retention Ideas that Win Tenants Over
Tenant retention is a critical indicator that can be used to gauge how successful the community is at creating an enjoyable atmosphere. Although there are some factors that are completely out of a property manager’s control, such as the quality of the neighborhood, there are means by which they can either push people away or entice them to stay. As App Folio writes:
No matter what the reason, it’s not possible to keep every tenant forever. But there are many people who want to sign a long-term lease, and who will do so if they are treated right, are happy, and have what they need in their rental property. How do you give them what they need so they in turn can give your property management company high lease renewal rates?
Here are the nine best tenant retention ideas to win over prospective tenants and retain current tenants.
Respond Quickly to Issues
One of the easiest ways to lose tenants is to ignore their issues or put them on the back burner. There’s no doubt that the management team is busy and there are dozens of tasks at hand each and every day; regardless, it’s crucial that whoever is in charge moves with alacrity when receiving complaints, requests, or tenant notifications. Whether it be maintenance issues or complaints about other tenants, a property manager’s job is to let tenants know that they’ve been heard and that something is being done.
People are far more understanding when those in charge respond quickly with a text, call, or email, and let them know that they’ve been heard and that something is being done about their issue.
Establish Relationships with Tenants
Many property managers make the mistake of treating tenants like one-time customers as opposed to members of a community. If the goal is to make people treat their multifamily community like their home, then the property manager is the first person to welcome them into the neighborhood. They set the standard and, even if their time is limited, simple gestures can go a long way. Ways to go the extra mile as a property manager include:
- Making a concentrated effort to remember tenants’
- Ensuring tenants are being greeted with a smile and a question of how they’re doing.
- Having community managers pop by on occasion to see if there are any issues with a tenant’s
- Sending occasional emails and text messages, or making phone calls to check-in.
In addition, it’s crucial that tenants are informed of issues and updated that something is being done about it. By keeping them in the loop, they’re reminded that their safety and comfort matter.
Offer Referral Rewards
Incentivize tenants to help fill vacant units. This can be done by providing them with gifts, cash, or rent reductions for successfully referring someone who ends up signing a lease. This provides dual benefits in that it demonstrates to tenants that they’re appreciated and valued, while also giving them a friend in the area, making them more likely to remain as a tenant at the community.
Deal With the Package Problem
In the age of Amazon, most multifamily communities have encountered a major package problem in either the mailroom or the lobby. A large multifamily property can expect to receive dozens upon dozens of packages a day. This creates several issues:
- Packages filling up the room in unsightly stacks.
- Managers wasting precious time on accepting, storing, delivering packages.
- Packages being stolen or misplaced by other tenants.
This is an issue that impacts both management and tenants. A stolen package can plant seeds of doubt in a tenant’s mind, making them think that their community isn’t safe. And the package theft problem isn’t expected to go away any time soon. In fact, most experts estimate that online shopping is going to continue to grow exponentially. Forbes writes about this problem, saying:
A whole plethora of startups and new business lines have formed to solve the burgeoning problem of the onslaught of package delivery. From a property owner vantage point, dealing with these packages is an issue of time, space and ultimately money. Whether you’ve got 100 multifamily units or own a four-plex, tenants will soon see secure package delivery as a necessity, not an optional amenity.
One such startup that has sought to address this issue is Parcel Pending. Our smart lockers make it easy for packages to be delivered, stored, and then retrieved at the tenant’s convenience. Such smart lockers provide a host of benefits, including:
- Reduced operational costs – Our lockers save staff time spent accepting, sorting, and distributing packages.
- Increased resident satisfaction – Our lockers make it simple for tenants to retrieve their packages and give them the peace of mind that their precious items are safe. To make things even better, our refrigerated parcel locker ensures groceries or other perishable items will stay fresh for long periods of time. A survey by Cortland Partners discovered that smart lockers increased tenant renewals by 40%.
Have Plenty of Parking
Few things can frustrate tenants quicker than a lack of parking. Ideally, residents should have at least one dedicated parking spot per unit, with two being preferable. If there are large renovations in the works, be sure to dedicate space to a parking structure. Otherwise, seek alternative ways to provide tenants with more parking, such as partnering with nearby lots, or making use of business’ parking lots that are closed on the weekends.
Make The Community Pet-Friendly
Recently, having a pet has become increasingly commonplace, particularly with millennials. According to Multifamily Insiders:
Last year, RentPath revealed research claiming that 66% of millennial renters are pet owners. In an effort to cater to this growing renter base, many communities have adopted pet-friendly pet policies. Most of these policies allow renters to have up to two pets and they require additional pet rent and a pet deposit. While much of the pet market is pet-tolerant, not as many communities encompass the true definition of pet-friendly. If your community embraces this pet demographic, there are many ways you can signal to pet owners that your community is a good fit for them.
It’s not only important that the complex is pet-friendly, but that it caters apartment amenities to pets and their owners. Examples of this include:
- Installing dog parks or dog runs.
- Partnering with pet grooming and dog walking services to provide tenants with additional pet-friendly amenities and conveniences.
- Adding outdoor doggy showers or washing stations.
- Keeping dog treats at the front desk.
Similar to smart package lockers, there are dozens of new technologies that can make tenants’ lives more convenient. This is important since convenience is regularly one of the key factors residents will mention when discussing whether or not they want to stay at their current property. What’s great about many of these tenant retention ideas is that they not only make tenants’ lives easier, they often make a property manager’s job easier as well. According to Homebase:
Smart apartment solutions offer a higher quality of living, which could help improve resident retention. More residents already prefer smart lobby amenities, and the cost-saving benefits of smart home tech are attractive to price-sensitive renters. Moreover, integrating smart apartment technology frees up property managers to concentrate on building a community to retain residents. Since many day-to-day tasks can be automated through the smart apartment platform, managers can spend time making the apartment complex feel like home.
Tech worth adding includes:
- Fobs for the main doorway
- Secure video doorbells, such as Ring
- Peloton bikes in the gym
- Smart lighting systems
- Smart HVAC systems
Let Tenants Pay Rent Online
Few things are as annoying as archaic payment systems that require a physical check. It’s a pain for tenants and it’s a pain for property managers. Ditch that inconvenience by using an online payment system. These systems make it easy for residents to pay, and even easier for property managers to verify that payments have been made.
Young people especially want to live in a place that does its part in creating a sustainable environmental impact. As Rent Café writes, “the eco-friendly renter wants to live in a community that has a positive impact on the environment, a construction built with reclaimed materials, which reduces energy consumption and waste.” So, consider adding the following:
- Bike storage and facilities
- Energy-efficient appliances
- Charging stations for electric vehicles
- Smart AC/Heat control technology
From implementing smart package lockers to creating a pet-friendly environment there are many steps that can be taken, both big and small, to foster a multifamily community environment that feels like home. Spending the time to meet tenants and understand what they want will pay dividends in the future.
Need more multifamily marketing ideas? Check out our multifamily marketing tips here.
App Folio. 6 Ways to Keep Renters Happy and Improve Resident Retention. https://www.appfolio.com/blog/2015/12/the-6-best-ways-to-improve-resident-retention-in-the-new-year/
Forbes. The Startups Helping Apartment Owners Tackle the Package Problem. https://www.forbes.com/sites/aaronnorris/2018/08/06/the-startups-helping-apartment-owners-tackle-the-package-problem/#4d67f6614839
Global news Wire. Parcel Pending Expands Partnership With Courtland Partners. https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2018/07/17/1538472/0/en/Parcel-Pending-Expands-Partnership-with-Cortland-Partners-after-Initial-Installs-Demonstrate-High-Resident-Satisfaction-Renewal-Intent.html
Multifamily Insiders. Pet-Friendly Apartment Marketing Ideas. https://www.multifamilyinsiders.com/multifamily-blogs/pet-friendly-apartment-marketing-ideas-1
Homebase. Smart Retrofitting for Apartments and Multifamily Buildings. https://homebase.ai/smart-apartments/smart-retrofit-apartments/