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By Emma Smith

Replacing tenants is a costly process, not to mention a waste of both your time and energy.

Implementing ways to prevent turnover and vacancy in your property is vital for success, and it all starts with keeping your existing tenants happy. As content dwellers are more likely to take care of your rental property, this will make your life as a property manager a lot easier.

Understanding what your tenants need is the first step to success for both parties, so with that in mind, here are five easy, yet effective ways to keep tenants happy.

One: Be proactive with problems

Data from a Real Estate View report shows that 44 per cent of tenants find unresponsive property managers one of the most frustrating factors about renting.

Whether through call or email, tenants want to feel that someone is on the other end of the line to help resolve issues quickly and effectively. If left ignored, renters will lower their expectations of you and your relationship will suffer as a result.

However, it’s easy to become a more responsive property manager. You don’t have to supply an immediate solution upon first contact – simply return a quick email, call or text to say that you’ve received the query and you’ll get back to them soon. It’s best to do this within 12-24 hours.

This level of responsive communication is integral for building loyalty and improving your mutually beneficial relationship.

Two: Stay on top of maintenance

Would you want to live with a clogged sink or faulty lock? Neither do your tenants. In addition to being responsive when dealing with your renters’ queries, it’s important to be aware that sometimes they may be reaching out to you regarding issues with the property.

Statistics from a CHOICE and National Association of Tenants’ Organisations and National Shelter study revealed that 20 per cent of renters said they had experienced flooding, leaking and issues with mould. Furthermore, eight per cent of tenants lived in a property requiring urgent repairs. However, one in seven renters feel that they can’t ask for a repair due to the fear of being blacklisted.

While these may not always be your fault as a property manager, it’s vital that you’re quick to fix any issues and are approachable in your manner. Keeping up with maintenance extends to as far as scheduling regular lawn trimmings and gutter cleanings.

Adopting this mindset will reduce the risk of tenants moving out, or worse, threatening to take you to a tenancy tribunal hearing.

Arranging suitable solutions to property problems not only shows you care, it also prevents smaller issues from becoming major causes for concern which can cost more down the line.

Three: Stay up to date with regulations

As well as ensuring repairs are resolved and the property is well looked after, it’s important that as a property manager, you’re aware of government regulations. For example, from 1 July 2019, all rental properties in New Zealand must meet new minimum requirements. Insulation is the biggest factor within these changes, with the government acknowledging the need to provide tenants with safe, dry and warm accommodation.

Failure to do so is an unlawful act, and property owners can face fines of up to $4,000 if requirements are not met.

Making a conscious effort to ensure requirements are met shows you’re serious about your tenant’s happiness – and you’ll also avoid large fines.

One in seven renters feel that they can’t ask for a repair due to the fear of being blacklisted.

Four: Be welcoming and cooperative

A positive demeanor and strong presence lets your tenants know you’re not just a faceless entity. If you’re welcoming and friendly, your renters will feel more comfortable and confident approaching you with issues, and over time, your good attitude will help you establish a good reputation and improve relationships.

Five: Offer the chance for rental renewal

Are you happy with – and trust – your current renters? If so, you’ll want to consider giving them the chance to renew their lease before it runs out. After all, the benefits of doing so speak for themselves!

However, 62 per cent of current renters feel they’re not in a suitable position to ask for longer term rental security, states the CHOICE report. This links back to the importance of being a property manager that tenants feel comfortable approaching.

Show them you’re just as keen for them to stay by reaching out 90 days before the lease is up and ask them if they want to renew. This time frame gives them enough time to think about it, and if they say no, you’re not left on the back foot when trying to fill the space, and won’t lose money in the process.

Retaining renters is a surefire way to ensure everyone is and happy. If you have any more questions, reach out to your Ray White property manager.

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