Tenants are the lifeblood of your rental business. Consistent tenants who pay rent on time and live in your property for years will help you build a solid foundation for your property business. But there’s no question that constant tenant turnover hurts. It undercuts your profits, demands more of your time, and might even suggest some troubling things about your rental unit as a whole. If you’re navigating the challenges of tenant turnover, here are a few things to keep in mind—and a few solutions to put into effect.

How Tenant Turnover Hurts Your Business

There are many ways that tenant turnover impacts your business. Here are four of the most important ones:

  1. Lost Income. Tenants moving out with no one lined up to replace them is never good for your bottom line. With no tenants in your unit, you’re losing hundreds or thousands of dollars of rental income with nothing replacing it. 
  2. Costly marketing. When you need to find new tenants fast, a smart and assertive marketing campaign is the only way to go. But advertising your rental on a wide variety of platforms isn’t cheap, and it can take a lot of time and effort in addition to money. 
  3. Finding quality tenants. As you start the advertising and screening process for your rental unit, you want to ensure you find quality tenants for your next lease. But there’s no guarantee that your new tenants will be reliable or treat your property respectfully. If you have solid tenants in your rental who then move, you can often find your days go from “business as usual” to a hurricane of problems and conflicts.
  4. Repairs and maintenance. Some maintenance and repairs are essential when a tenant moves out. You need to repair and repaint the walls, deep clean the unit, and ensure all appliances are in working order. The unit needs to be as spotless as possible for the next tenants, especially when attracting quality renters who want a nice place to live. All that work takes time and money you don’t have to spend when retaining your tenants.

Why Are Your Tenants Moving? 

When it comes to navigating the challenges of tenant turnover, the first step is determining why your tenants are moving in the first place. 

If you have a cordial relationship with your tenants, you might even be able to ask them 

  1. Tenants can’t afford the rent. If you increase your rent to keep up with market value, some tenants may be slowly priced out of their current neighborhood. Sudden and steep rental increases—which have been far more of an option since high inflation boosted Oregon’s rental increase cap to over 14 percent—can often drive tenants to seek other housing.
  2. Looking for a nicer apartment. As people progress through life, they might have more disposable income, decide to grow their family, or start yearning for something new in their living space. In those cases, tenants may choose to seek out a unit with more desirable amenities or one in a more desirable neighborhood.
  3. Maintenance issues. One of the best things about renting is that you don’t have to take care of maintenance and repairs yourself. However, that means it’s your job as the landlord to deal with any issues quickly. If tenants feel their problems are ignored, they won’t want to stick around.
  4. Looking for a larger or smaller apartment. Sometimes people want to downsize; other times, they might want a larger unit. No matter the reason, often having the right amount of space is essential for tenants.

Tenant Retention is Key

Though the average timeframe that a tenant stays in one place is between three and four years, 80% of tenants choose to move to a different rental within a seven-mile radius. In addition, they often move to a rental that actually costs more than their current unit. This makes a couple of things clear: tenants don’t always move because they’re leaving the area, and they often are willing to pay more in rent for things they think are worth it. 

The reasons your tenants move are often complicated and sometimes might have nothing to do with you or your property. But in some cases, your actions can have a direct impact on keeping tenants in your property. Here are a few ways to address the issues mentioned above.

Reduce Rent

If tenants are moving out because they can’t afford the rent, you may actually save yourself money by working with them to negotiate a lower rate. Often you’ll find you spend at least as much money on marketing and maintenance as you would lose on reducing rent for your current tenants. If you have the wiggle room to strike a deal, keeping your tenants can save you in the long run.

Offer an Alternate Unit

If you maintain multiple properties in the Portland area, you can often offer your tenants a deal on another property. When renters want a unit with more amenities or a different size, you can ask if they’d be interested in moving to another property you manage. This way, you keep tenants you know are reliable and also maintain a stream of income.

Attend to Maintenance Swiftly 

Tenants know that if they aren’t getting their maintenance and repair requests handled swiftly, they can move to a property where they will. Keep yourself to a strict timeline when it comes to your tenants’ needs, and make sure you don’t keep them waiting. The longer they have to live with an unpleasant part of your property, the more they’ll start thinking about how things might be better elsewhere.

Offer Upgrades 

For tenants who want to upgrade their living experience, you can sometimes entice them to stay by offering to upgrade their unit. New carpets, new appliances, or new cabinets can be expensive, but you can often negotiate a higher rental rate in exchange for the work you’ll put in on the unit. If your tenants are otherwise happy with the location and amenities, they’ll often be happy to stay.

The Best Way to Handle Tenant Turnover? Avoid It Entirely

There’s no question that tenants will come and go. However, if your tenants are cycling through at a rate that hurts your business, it’s time to make a change. Rent Portland Homes by Darla Andrew knows how important the human element is to a rental business. That’s why we pride ourselves on giving our tenants and owners the absolute best experience when working with us. Our 48-hour maintenance guarantee means renters will never be driven out of their units by unresolved issues. Owners love our transparency and open line of communication about all the details of the property management process. And when it comes to finding the best tenants, we have an all-star team to advertise, screen, and place quality renters who will stay in your unit for years to come. If you need a hand with reducing your tenant turnover, we’re happy to assist.