Of all the expenses associated with managing a rental, vacancies and turnover are high on the list. Vacancies between renters represent a considerable loss in potential income. Not to mention the costs and fees associated with getting the unit ready for a new tenant. The best way to minimize these expenses isn’t with a shiny advertising campaign to fill vacancies fast. Instead, the key is retaining your residents as long as possible, so you deal with fewer vacancies overall. But while resident retention might seem easy compared to finding new tenants, it’s a lot harder than it sounds.

Two Common Causes of Turnover

Turnover is a complex issue. Sometimes, tenants move on for their own reasons, like changing finances, jobs, or personal lives. Other times, tenants leave because they’re dissatisfied with their rental in a way that you as the landlord can address. 

Poor Communication

At the end of the day, whether you’re a mom-and-pop landlord with a single rental property or a large property management company with dozens of apartments, good communication–and the right amount of it–is critical. Many tenants prefer their landlords to have a relatively laissez-faire attitude when keeping in contact, leaving renters to their own devices until something comes up. But there’s a line between not getting on your tenants’ backs and blowing off their concerns. 

Whatever your management style, the key is to be respectful when resolving issues you or your tenants may have. Tenants don’t want to feel smothered, monitored, or distrusted any more than they want to be ignored. After enough negative interactions with even the most well-meaning landlord, tenants may decide to take their business elsewhere. 

Slow Maintenance

Few things are more frustrating than waiting days (or even weeks) for a landlord to fix your maintenance issues. When a tenant has to hound their landlord just to have a sink unstopped or a broken appliance fixed, it’s unsurprising that resentment can fester. Making your tenant deal with a problem that impacts their quality of life gives the impression that you don’t respect their needs. Not to mention that they’re paying for the amenities you promised and should be getting their money’s worth. Keeping a tight turnaround for essential maintenance or repairs is a great way to show your tenants you care.

The Importance of Good Customer Service

As a landlord, you have to be a jack of all trades. You might end up taking on maintenance and repairs, marketing your listings, balancing complicated finances, and more. With so much on your plate, it can be easy for top-notch customer service to fall by the wayside. Ultimately, how you interact with your tenants’ will form a large part of whether they want to renew. 

Research shows that 68 percent of customers stop patronizing a business due to an attitude of indifference towards them. On top of that, a dissatisfied customer will usually tell a minimum of ten others about their unpleasant experience. Even in the internet age, word of mouth (or poor reviews) remains a powerful force. Though Portland’s rental properties remain in high demand, poor customer service tends to lead to unreliable tenants (not to mention higher vacancies). To make the most of your rental business, it’s essential to focus on resident retention.

The Key to Real Resident Retention

There’s no one simple trick to keeping your existing residents content, any more than there’s a straightforward reason tenants decide to move out. That being said, landlords have many options to reduce turnover by making their existing residents feel great about their experience. 

In customer service, a “moment of truth” is when a tenant decides whether they’re going to move out. When your renters bring their concerns to the table, the way you respond will determine whether they feel satisfied enough to continue renting from you. It can be impossible to identify these moments of truth from your perspective, so it’s important to treat each complaint or problem as a potential turning point. In short, always make sure that you’re delivering the absolute best customer service, no matter the circumstances. It can make all the difference for resident retention.

A Property Manager Can Help With Turnover

Of course, top-tier customer service is easier said than done. And even with happy tenants and a lightning-fast maintenance schedule, turnover is inevitable in the rental business. Finding quality tenants is one of the most challenging parts of managing a rental. While you’re looking for a great tenant, you’re missing income on lost rent and the costs and fees of sprucing up the place. And, of course, there’s the cost of professional marketing to get those star tenants in the first place. All in all, vacancies are a headache for even the most conscientious landlord. That’s why many Portland landlords decide to hire a property manager. 

Rent Portland Homes by Darla Andrew specializes in high-quality service in the Portland rental market. We pride ourselves on our professionalism and warmth when communicating with tenants. We know how important it is to make tenants feel heard and have their concerns addressed quickly. That’s why we stand by our 48-hour maintenance promise to all our tenants, so no one has to suffer through the aggravation and indignity of a malfunctioning amenity for days on end. 

When it comes to filling those unavoidable vacancies, our maintenance does wonders to get your rental in top shape as quickly as possible while our professional marketing helps net you the best tenants. Whether it’s filling vacancies, handling tenant communication, collecting rent, or more, Rent Portland Homes by Darla Andrew is here to make your life easier. To hear more, call or text us today at (503) 515-3170 or fill out the contact form on our website.