When you find good tenants, you want them to stick around for more than one lease period. This way, you don't have to spend as much time and money searching for new tenants, and you can also sidestep the risk that the new tenants you'd find don't turn out to be the best. The following tips will help you persuade good tenants to stay in your apartment community past the end of their initial leases.
Offer discounted rates for tenants who choose to stay.
If you're like most community managers, you probably slowly raise your rates, a little bit each year. You can persuade current tenants to stay by offering them a discounted rate compared to the rate you're currently offering new tenants. Perhaps you could offer for them to stay at the same rate they paid throughout the duration of the initial lease, or maybe you could split the difference between last year's normal rate and this year's normal rate. Remember, you're saving money in the long run by getting these tenants to stay -- this makes it more affordable to give them a discount.
Give tenants who stay special privileges.
What this is, exactly, will depend on your community arrangement and amenities. Do you have garage spaces on your property? If so, perhaps you could allow tenants who renew to keep the most accessible spaces. Maybe you can offer assigned parking spaces to tenants who stay, or perhaps you can even throw in a service that you usually charge for, such as daily garbage pickup or WiFi service, for free to second-year tenants.
Let tenants know how much you appreciate their business
When the time comes for a good tenant to renew his or her lease, make sure you let that person know how much you appreciate their business. A little thankfulness will boost their confidence in you as a community manager, making them more appreciative of your community and services and, ultimately, more willing to stay. If you run into your tenants in person, express this thankfulness verbally. Otherwise, just send them a thank you card in the mail, or drop them a "thank you" email. Be clear that you view them as a great tenant and that you'd be flattered if they stayed.
When you contact your tenants to thank them, you can also ask if there is anything they would change about the community or their apartment. Listening to these concerns, even if you cannot address all of them, establishes you as a responsible manager that tenants will want to rent from again. If you find out that something simple, such the location of garbage containers or lack of a dishwasher, is making a tenant consider moving, you have a chance to decide whether you can make these changes and keep the tenant, or if you would rather not make them and find a new tenant.
For more ideas on retaining renters, you may want to work with an experienced residential property management company in your area.