Landlords must work harder to retain tenants in today’s apartment market or risk losing them in droves, body corporate experts have warned.
With multiple research bodies stating rent rates and unit values have dropped, one body corporate organisation believes 2017 is the ‘year of the renter’, and as such tenant retention is vital for property managers now more than ever.
Archers the Strata Professionals director Andrew Staehr believes unit owners, investors and property professionals need to prioritise tenant retention as much as tenant attraction.
“The value of attracting, and keeping, renters who consistently pay their rent on time, cause minimal damage to the property, require little contact and commit to multiple lease cycles should not be underestimated,” Mr Staehr said.
To retain good tenants, Mr Staehr has the following five tips:
- Provide bylaws
Strata owners should have an induction process where the tenant is informed of the property’s bylaws and signs a document acknowledging their understanding of the bylaws.
“Legislation dictates this must be delivered no later than seven days from the signing of the release,” Mr Staehr said.
“This is integral to the tenant understanding the rules they will be required to live by, mitigating the likelihood of future issues.”
- Be pet friendly
By making a property pet friendly, landlords will make the property more appealing, and reach out to more prospective tenants.
A tenant who can openly keep their pet in their rental home is also more likely to be happier, increasing the likelihood of renewing their lease.
- Appoint a property manager
“Owners should appoint a proficient property manager with strong customer service skills and tenant management skills who can promptly notify and resolve any issues that arise,” Mr Staehr said.
“Similarly, unit owners should treat their property manager as their business manager and assist them in doing their job. All correspondence and requests from a property manager should be treated as a priority.”
To appoint a property manager, owners need to:
- Check credentials and testimonials from other owners;
- Ensure they will conduct at least two inspections a year; and
- Make sure the property manager’s tenant rental application form is comprehensive.
- Maintain the property
Renters are more likely to stay longer in a property they feel is safe and clean, so any maintenance request should be acted on promptly.
“Strata rental owners should also keep an eye on the overall appearance of their building and discuss any need for refurbishment or repairs of shared spaces with the body corporate committee or strata manager,” Mr Staehr said.
- Take feedback seriously
Whenever a tenant makes a reasonable request – such as wanting to add picture hookers, include another tenant in the lease or even a slight rent decrease – landlords should consider the matter seriously, and if denied, adequate reasoning for the decision should be given.
“Landlords can demonstrate their commitment to developing a relationship with their tenant by instilling an open door policy and soliciting feedback on the property, such as features that could add to its liveability,” Mr Staehr said.