As a landlord, you should get out of the habit of treating each lease as a one-time event. While not every tenant wants to stay in your house or apartment long term, there are many who would stay for more than one lease agreement if the right situation presented itself. Renewing the lease typically comes down to how well you as a landlord take care of the house or take care of the tenant. This does not mean you have to be on call 24 hours a day for their every demand, but if you show a little urgency to what they want, they will be much more likely to want stick around.
This is important because a tenant that pays on time and takes care of your property is difficult to find. There are many average tenants, but only a few great ones who you feel comfortable with. If you can renew the lease of these great tenants, you can one, avoid having to go through the screening process in finding a new tenant and two, feel comfortable that things will go smoothly for the next 12 months. While this sounds simple enough, there are two basic things that most landlords fail to do.
The first is communicating. If you have the mindset that you want your tenant to be out of sight and out of mind, you may not know everything that is going on with your house. Talk to your tenants and ask them to tell you of anything, minor or major, that needs attention. Most tenants fear that if they tell their landlord of something they will get charged for it or have it deducted from their security. Your tenants should not live in fear of financial restitution and you should want to know of any minor issues before they mushroom into much bigger, and more expensive, ones.
The quicker you can move to repair or replace any items that need attention, the more your tenant will want to stay. In most cases, these items are pretty easier to fix and it is just a matter of doing them. If there are bigger items, such as a refrigerator or dishwasher, you should know they are nearing the end of their useful life and should be replaced anyway. The longer you wait, the more likely this will turn a good tenant into one that wants to get out as soon as they can.
The second thing that most landlords fail to do is to ask their tenant if they want to stay past the lease. There are many cases where a tenant would want to stay, but wasn’t asked and didn’t know how to proceed with their landlord. You should always start your next tenant search from the existing one. If the relationship was a good one, go from there. Try to keep the lines of communication open so your tenant can ask you anything about the house. This will save you time and potentially money down the road.
Most tenants are looking for is a little extra attention when there are minor issues or concerns with the house. If you place your tenants as the priority, you will dramatically reduce the turnover rate in your rentals. If you do this, you will free up time and have a much better renting experience all around.