#1 Reason Tenants Do Not Renew

Mike Nelson
Mike Nelson


The #1 reason tenants don’t renew?

Maintenance – it’s that simple.  Understand that the tenant is your customer, not your adversary.  Our average rent is over $1300, but let’s use $1300 for this example.  Our average tenant stay is about 4 years.  So the average “customer” represents $62,400 of business for the typical landlord.  That’s a lot of money.  And to have the tenant move out after only one or two years costs the landlord A LOT of lost income.

Common mistakes landlords make:

·Postponing service or ignoring the tenant’s requests.  This is a big reason why they don’t renew.  Get to “yes” quickly and get the repair done.  If it turns out that the vendor establishes the problem is due to the tenant’s abuse or neglect of the property then you can bill them back for the repair.

·Getting multiple bids for smaller jobs.  This is just a type of postponement and it is not likely to save the landlord money.  In a practical sense there is no such thing as a “free estimate”.  Any reasonable business owner needs to account for all their time, including their time bidding jobs.  So the “free estimate” includes the contractors time to provide the estimate.  For jobs under $500, if you have a vendor you have used before and trust, just send them to fix it.  It will require less time and the tenant will have a better experience.

·Patching when replacing is warranted.  This usually involves the HVAC, either the air conditioner or the furnace.  When the tenant has to call over and over again, because the landlord keeps getting the vendor to “patch” the unit, the tenant has a negative experience and they are more likely to move out at the end of the term.  When HVAC equipment is over 12 years old (rental units go thru HVAC systems faster than owner-occupants), and the issue involves a failing condensing unit, coil, or heat exchanger, consider replacing the bad component rather than just trying to repair it “for now”.

Generally speaking consumers today want to hear “yes” and “now”.  They are used to instant gratification.  To be a successful landlord, look for ways to achieve that more often.  If your tenant is overly picky, you can make that up with the rent increase at renewal time.  Today people are paying more for superior service all the time.

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