The best way to retain tenants is to be proactive in the initial applicant vetting. Many of today’s tenants consider themselves “forever renters” in that they never intend to move on to homeownership as they like the freedom and flexibility of renting. As a result, a tenant’s decision to leave is often about the affordability of their space. Being judicious in rental increases and ensuring that tenants have steady employment that is anywhere from 2.5 to three times the monthly rent payment is the simplest resident retention idea a landlord can implement.
Of course, that doesn’t mean letting the property go to seed. Tenants today still expect to see some return on investment as their rent goes up every year. That’s why the smartest tenant retention strategies don’t just make them happy; they boost the value of the property over the years so landlords can increase their ROI and keep occupancy high.
Three Resident Retention Ideas That Boost Property Value
Often, retention is not about adding new amenities to please existing tenants. It’s about updating the old ones. A simple scan of consumer reviews from popular sites like Google and Yelp shows a common complaint in multifamily renting, and that’s existing amenities that have fallen into disrepair or become outdated. Keeping these features up to date sends a message that the landlord cares about the property and ensures future revenue growth.
#1: Invest in fitness
Fitness trends change over time. The tenants doing Pilates ten years ago are probably doing yoga now. Elliptical trainers outpaced Stairmasters. Even the simple treadmill has seen some major upgrades over its lifetime, with today’s models capable of tracking the target heart rate of the user and even pairing with their fitness app.
Just about every piece of gym equipment will see some transition over its life. Landlords can upgrade this equipment to provide a better fitness experience for their tenants and keep up with changing trends. That also goes for the room itself. A fresh coat of paint, some new exercise mats, and windows add a level of sophistication that makes the overall atmosphere most conducive to good health.
#2: Make the pool a social area
Pools will always be a major draw in Southern California, but it can be hard to make them stand out. To offer amenities that drive tenant retention, landlords need to look at them through their tenant’s eyes. A busy pool with a lot of happy users is going to look a lot more appealing than one that’s just got the bare necessities.
The best resident retention ideas are about building a community, not a complex.
Adding tables and seating areas can help elevate the pool area into one that’s about community. In-pool grottos and seating areas take that a step further, turning the pool area into a tropical retreat that feels like a resort experience. Grills and wet-bars are excellent additions to build a nightlife vibe.
#3: Offer community areas that grow with renters
Landlords need to think about how their tenants’ lives are going to change over time. That single renter who enjoys happy hours in the clubhouse may have a family a few years down the road and be more interested in playgrounds and kid-friendly options. Or they may just get a dog and need access to a dog park or walk. In either case, it’s important to remember that that single tenant probably won’t stay single forever. Offering a good balance of family-friendly amenities and adult features ensures that the landlord can cater to them as they grow and change.
That should also include parking. A one-car-per-unit rule may seem practical at first, but then as that family grows, they’ll have to look elsewhere for vehicle space. Limited parking could be the deal-breaker that makes good tenants leave as it’s a basic need for most renters.
Cultivate California’s Forever Renters by Building a Community
Forever renters are the next big market for California landlords. With housing prices as high as they are, many individuals will wait decades to purchase property—if they ever do. Landlords need to cultivate relationships with the types of renters who don’t see homeownership in their future. That starts by establishing a strong sense of community. Amenities that encourage people to get together help communicate that. Landlords can further these efforts with events like happy hours, pool parties, courtyard movie nights, and other fun, all-inclusive activities that help build relationships.
The best resident retention ideas are about building a community, not a complex. When tenants feel valued, they won’t hesitate to sign those renewal papers. Keeping amenities current and in good repair goes a long way towards communicating a message that the landlord cares.