How to Improve Tenant Retention With Effective Communication

August 18, 2023

How to improve tenant retention

By Marketing Team

One of the most basic principles of multifamily property management is to keep tenants happy so they stick around long term. After all, tenant turnover is often one of the largest expenses for owner-operators.

So how do we keep renters satisfied and increase tenant retention? It all starts with responsive, straightforward and honest communication.

High Quality Communication

Tenants understand problems arise and are normally reasonable i.e. willing to recognize circumstances as long as they feel heard, and that someone is diligently working to solve their problem.

Summerfield Best Practice

It is important to convey courtesy, competency, caring, and compassion through our communication efforts.

There is no reason that a tenant should ever be confused about how to submit a maintenance request, notify you of a late payment or just reach out to you for a general question. A tenant should never have to wait days to hear back from you or a property manager for a clogged shower drain or routine appliance repair for example.

A tenant should have multiple ways to contact a property manager – text, phone, email or through an online tenant portal. Community managers/directors should also be trained to respond to tenant requests or questions promptly and follow up every time to make sure they are satisfied.

Sample Scenario

Tenant has an appliance that is not working.

  1. Caring. On-site staff contacts resident by phone within 24 hours of work request to let them know we are on it.
  2. Courtesy. We determine the needed part is on backorder. We email the tenant informing them of such, are researching different supplier options and discussing alternate solutions with our Portfolio Manager. Provide text updates every 48 hours.
  3. Competency.  Identify alternate solutions. What are our loaner options? Can we source parts from vacant units or appliance storage? We determine the best decision and communicate our chosen solution BEFORE the tenant feels the need to follow up.
  4. Compassion. If they have to put up with a delay we like to give an inexpensive gift along with a written note from the office apologizing for the inconvenience. For example, a $20 gift card from Starbucks goes a long way and reinforces they are valued.

We focus on several areas of customer service with on-site staff, but communication is always at the forefront. It has always been a foundational piece for success in our business.

How does this benefit ownership?

We conduct surveys which tell us one of the major reasons tenants do not renew leases and move is due to less than stellar communication. Move outs are expensive when you consider vacancy loss, turnover costs, etc. A solid renewal rate with decent rent bumps is key to making more money and solid returns.

Contact us today or book a call at a convenient time to learn more about our program.