RentalsTechnology

5 ways to improve resident relations

A crash course

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Takeaways:

  • Maintaining resident relations is a key factor to successful property management.
  • Once you establish the reasons why individuals might leave, you can take a proactive approach to improving your resident relations and avoiding a potential issue.
  • Keeping long-term residents cuts your costs and increases your profitability — you don’t have to spend time and put resources into marketing open units.

Maintaining resident relations is a key factor to successful property management; but, it can be hard keeping clients happy when you are managing multiple properties and juggling various responsibilities.

How do you keep track of one individual’s needs in a sea of many? How do you improve tenant relations so that your renewal rates can continue to climb?

Before your head starts spinning with countless questions, take a moment to read through our five-step crash course to improving resident relations.

1. Know why a resident might leave

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There are several reasons why residents decide to vacate a building. Perhaps the rent was too high?

Maybe they had a bad experience with new neighbors — or worse, the property manager? Or maybe they simply decided that it was time to live in an upgraded building.

No matter the reason, step one of improving relations requires you to get to know your residents. Learn what makes them tick and why they might leave an apartment or home.

Once you establish the reasons why individuals might leave, you can take a proactive approach to improving your resident relations and avoiding a potential issue.

Tip: Include a survey upon lease signing, and then conduct an annual survey of your residents to gauge their happiness with the property.

2. Make customer service the crème de la crème

As a property manager, it is your job always to be responsive, courteous, attentive and professional when handling any resident requests. The simplest and most reliable way to improve relations is to offer the best customer service.

To this end, you should always respond to an issue as efficiently and effectively as possible. It is easy for people to become too frustrated if their issues aren’t resolved in a timely fashion. Once a resident has become frustrated, it is much harder to build a positive experience back.

Tip: There are technology solutions you can use to streamline response time, as well as convenient online services that can give a huge boost to resident happiness, including features such as online rent payments and maintenance request portals.

3. Flaunt those amenities

Amenities, or lack thereof, are one of the top reasons that a resident moves on to a new building. Make sure that your residents are aware and taking advantage of all of the benefits of living at your specific property.

From the free Wi-Fi to the neighborhood’s new plans for a live music venue, make sure that your tenants are up to date on all of the benefits that come with calling your building home.

Sandratsky Dmitriy / Shutterstock.com

Sandratsky Dmitriy / Shutterstock.com

Tip: Extend this helpfulness outside the property proper — use a blog to share information about the immediate community, surrounding area and fun events nearby that your residents might enjoy. A community group on Facebook is also an excellent way to build awareness and communication.

4. Keep prices fair

Cost is another top deciding factor when people are considering moving to a property or renewing their leases. With this in mind, every resident wants to be treated fairly.

Make sure that your tenants are aware of the going rental rates in your neighborhood. Whenever possible, give your residents a rental price that is just below the market value.

The latter is a powerful rental retention tool that can also be used to improve relations. On the off chance that a resident’s renewal rate is higher than their original lease rate, make sure that you give them a respectful and valuable reason.

Honesty and integrity will serve you well when it comes to setting fair rental prices that are appropriate for the leasing space.

Tip: A popular tactic is to offer a renewal bonus, such as gift card, a free carpet cleaning or a unit upgrade of some sort.

5. Respect the privacy of your residents

On the off chance that you need to access a unit to conduct repairs, make sure that you respect their privacy. Find out what time is best to conduct the repair and give plenty of notice — it can go a long way toward making the resident feel comfortable having you in their space.

Remember it is their home, and they might have abnormal working or sleeping hours, as well as visiting family. Do your best to limit the amount of time that you have to spend in a rental unit while conducting seasonal maintenance or cosmetic repairs.

In this vein, make sure that you conduct annual cosmetic improvements on the building to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the property. Make sure that you offer a fresh coat of paint or a carpet cleaning for long-term residents.

Tip: The modern resident expects instant notifications on their mobile devices. Gone are the days of posting paper notices; set up text messages and email alerts to get relevant information in front of your renters faster.

Keeping long-term residents cuts your costs and increases your profitability — you don’t have to spend time and put resources into marketing open units. With these five steps in mind, you will be well on your way to improving your current and future resident relations and securing some long-term residents.

Aimee Miller is the vice president of marketing at AppFolio, providers of Web-based property management software.

Email Aimee Miller.