How to Retain Good Tenants

Even experienced investors sometimes overlook this simple strategy for improving their bottom line — find quality tenants, then hang on to them!

Many don’t realise, tenants are not all equal. A good long-term tenant who pays on time, maintains the property, and isn’t unreasonably demanding, can make your property investment journey much easier.

Read our tips on the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of retaining good tenants!

You can also check out our previous post on finding good tenants to begin with.

A good tenant who's just moved into their Perth rental property
Retaining a good tenant will help improve your rental investment yield.

Why Does Retaining Good Tenants Matter?

The main reason to find and retain quality tenants is that tenant turnover is expensive!

Direct costs can include:

  • cleaning
  • rubbish removal
  • gardening
  • marketing
  • letting fees
  • lost rent while vacant
  • incidental damage to surfaces during each move.

Some experts calculate the cost of replacing good tenants is up to five times the cost of them staying!

Losing tenants in the current market may seem like a non-event, with people queuing up to take their place. But remember, new tenants are like chocolates – as Forrest Gump famously said, You never know what you’re gonna get”!

Risks With New Tenants

Even with meticulous agency selection processes, choosing tenants isn’t an exact science. It’s even harder for private landlords without the tools and experience of an agency.

Let’s face it – new tenants can bring unexpected problems.

Some are careless, leaving your property in disrepair.

Some are demanding, wanting every imperfection attended to immediately.

Some make access for repairs/inspections difficult.

Others pay late, or even worse, don’t pay!

So when you have tenants who pay on time, are reasonable to deal with, and are conscientious about maintenance, you want to hang on to them!

Why Do Good Tenants Leave?

Desirable tenants usually leave to:

  • have more space e.g a growing family
  • buy a home
  • relocate for work
  • save on current rent.

These circumstances are mostly beyond your control (unless you want to offer reduced rent).

Other reasons tenants give for leaving include:

  • excessive rent increases to renew
  • repairs and maintenance neglected
  • poor internet access/phone signal
  • safety concerns
  • property management conflicts
  • lack of ‘quiet enjoyment’
  • landlords refusing pets/flatmates/minor improvements
  • deteriorating amenities e.g.
    • run-down appearance
    • increased noise levels
    • limited access to facilities like pools
    • allocated parking is often unavailable.

These factors are often what owners can influence.

So What Can I Do to Retain Good Tenants?

Retaining tenants is a long-term process over the whole tenancy. It requires a mindset that sees tenants as customers. Collaboration with a customer-oriented property manager can help.

The first step is to check your attitude towards those who will occupy your investment property. Then engage a property manager who’s on the same page as you.

Next, adopt strategies to deal with the situations relevant to your property.

For example:

  • Keep rent increases moderate, provide calculations to justify what is being asked, give more notice than required, and be negotiable – demanding top market rates encourages tenants to leave.
  • Make it easy for tenants to communicate problems.
  • Carry out repairs promptlymeet Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) timeframes for safety issues / essential services, and complete non-essential repairs without unreasonable delays.
  • Provide reliable internet/phone signal – get expert help if necessary.
  • Make the property secure/consider extra security if tenants have concerns.
  • Inspect regularly, but be reasonable and don’t demean tenants – you are entitled to expect ‘reasonable cleanliness’, not perfection.
  • Never drop in – get proper notice/permission.
  • Don’t fall out with good tenants over minor matters – ‘landlords of choice’ accommodate reasonable requests where possible.
  • for strata property:
    • disclose by-laws upfront so expectations are realistic
    • be willing to take justified complaints from tenants to the strata council.

Where to From Here?

The experienced team at We Love Rentals understand the value of good tenants – we’re experts at finding them and fully committed to keeping tenant turnover low.

We understand what needs to be done to make tenancies work for everyone, and we take the time to talk through strategies with our owners!

So why not call us for a chat on (08) 6254 6300 or email us for friendly, professional advice?

I am the licensee of We Love Rentals and provide support to the team whenever needed. I began my real estate career over two decades years ago. While I loved seeing people achieve their dream of a new home for their family, I kept thinking that there had to be a better way of doing real estate – one with respect for the long term benefit of the client and one that focuses on customer satisfaction.