Tenants sometimes break their condo leasing contract and leave early because of the landlords’ neglect or attitude. You can have the best rental property but fail to keep good tenants because of bad management and lack of experience. Learn about the common reasons tenants quit their lease and the ways you can avoid them. This will help you succeed in your rental business.
Finding great tenants isn’t always straightforward, so when they do come along, landlords need to keep hold of them for as long as possible. Not only will this remove the headache of finding new inhabitants for your rental, but it could also mean you won’t be subjected to the dreaded void period, too.
However, some tenants simply up and leave. Many landlords would argue there’s little you can do to avoid that situation, but we’re not so sure. Knowing the most common reasons why tenants move out of rentals will enable you to be proactive in some areas and give you food for thought in others. It’s worth checking out.
Reasons Tenants Leave Your Rentals
They want to move somewhere cheaper.
Housing costs, especially rents, have been rising for the last five years. Some are just at the point where it makes sense to move somewhere cheaper where renters can get a lot more for their money. It could be that local rents have just gotten too high—or maybe your rents, in particular, are too high.
Market rents change over time. Be sure you stay tuned into local trends, even when you aren’t actively looking for tenants. If neighbouring properties are leasing for 30% less than yours, that could become an issue. Price your properties right. Invest in stable and upcoming locations with more room for growth.
They’re afraid of changes in the rental situation.
Sometimes tenants leave just because they are afraid. They may be afraid of how much they think you are going to raise the rent when it comes time to renew. They could be afraid you are going to evict them because they’ve fallen a few days behind on rent a couple of times. Or it could be that a tough new property manager you’ve brought in is causing panic in the renters.
Set clear expectations. Get feedback from loyal, long-term renters you trust when you bring in new management, connect with them about renewing leases early, and maintain property upkeep to show tenants you’re a caring landlord, not a slumlord.
They need more space.
Between a growing number of multigenerational households and Millennials’ growing families, many need more space today. A lot of people jumped on the minimalist lifestyle after 2008, but now, years later, they are tired of living so tight and cramped. A Realtor.com survey shows that this is driving far more Millennials and Boomers to choose single-family homes in the suburbs over homes in dense urban centres or condos.
They want to buy a home.
With rents more expensive than mortgage costs in many areas, interest rates low, and credit scores recovering, many are making the leap to buy homes while it is still so attractive. If you can’t stop it, make the best of it. Ensure a good exit service. Return deposits and ask for a review on the spot. Still, if you can, get them to buy their home from you. At MJS Construction Group, we have the best dual occupancy selection to make your house a dream come true.
They don’t like their neighbours.
No one likes scary or abusive neighbours—and they are out there. This is something to keep in mind when searching and screening rental properties. It is also important to keep lines of communication open and to listen to these complaints. If there are problem tenants in your neighbouring units, you probably won’t renew their leases. If they belong to another landlord, you may want to preempt issues by contacting the other landlord.
There are a number of reasons why neighbours can prove to be a problem for tenants, and there’s often very little landlords can do about it should their renters bring it to them as a concern.
Next-door neighbours are especially tricky to handle, but complaints from good tenants living in an HMO you own can be made aware of how their actions/behaviour may affect others in the property, so you should broach this with them. The last thing you want is a bad tenant driving good ones away, so try and nip problems in the bud wherever possible.
Change of neighbourhood
The neighbours might not be the problem, but the neighbourhood can sometimes no longer meet the needs of your tenants and cause them to want to move on. The reasons for this change of heart about an area are too numerous to mention, but is there anything you can do to persuade them to stay?
Well, a lot will depend upon what their specific reason is. If they wish to move to the other end of the country (or the world, for that matter) to be closer to family, then there’s little you can do. If, however, the reasons are more workable, then an incentive to stay could be all that’s required to initiate a change of heart.
One thing to bear in mind here, though, is not to be pushy about it. Please make an offer, be it a decrease in rent or an upgrade to the property, and leave it with them. Pummeling them into submission is not going to make for a happy tenancy, and unhappy tenants are not the aim.
Change in personal circumstances
This could be a catch-all for the reasons we’ve given so far, but it’s still a reason that is often cited by tenants when they want to move out of a rented property. It could be anything from separating with a partner through to..well…you name it!
What can you do as a landlord when confronted with this as a reason to end a tenancy? Same as it ever was. Open a dialogue, discuss the reason fully, and see if there’s a solution you can come up with. The likelihood is that there won’t be in this instance, but if the tenant is good enough, you should be willing to try.
As you can see, the reasons may vary dramatically, but there is a common thread running through them all: communication with your tenants is vital. Building a good relationship with those who rent your properties is key to your success as a landlord, and it can be rewarding in ways that go beyond financial advantages, too.
Change in finances
As with the above reasons, changes to a tenant’s financial situation can be similar and different at the same time. On the one hand, your property may become too expensive, while, on the other, a positive change in a tenant’s financial situation could initiate a desire for a larger living space.
The obvious solution to the ‘too expensive’ reason would be to negotiate on rent. Can you afford to take a little less to keep these trouble-free tenants in place? Don’t forget that void period can prove to be very expensive when considering this.
Again, those who hold a portfolio of properties have more options at their disposal. It could be the case that you have a property on your books that would suit the tenant better, be it more or less expensive, depending on their circumstances. Naturally, it’s better to keep good tenants under your umbrella, and you’ll also only have to fill one property rather than two. Win-win.
State of property
Oh, dear. If you hear this from your tenant, you’ve not been performing optimally as a landlord. The better news is that these issues can often be easily fixed, and a good tenant highlighting them by threatening to end their tenancy can prove to be a much-needed wake-up call that will help improve your overall buy-to-let business. Providing you listen to them, of course!
Offer to make good on any concerns they have and implement a regular maintenance programme to keep on top of small jobs before they become big problems. Again, having a reputable letting agent manage your property can help here, as their periodic inspection visits will turn up issues early and make you aware of them. MJS Construction Group has the best range of home builders Melbourne services to help you create your dream house.
Some tenants move because of a job change. This new job may come with a higher or lower-income, and they want to find a suitable rental.
Job relocation can force a tenant to move. This is a good thing if the relocated tenant is looking to rent from you, but a bad thing if it is one of your current tenants who must relocate quickly.
- Job Relocation: Unfortunately, there is little you can do if a tenant is moving due to job relocation. In this case, you must work to find a new tenant to fill the vacancy.
- Job Change- Higher Salary: If a tenant gets a raise, and is looking for a nicer rental, you can offer to make upgrades to their apartment in exchange for a slight increase in rent.
- Job Change-Lower Salary: For tenants who have changed jobs, causing their income to drop, you can offer to reduce the tenant’s rent, or you can offer to let them move into a cheaper apartment if you have another vacancy available.
Some tenants will move due to changes in their relationship status. A separation or marriage might have changed their financial status, or they may want to start fresh. Those undergoing a separation or divorce may be looking to downsize, while those getting married may be looking to move to a larger place.
- Avoid a Vacancy: Offer any available rentals you may have. Offer incentives such as a free parking space.
Many renters relocate when the market becomes a renter’s market, meaning there are more units available than there is a demand for units, so the tenant may be able to get a larger apartment or one with better amenities, for a lower price.
- Reduce Rent: You can try to avoid a vacancy by reducing the current tenant’s rent.
- Offer Upgrades: Instead of reducing rent, you can offer upgrades to the apartment such as granite countertops, new car.
Here Are Seven Tips On How To Keep Your Best Tenants Longer:
Address Maintenance Concerns Quickly
Keeping your tenant happy is crucial, especially if you’re going to ask the tenant to extend their lease. By being proactive with property maintenance and routinely performing property inspections, your tenant may be more likely to agree to your proposal.
Few things are more frustrating for a tenant than having unaddressed maintenance requests. You want to show them that you want to give them a nice place to live. This can be a big deciding factor when your tenant is considering a lease renewal. Incentives like carpet cleaning or deep cleaning by a professional cleaning service can be very attractive to long-term tenants and may make them feel appreciated, without breaking the bank.
Additionally, keeping up with maintenance and addressing issues quickly will help you spend less time on repairs when you do have to turn over the unit. Regularly inspecting the unit’s condition will help you stay on top of maintenance items that need to be addressed (that the tenant may not have noticed) and can help keep smaller maintenance tasks from turning into larger issues.
Be A Good Landlord
Never underestimate the importance of the human factor when it comes to tenants. Your renters may be more likely to want to stay if you’re a friendly and cooperative person. That goes for all of life, but even more so when you want people to pay you every month happily.
Be timely with your responses, and make it easy for the tenant to contact you. Maintain open communication to help reduce misunderstandings and create a better overall tenant-landlord relationship. Being courteous and respectful goes a long way to make a tenant feel comfortable in the unit.
For example, if you have to make repairs on the unit, consider having workers come while your tenants are at work so that you don’t disturb their peace. After all, the more a place feels like home, the longer a good tenant is likely to stay. A cooperative attitude also sets the expectation of how you want to be treated in return, which makes it more likely that your tenants will respect you and your property.
Know What Amenities Tenants Want
High-speed internet. Open floor plans. A beautiful outdoor space. It’s important to know what factors today’s tenants are looking for in a rental property, so you can try to meet market demand better.
For many tenants, especially younger generations like Gen-Z and Millennials, lifestyle quality is a major factor in whether they decide to stay or go. You may own the property, but the tenant should be able to consider it their home. There are ways you in which can help promote a more tailored atmosphere, and in doing so, it may encourage your tenants to stay longer.
Consider offering features that tenants care about most may help you attract better long-term tenants and serve as an incentive for them to renew their lease. For example, if your rental property is located near a university, then your average tenant may be looking for amenities like secure bike racks or quiet study rooms. Besides, there are other strategic upgrades like stainless steel appliances, hardwood flooring, and central air conditioning that can make a house feel like home. These upgrades can potentially be good investments if you want to attract new tenants or encourage current tenants to stay longer.
Be Proactive With Lease Renewal
It’s important to let your tenant know well in advance that you’re interested in renewing their lease with them. Planning for a new look for your house? Look no further! MJS Construction Group is here to help in your home builders.
- Consider reaching out to your tenant 90 days before the lease expires to ask if they would be interested in renewing.
- This early notice may help encourage them to start thinking about their plans early so they can give you more notice.
- If the tenant decides to move, then at least you can get a jump on advertising your rental before they’ve officially moved out. If you get someone lined up, then you might not lose a month of rent.
There are other ways to encourage your current tenant to stay longer. You may consider forgoing a rent increase (or keep it lower-than-usual) for the upcoming year if they renew. If they seem hesitant, ask them what it would take to get them to stay. This is another reason to have a good landlord-tenant relationship. The better you communicate with a tenant, the more likely they are to open up and tell you what incentives are most meaningful to them.
They may request some home maintenance upgrades or a break on rent. See if you can negotiate a deal that makes sense for both of you. You may find that fulfilling a tenant’s request may turn out to be less of an expense for you than turning over the unit and taking a risk on a new tenant.
Encourage A Longer Lease
Consider asking the tenant to sign a longer-term lease at a reduced rate. If they renew every six months, then extend the lease to a year. If they renew yearly, then consider extending the lease to two years at a reduced rate. While this method could mean you lose out on the profit from rent increases, it could be worth it to keep a reliable, rent-paying tenant. Make sure you calculate the differences in your rental revenue, so you know what option is financially best for you.
Treat Tenants Fairly
No tenant wants to feel targeted by their landlord, which is why all landlords must be familiar with and practice local and federal housing laws. So, no matter the race, religion, sexual orientation or physical ability of your tenant, you must be consistent in how you treat the people who rent from you. This also means being responsive, addressing r concerns, and avoiding charging too much for rent. Sure, you can charge whatever you want, but if you end up raising it too high on specific, protected groups of people, you could be setting yourself up for discrimination litigation.
Enforce Rules Without Going Overboard
Whether they relate to safety, pet security deposits, waterbeds, or clogged toilets, before the lease is signed, you need to put your property rules in writing. It pays to go a step further and indicate the consequences of failing to follow these rules. This helps your renter understand their responsibilities and your expectations.
If your long-term tenant starts to break the rules or policies that you have set in place, then talk to them before taking action. You may be getting complaints from neighbours, but you’ll want to hear from your renters to get their side of the story before jumping to conclusions.
Be sure to check local and federal housing regulations, but the fair application of landlord rules normally follows a few guidelines.
- Must promote the safety and welfare of tenants
- Must reasonably relate to the purpose for which it’s adopted
- Must be written enough for the tenant to understand
- Must apply to all tenants in a fair manner (important for multi-unit properties)
- Must not be created in order to avoid a landlord’s legal obligations
By fairly enforcing rules and having a clear policy of what happens when they are ignored, you can manage your renters’ expectations, help them feel safer, and more easily get rid of non-paying, rule-breaking tenants.
Each of the reasons above tends to stem off poor communication. If the correspondence between you as a landlord, the tenant and the real estate is frequent, quick and easy, it does make the process of renting and investing more enjoyable. To ensure you are maintaining good communication, always be prompt in replying and make sure your contact details are up to date. This way, you can ensure all jobs are kept up to date, the tenant is happy, and the property remains occupied.