Tips for Reducing Tenant Dissatisfaction and Move Outs

Surprisingly, the industry standard for resident turnover is more than 50%, which is a lot. The main cause for this quick move out rate is a conflict between tenant and property management or property owner. These conflicts mainly arise because of the gap between expectations of the tenant and the services available, and state of the property.

A mismatch of expectations could be for anything, ranging from the level of cleanliness or the repairs necessary for the unit. For this reason, the ideal solution would be keeping everybody on the same page. Here are a few tips that could help reduce conflicts and quick tenant move outs.

Use Checklists

Checklists are indispensable for a property manager, especially during the move in move out process. Various ready-made checklists forms are available for mobile devices, or property management can design customized ones that suit specific needs.

The supervisor or property manager must walk the tenant through the unit to make sure all expectations are met. Discuss issues that will be billed to the resident in the final statement. It is best to have a frank dialogue with the tenant about the way certain issues will be resolved, and do not keep any secrets during move in and move outs. This is not the time for double talk or ambiguity.  

Discuss the Move out Process First

It is a remarkable practice for property management to discuss the move out process, during the time the tenant is moving in. Staff should reveal the prorate policy to the tenant, and the amount he is expected to pay for carpet cleaning, painting, and so on. The tenant should also be informed that these are the existing rates and they are likely to change, depending on the tenant's length of stay on the property. This bit of information is often overlooked, and is the cause of many abrupt conflicts.

Transparency is Vital for Building a Fantastic Reputation

Most tenants want to write a bad online review about the property when they are moving out, as this is the time that they are most likely to be upset. This is mainly because they have experienced situations and costs that they did not expect. Therefore, being transparent about everything that matters is pivotal if you are planning to build a sterling reputation.

Secondly, it is best to ask for the feedback from the resident whenever a task is completed such as move-ins, maintenance tasks, rent payments, and most importantly during move-outs, which will give property management an opportunity to smooth out any ruffled feathers. Encouraging feedback from tenants throughout their stay is essential. This is not only to build a respectable reputation, but also more importantly to know what the tenant feels about different issues and possibly correcting so this scenario does not repeat itself.  

Document Everything with Photos or Video

Conflicts mainly arise when there is no evidence to support claims about damages made by property management. Photos or video provide irrefutable proof, and there can be no arguments once the damage or expected repair is reported and shown this way. Now there are apps available that enable you to take photos and generate a report rather easily.

Items needed for Awesome Property Management

The quality of work of a carpenter is largely dependent on the availability of proper tools, and the same principal is true about any other job. Property management also needs the right tools to do their job terrifically and successfully. This obvious fact is often ignored in certain areas of property management, which usually results in tenant dissatisfaction, and an increase in vacancy rates.

As a property manager, you are confident about your team being hard working and results oriented, but if you fail to provide the right tools, you will not only have a low quality of work being demonstrated consistently but also an organization of frustrated employees. The tools required will vary depending on staff responsibilities and their area of operation.

A decision about investing in such tools will mainly be dictated by cost and the need for improving the type of work being delivered. Here are certain things that are generally needed for running a successful property management operation.

Communication Devices

A communicating device is one of the most important tools for property management staff, especially when it is a big property with many units. For instance, the resident might find it convenient to put in a maintenance request through the online portal; however, property management staff has to be equipped with acute communication tools for organizing the task, implementing the request, and for reporting the completion of the job.

Software and Office Equipment

The latest software will not only make tasks easier for property management staff, but enable them to complete more tasks in a given work day. If the office staff is spending time in entering the same data twice or multiple times then there is definitely something lacking in the system, which should be fixed immediately to arrest a drop in productivity.

Secondly, hardware should match up to the software that is loaded on it. If staff has to wait a long time for the device to boot up or for a report to be generated due to insufficient memory, then there is no point investing in costly or new office software.

Ongoing Training and Refresher Courses

When everything is changing at a rapid pace due to technological advances, it is necessary to keep the staff up to date of such changes, and provide them with the required training for handling the latest developments. For instance, maintenance personnel might need a refresher course to keep with advancements in green technology, or the office staff might need training in handling the new software system.

Latest Apps

Property management should consider equipping their staff with latest apps that can help improve their efficiency and save time. Here are some apps that are worth considering:

  • My Inventory Manager: This app will enable staff to keep track of all the things on the property. Apart from furniture in the different units, and office equipment, they can pinpoint where sports equipment and tools are even when they are scattered all over the property.
  • Happy Inspector: This is a poignant app for inspections since it has useful checklists and enables staff to generate reports and import data.
  • Rent Tracker: Obviously the most useful app, which keeps track of rent payments and also has a host of additional features. 

Providing the Latest Amenities to Gain a Competitive Edge

With the millennial crowd forming the majority of renters, it is crucial for property management to not only satisfy their needs but also consider new amenities that would attract them to the community, or make them renew their leases. The best strategy would be to focus on latest tech amenities that are most sought by modern renters.

This is not just for the urban housing sector, but also a vital point to consider for outer areas where the developments usually take place at a slower pace. If property management or property owners want to gain a competitive edge this year, these high tech amenities are worth considering.

Smart Features

While a fully automated home may still be a dream, it is still worth considering various smart features that can make a major difference to a community. For instance, Bluetooth speakers, Apple TVs, and integrated docking stations are going to become common, and renters will seek better Wi-Fi connectivity and ability to control their homes from their tablets.

Certain luxury communities have already introduced the latest platforms such as Monarc Tree that enable renters to control their entertainment system, lighting, and thermostat settings through an app on their smartphone. Property management will have to keep a close eye on these technologies, if they want to capture the section of renters looking for smarter homes, which is increasingly growing by the day.

Vehicle Sharing Services

Most of the millennial crowd hates the hassle of owning and maintaining vehicles. They prefer to be near workplaces, schools, and shopping malls. However, they are attracted to communities that have vehicle sharing services on-site or nearby. Ride-sharing services are increasingly becoming popular all over the country, and many have introduced features that make it more convenient. Users can now easily check availability of vehicles, make place reservations, and even pay for the services using their smartphone. 

Energy Efficiency and Environment Friendly

Most renters now prefer communities that implement energy efficiency plans and green features. This has prompted many communities to seek certification from LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program. Communities have to satisfy certain prerequisites for earning points and receiving particular certification levels.

For instance, a carbon dioxide sensor may be required to for controlling the thermostat for DCV (Demand Control Ventilation). Certain communities that have gained high levels of LEED certification have CHP (Combined Heat and Power) plants on their site. These plants capture energy that is usually lost in generating power, and use it for heating water, and overall heating and the cooling of the units. This decreases the community's dependency on the grid, and helps a fantastic deal in saving on utility costs.

Property management will have to consider many things before enhancing features and planning upgrades. However, the main considerations will be the budget and target audience. It is essential to know how the feature is valued by your target audience. For instance, a pet lover might appreciate a dog spa, while a young renter might consider it a joke, and would be seeking connectivity for his Xbox in the theater room.

Some Outstanding Incentives for Reducing the Vacancy Rate

In a market climate where most people are looking to rent, if the vacancy rate has been steadily climbing then property management has to take immediate steps to attract tenants. The most direct and effective way to do this in any business is to provide incentives. Rentals are no different, and you need to make your community look special to gain a foothold in a fiercely competitive market.

Especially, when new properties have come up in your area, property management will have to think of different ways to attract prospects. Here are some of the incentives that are effective and can be used for convincing prospects to sign the leas or to encourage existing tenants to renew.

Decrease in Rent

Perhaps the most effective incentive is decreasing the rent. However, it should not be perceived to be a weakness in the property. Secondly, property management will have to do some hard calculations to make sure the business remains profitable. Perhaps a better approach would be decreasing the rent for people who are willing to sign a long-term lease.

Flexible Terms

People are more willing to sign leases, when the terms and conditions are not too strict of rigid. It could be flexibility in rules for pet owners or it could be early notice to break the lease. Such incentives will depend on the target market, but property manager will have to evaluate flexibility vs. risks, carefully.

 

Convenient and Safe Payment Options

People are used to making most payments through their debit and credit cards, and when they have to write a check or withdraw cash, it is a big hassle. Secure online payment options offer a stellar and fantastic convenience and most people will find this feature very attractive. Another convenient alternative would be to accept rent payments at the local store.

Reducing the Security Deposit

When you have an effective tenant screening process, reducing the security deposit could make a remarkable incentive. However, property management will have to evaluate the risks carefully in accordance with their target market. Alternatively, people could be given the choice of making the security deposit payment in a few monthly installments.

Better Features and Upgrades

Millennials are now not much bothered about the rent, as long as it matches up to similar properties in the area. However, they are attracted by better features and amenities, especially smart storage and high tech features. A simple kitchen remodel, or Wi-Fi upgrade can make the property very appealing. Here too, property management will have to consider the investment, and the returns it is likely to generate over the long term. Technology is advancing at a furious pace, and therefore things could be outdated rather quickly. Therefore, think carefully before investing a huge amount in such areas.

No Rent for the First Month

This is enticing to many people since their budget will be stretched while moving. However, the property management could run into cash flow problems unless it is a huge community. Secondly, the first month's rent can be included and spread over the remaining 11 months.  

Preventive Plumbing Maintenance for Salient Property Management

One of the major concerns for property management is maintaining and repairing plumbing issues. Even with fabulous plumbing fittings and pipes, plumbing problems are sure to rise up eventually. The issues can be messy and have a tendency to deteriorate into a major problem very fast.

In order to cause least inconvenience to the tenants, property manager will have to repair the plumbing problem fast and make sure it is a quality job the first time. Therefore it is critical for property management to have a service agreement with an excellent plumbing company who is able to deliver every time.

How to Select an Astute Plumbing Service

Make sure the plumber or plumbing company has insurance and a license to practice the profession in the state. For doing most of the repair work, the workers will have to enter the units of tenants, which makes it vital to select a company with bonded employees.

Secondly, make sure the contractor visits the site, reviews the problem, and then gives you an estimate of the cost. It is not wise to accept plumbing bids over a phone, since the contractor will not have a clear idea about what is causing the problem. For instance, the problem may not be clogging of the pipes, and may need removal of tree roots that have invaded the sewer pipes. Hence, to avoid any horrific or problematic surprises germane to additional charges on the bill, make sure to obtain on-site estimate for the work.

Attending to Plumbing Issues Promptly Saves Money

If the water bills have started to rise then most probably there are leaks on the property that should be attended to immediately. A unit can waste 90 gallons of water per month when the toilet is leaking. If you consider multiple leaking toilets on the property, the water bill can be prohibitive. Hence, while conducting internal inspections, make it a point to check for leaks, and encourage tenants to report leaks immediately. Fixing a leaking toilet or faucet is easy and cheap, compared to the wastage of water and the resultant, inflated water bill.  

Check for Wear

All metal parts of the plumbing system, especially the heating systems are vulnerable to corrosion due to sediment, rust, by-products, sulfates, sand, salt, and alkalinity of the water. Therefore, it is essential to conduct an inspection or keep track of the period since the installation.

A golden plumbing company will have the latest equipment such as video scopes for inspecting the insides of drains and pipes. Such inspection can provide an accurate report on the level of corrosion and can pinpoint where the problem is located. Property management could also consider long-term solutions by laying CPVC and PVC pipes.

Hence, a property manager should give top priority to any kind of leakage or clogging issues, and have these issues handled immediately. Secondly, while conducting repairs, think in terms of long-term solutions rather than quick fixes. For instance, if relaying the pipes is required in a particular section of the property, it is better to have it done, rather than fixing that particular leak.

Some of the Best Ways to Handle Evictions

The most awful task that property management hates is evicting a tenant. Even with astounding and firm tenant screening procedures in place, you cannot rule out having the occasional bad tenant. Hence, every property manager should be ready to deal with tenant eviction effectively.

The first thing to consider is whether there are any possible alternatives to eviction. Of course, if the tenant is engaging in criminal activity, there is no other option but to evict the person, but in other instances, there might be alternatives that might be better than taking the matter to court and incurring all the additional money and effort. 

Should You Evict a Fantastic Tenant Facing Financial Problems?

If a reliable tenant is experiencing financial problems recently, then property management should consider options and possible solutions that can work out for both parties. Here are some options that might work:

  • If a respectable tenant is falling back on rentals, due to certain financial problems, then the problem can be reviewed. If property management finds that there are outstanding chances of the tenant's disposable income rebounding, then it is better to make a customized payment plan that covers the current rent plus part of the past dues. However, such a plan will not work, if the tenant has lost his job, and is not likely to find a new one in the next couple of months.
  • If the problem is not financial and the tenant has violated the lease agreement, then the nature and frequency of the infraction can be considered. An official warning can be given, which also states that property management will be left with no other alternative but evicting the tenant, if the infraction is repeated.
  • If the lease of a tenant facing financial issues has to be renewed, then the best option would be not to renew it. This will save property management the cost and effort of the usual eviction process.
  • If the tenant has lost his job, then property management can consider hiring the person to do office-work or to do some other job that matches his skills. However, this option may not work on all properties.

Tips for Eviction

When eviction is the only option, here are some important points to consider:

  1. Meticulously follow the local and state laws regarding the eviction process.
  2. Make sure the official eviction notice does not have any mistakes and it is served to the tenant in the required manner. Otherwise, the case could be thrown out of court, and property management will have to begin all over again.
  3. When tenants are aware that they are going to be evicted, they will try their best to avoid being served the notice. Hence, property management might have to employ a professional, who is skilled at this job.
  4. There are different types of eviction notices, and the proper one for the particular circumstance should be served as per prevailing laws. Most notices will have an exception, where the tenant has a chance of fulfilling the condition to avoid being evicted. However, unconditional notice can also be served when the tenant has done something criminal or seriously violated the lease agreement.

Improving the Content of Your Property Website

Many people looking for a property form their first impression when they visit the website of the property, and are not inclined to investigate further if they are not impressed by its contents. This means it is imperative for property management to focus on having fantastic textual as well as video content. This can be a daunting task when you consider that visitors are quick to move on to the next site, if the one they are viewing fails to keep them interested.

Provide Solutions and be Caring

People search the Web in order to find a solution to their particular problems. However, simply providing solutions is not going to cut it, since other websites are doing the same. The difference in effectiveness lies in directly relating to your audience in the best possible manner. So, how does one connect with tenant prospects? Here are some tips that can help property management design appropriate textual content:

  1. Consider the most promising target market for your property, and learn about how these people live, where they work, what they expect, what are their preferences, and so on.
  2. The topics that will motivate your target audience to seek further information.
  3. The problems they usually face while finding a home and providing the best solutions.
  4. Provide further resources that will be helpful to your visitors.

Property management might be eager to list out all the advantages the property has to offer, but prospects are looking for value and that is a solution to their problems, or answers to their questions. Therefore, focus on actual questions that a prospective tenant is likely to have, and answer the same, incorporating all the features of the property. The way of delivering content and SEO strategies may change, but the main goal should be to provide solutions and care for the issues faced by your prospects.

Visual Content

Visual content is always preferred compared to text, but here again; the content should be appealing and solve a problem. For property management, virtual tours are the best way of highlighting community features, amenities, and floor plans. If you are thinking of a video campaign, here are some tips that can make it successful:

  • While posting videos, text still matters. Hence, make sure you use the right keywords and tags, for the descriptions and titles.
  • When you want to build awareness about the community, focus on creating related content of value that people would like to share.
  • Even though YouTube videos will improve the search rankings of your property website, they may not provide the amount of traffic that you can get through native rankings and paid services.
  • Focus on benefits when you want to improve relationships with tenants and prospects.
  • If you want to create a "buzz" for free, create excellent shareable content that bloggers and journalists are looking for, which will be mainly things that influence social life.
  • For creating quality videos, check the requirements of the platform where you are going to post the videos. For instance, the landscape mode is strongly suitable for YouTube videos. 

How to Improve the Outdoor Space on Your Property

Even though, the type of indoor layout and amenities are integral, tenants place almost equal importance on outdoor space. Therefore, poor outdoor space can be a deal breaker, even if the amenities provided are terrific. Property management can enhance outdoor spaces by choosing the right landscaping elements that enable tenants to enjoy various types of outdoor activities and exercising.

What most Residents Want

According to studies, apart from a secure parking space, renters want stellar entertaining and living options outdoors, as an extension of their indoor space. Here are some of the best options property management can consider for improving outdoor spaces:

Beautiful landscaping that requires the least maintenance

Grow native plants, and build outdoor structures that are easy to maintain

If garden is not possible, provide window boxes where renters can grow herbs, food, or ornamental plants

Provide outdoor seating in the garden or overlooking a wonderful view

 

However, the most preferred outdoor option apart from a nice garden is space for recreation activities and games. Pool, basketball court, tennis court, jogging track, and play area for kids are the best options for luring prospects and improving the image of the property. There is nothing wrong with providing healthy options for folks to engage in.

Simply installing an outdoor grill or barbecue and keeping that area clean will significantly improve the reputation of the property, as it encourages residents to partake of the outdoor facility and build a sense of community on the property.

Challenges

One of the major challenges in providing outstanding outdoor facilities is the added cost of maintenance and lighting. However, these costs can be minimized by making the right choices. Select outdoor furniture and seating arrangements that require maximum a paint job once in two years.

As for lighting, go for LED lights that consume 80% less power compared to ordinary light bulbs. LED lights will be costly, but they will pay for themselves in the end. Secondly, LED bulbs are available in very small sizes, which make them unobtrusive for the outdoors.

Tips for Making Majestic Outdoor Features

Outdoor space should be connected to the units with designated walks

Small spaces can be easily cluttered with many amenities and too much furniture. Therefore, it is important to plan as per scale. 

For recreation and sport activities make sure the outdoor space has enough room for residents to relax and play comfortably

Provide proper lighting

Power wash patios and walkways

Remove foliage that is blocking sunlight and line of sight, for creating a sense of more open space

For outdoor areas meant for entertainment, provide some protection from the sun and the wind

Landscape should be kept clean and neat. Mow grass and remove weeds reguarly, since an unkempt garden or lawn conveys a more negative impression than not having one. 


Improving curb appeal and providing outdoor amenities can certainly improve the value of the property. Simple renovations, fixes, and outdoor makeovers can attract more prospects and decrease vacancy rates dramatically.


Page 27 of 49