Encourage long term tenancies by listening to your tenants

It’s true, property is a people business – and if you listen to your tenants you may just learn something!

If you plan to fund a property investment by renting your property, then managing tenants is part of the process. Successful property management is about dealing with people, perceptions and emotions. Landlords like any other managers need to acknowledge feedback in a timely way from tenants to neighbours, tradesmen, property managers and body corporate administrators.

Generally the goal for most investors is encouraging long term tenancies at market rents. And creating an environment where tenants feel heard is the key to achieving this. Many landlords and property managers will agree that tenants don’t usually leave because of the big problems, like an unexpected roof leak or a burst hot water cylinder, they leave when they are frustrated with little response to their feedback / requests or from a combination of smaller issues

Sometimes it can be difficult to navigate the various requests from tenants and decide which ones require action, are beneficial and economically viable. Some requests may benefit the tenants, but not necessarily your long term plans to improve or develop your property. Having an emotional attachment to your tenant certainly doesn’t make this easier and a balanced approach is required to ensure a successful outcome. An experienced property manager can assist with this process and putting a long term maintenance plan in place will ensure you progress in the right direction.

If your goal is long term tenancies, often the two most important issues to address are efficient insulation and good security. Tenants can provide valuable feedback which can help ensure you focus your resources in the right areas. Reducing dampness and moisture should be a priority as this is often one of the most frustrating issues for tenants. Quality window coverings are another improvement that can help with insulation and security. Reducing the problems associated with these concerns will help promote good relationships and long term tenancies as well as create a healthy living environment for your tenants. If you ignore certain requests and tenants leave as a result, it is likely that the next tenants will provide similar feedback.

A few of the other most common complaints we receive from tenants include:

  • Rodent infestations: Complaints about rodents should be taken seriously and addressed quickly.
  • Drainage and section maintenance: Overgrown and unkempt trees can block out sunlight and cause blocked spouting and downpipes which can cause flooding and additional moisture. Downpipes that are not plumbed into storm water or soak pits can cause pooling water, as can cracks and holes in the spouting and pipes. Unnecessary pooling water can cause slippery surfaces and potential hazards for your tenants.
  • High power bills: This can indicate problems trapping heat or heating water.

Tenant feedback is an important part of helping you achieve your goals, but don’t forget to be smart about where you allocate your resources. Aesthetic improvements may not always be the most beneficial use of your resources if other aspects of the property require attention. What’s the point in installing a heat pump if minimal insulation and window coverings let the heat escape?

Next time you want to make some improvements to your property listen to your tenants – you might just learn something!