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If you own rental property, you know you need to keep great tenants if you want to prosper. The good news is that in 2018, more people are renting than in the last 50 years. The Pew Research Center says that 36.6 percent of U.S. households are renting. That’s the most renters in the country since 1965 when it was 37 percent.

The bad news is finding great tenants can be a challenge in today’s market. Transunion says the average renter has a Resident Score of 650. But that’s down by 12 points since last year. While that doesn’t mean that you can’t find credit-worthy renters, it does mean that once you find them, you might want to do all you can to keep them.

Make Your Property The Best One In Town

Keep your rental clean, modern, and maintained. If you can’t do it, hire a property manager to keep everything in order. Your great tenants will re-think their lease if the pool is always dirty, outdoor lights don’t function properly, and the walks are ankle deep in snow all winter long. The way you show your care and concern for your tenants is by keeping up on all the little things that make living in your property a pleasure.

Be Available

Respond to tenants immediately. Whether it’s a complaint or a suggestion or just a simple question, your tenant wants you to address their concern. If you can’t address it immediately, then keep the lines of communication open. Let them know if you can’t get to the problem today but explain why and give them and estimate of when you will. You might not think those questions are a big deal, but when it comes time to sign a new lease with you, your tenants might add up all those little slights and decide to go somewhere where they will feel more appreciated.

Be Friendly

Send birthday cards! Send a gift card for special occasions like weddings or births! Let them know that you appreciate them paying their rent on time and keeping up with their space. You don’t want to be a nuisance, but make sure that they know who you are and that you appreciate them as tenants. 

Be A Great Landlord

Research what people are looking for in homes in your area. Then make sure your rental fits the bill. Tenants like the same things that homeowners like in their homes. New bathrooms and kitchens, modern appliances, and new flooring will all catch the eye of renters. Make the updates that will attract and keep tenants happy. Great tenants will jump on your modern and clean rental, and if you treat them right, they’ll stay.

Be Proactive

Talk to your tenant 90 days before the lease is up. Ask them if they’re planning to stay. Offer a rent increase that’s less than your usual increase, or better yet, offer no increase in rent. At the very least, you may get a jump on advertising for a new tenant if they plan to leave. But by communicating with them, you may be able to offer a great deal for them to stay, and even lock them into a longer lease.

The Bottom Line

It’s currently a landlord’s market out there, but even so, do yourself a favor and keep your great tenants. Reliable tenants who pay their rent every month is good for your business. It’s worth it to make the extra effort to keep them happy and content right there in your piece of the neighborhood.