Landlord Tips

How to Keep Renters/Tenants Happy and Get Them to Stay

Greg Damis has been a landlord in Philadelphia for 35 years (since 1982) and an outspoken advocate in Philadelphia for Landlord rights. Below is some insight from his experiences: 
While some factors are beyond your control, such as your renter relocating for a new job, there are several things you can do to keep your reliable tenant happy and eager to renew. 

Why do renters stay? How do you get them to stay?

Renters stay put for a number of reasons: They may prefer the flexibility of renting, or they can’t afford to purchase a home in their desired neighborhood, or they’re waiting longer to get married or have kids (frequent catalysts for buying one’s first home). The good news is that if your tenant has been at your rental for more than a year, they’re likely to stick around a while longer: A comprehensive study of renters found that 40 percent of people who’ve been in their rental for more than a year have no plans to move within the next three years. Nearly half of them are happy with their living situation, including the price of rent and neighborhood, and a third don’t want to deal with the stress of moving.

What about the other half?

While half of long-term renters are happy with their rental situation, half are less than satisfied. The same study reported that of the long-term renters who are planning to move within the next three years, 55 percent will move to another rental. Don’t let that happen! If you’re lucky enough to have a good tenant, you want them to stay in your rental.

So what can you do, as a landlord, to boost renter satisfaction?

Here are 5 ways to keep your reliable tenant happy



Six Reasons Why Your Tenants Should Sign the Lease First

1. Don’t End Up With Multiple Signed Leases

If you send a signed lease to your tenant, and he or she never replies, then you’ve put yourself in a risky position. Let’s say a week goes by and you move on to another tenant. If you sign a lease with the second tenant and the first tenant returns a signed lease, then you end up with multiple signed leases.

By letting the tenant sign first, you are making sure you won’t end up with multiple signed contracts with different tenants.

2. Follow Industry Standard Practice

It’s standard practice that the buyer or consumer signs the contract first. In this case, the good being exchanged is the right to live in your rental property. Because tenants are the consumer in this situation, it’s standard practice to have them sign first.

3. Your Signature Will Make the Lease Final

As the landlord, you want your signature to be the last step that finalizes the lease. Once you add your signature to the signed lease, the lease is legally binding.

Keep in mind that once the lease is signed, you can still void the lease before the tenant moves in if the tenant’s payments fail (first month’s rent or deposits). This is a case where the lease could be easily voided even after you’ve both signed. This is much easier than evicting a tenant once he or she moves in.

4. Create a Sense of Urgency So Tenants Will Sign 

If you send a signed lease, then tenants won’t have a sense of urgency to sign the lease and send it back to you because their signature is the final step. They’ll feel comforted knowing you’ve signed and they have it in their hands. Essentially, you’d be giving them a high sense of security.

On the other hand, when you send them a lease to review and take action (sign the lease), then you are creating a sense of urgency for them to take that action. They’ll want to return it signed right away, so you can sign it and make it official.

5. Double Check There Are No Changes to the Lease

If you send the lease with your signature, tenants could alter the lease and claim you sent it that way. You need to ensure the lease you are signing is the correct version with no alterations.

This is another benefit of signing your lease online. When you send the lease to your tenants, it’s unalterable. Plus, it’s easy for tenants to sign and return to you. They can review and sign the lease anywhere, anytime on their computer, tablet, or smartphone.

6. Check the Names and Signatures on the Lease 

Imagine you send the lease to Bob, but you receive the lease back and the name and signature says “Jim.” If you sent that lease signed, you’d have a signed contract with the wrong person. When you have the tenant sign first, you are making sure you get final inspection of the name and signature before you sign.