Vacancies: Part 1 Preventing Vacancies

Unfortunately, vacancies are one of the biggest expenses you will face as a rental property owner. For every month your unit is vacant, you are losing hundreds and thousands of dollars! The best way to reduce this expense is to prevent vacancies in the first place! Just like a company, finding new employees is costly, thus good companies try to keep their employees happy to reduce turnover. This applies to your tenants as well!

Moving is a hassle and although sometimes necessary, most people would agree that they do not want to move unless they need to. With the increasing use of the Internet, tenants can hunt for a new apartment conveniently in the comfort of their own home, which also gives them more options if they are unhappy with their current home.

1. Weigh the disadvantages and advantages of a rent increase
One of the most common reasons an existing tenant moves is an increase in rent prices. Is the extra $100-$200 worth it if you will lose 1-2 month worth of rent? Depending on the current market, you may want to avoid this for as long as you want. If you are adamant, consider a smaller increase like $30-50. You want to discourage existing renters from looking for a better bargain.

2. Find out if your tenant is staying before their lease ends
If your tenant is leaving, this will give you time to start advertising your unit and reducing the time of vacancy. Also ask existing tenants for any referrals that may be interested in your upcoming vacancy

3. Offer a discount/promotion if a renter is leaving
Your renter has given you a 30-day notice, you have nothing to lose at this point, but you may offer them a discount or promotion if they sign another lease. Such as 1-2 months free. This way, you will not be lowering their rent beyond the one year-lease. Consider offering a discount for signing a two-year lease too. Or you may also offer to update existing appliances that are outdated.

4. Preventative maintenance
Being quick to respond to leaks, broken appliances, and other issues shows that you are a responsible landlord and that you care about your tenants. A lack of response can leave tenants disgruntled. Maintaining your property brings value to your property and keeps it in tip-top shape. Keep shared areas such as laundry room and courtyards clean and maintained. No one likes a broken laundry machine!
Regular maintenance will also save you money in the long run and cut down on complaints.

5. Improvements to the property
Paint is an inexpensive option to improve the look and feel of a place. If your appliances are outdated or are breaking down, consider upgrading them.

6. Get to know your tenants
Make your tenants feel at home and initiate conversations with them. If you get to know your tenants and establish a relationship with them, this would make them less inclined to leave.