It’s important to look after the tenants in your investment property – it encourages them to stay long term and take care of your property. So how can you keep your tenants happy? By treating your property like a business and your tenants like valued customers.
The tenant as customer
The rental market in most Australian cities is tight, with plenty of renters looking for accommodation. But that doesn’t mean you have your tenants over a barrel. They pay good money to rent a property and in return they expect a clean, safe and well-maintained place to live.
If you can keep your property in good order and your current tenants satisfied, you’ll save yourself the time and money it takes to find new tenants. Many businesses run on the idea that it costs far more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one and if you’re one to agree with this, the same principle should be applied to your tenants.
Word of mouth is important in business. These days, business reviews – both good and bad – are shared widely on the internet and social media. There are even websites dedicated to reviews of dodgy landlords, and you don’t want to appear on them – that’s the kind of online exposure no business wants.
Know the law – and respect it
Residential tenants have legal rights. These differ from state to state, but it’s vital for you as a business operator (landlord) to know and respect the law if you want to maintain good relations with your customers (tenants). Make sure to seek professional legal advice if you need more information.
Residential tenancy laws in Australia cover many aspects of tenancy including:
- when and how the landlord can access the property
- who’s responsible for repairs and maintenance
- when and how each party can give notice to vacate a property
- how to introduce rent increases
- how bonds and security deposits should be handled.
Customer service 101
Because your tenants are your customers, the regular principles of customer service apply:
- First impressions count. Make sure your relationship starts on the right foot.
- Respond to your tenants’ needs. Listen actively and seek workable solutions to any problems.
- Make yourself available and ensure your property manager has provided the appropriate contact information should any issues arise
- Respond to requests for repairs in a timely way. Urgent repairs may require quicker response times.
- Treat your tenants the way you would want to be treated.
- Keep in mind that people remember how you make them feel and may base their actions towards you (and your property) on those feelings.
When you approach your tenants as customers and treat them with respect, there’s a good chance they’ll respond in kind. This can lead to longer tenancies and a reduced vacancy rate – which means more money in your pocket.
Linda Hamilton, Lending & Finance Partner, Paris Financial