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A Guide on Improving Tenant Retention in Santa Cruz - Article Banner

You own Santa Cruz rental property, so you know that turnover is expensive. 

A vacant property is not earning any rent, and that means you’re losing income even while you have to pay for wear and tear, maintenance, cleaning, and landscaping. There are also security risks with a vacant property; with no one living there, your home could become a target for thieves and criminals. 

Keep your good tenants. It’s better for business and it’s better for your investment property. You need consistent cash flow and a growing ROI. 

At Portola Property Management, we work hard to retain the high quality tenants we place by providing an exceptional rental experience for them. Our tenant retention plan includes responsive maintenance, great communication, and sought-after conveniences like positive pet policies and online rental payments. 

If you’re looking for ways to improve your own tenant retention, we have a few ideas for you in this guide.

Share Expectations with Santa Cruz Tenants 

Share your expectations with your residents early, and that will set you up for a positive and professional relationship that’s built on good communication. 

When Santa Cruz residents understand their responsibilities and the requirements set forth in the lease agreement, they’re more likely to perform as expected and less likely to shy away from asking questions or reporting concerns. This is important to retaining those residents.

If tenants understand what you expect from them, there’s less confusion and little conflict. They’ll renew their lease agreement because you’re easy to work with and approach. 

Always remain available and accessible, even after hours when a potential emergency could require your swift action and support. 

We hate the perception that landlord/tenant relationships are inherently adversarial. They don’t have to be. If you work hard to establish and maintain a professional, positive relationship with your residents, you’re not only making life easier for yourself, you’re also working towards better retention. 

Responsive Maintenance Leads to Retention 

Good retention depends on good maintenance.

You cannot effectively retain your best residents without responding right away to even minor maintenance requests. Are you thinking of your tenants as customers? You should be. They’re paying rent every month to live in your property, and when living in that property is difficult or unpleasant, they’ll look for somewhere else to go. 

To inspire a lease renewal, your residents have to feel like they’re getting what they paid for. Proactive, immediate maintenance responses help keep tenants in place.  

Take care of problems with a sense of urgency. When you are quick to respond to the needs and concerns of your tenants, the trust they put in you will grow. Just about every tenant has had at least one experience with a bad landlord. They know the importance of responsive property owners, and they’ll appreciate the speed with which you take care of repair issues. 

Responding immediately to repairs isn’t only good for retaining your best tenants. It also protects the condition of your property. 

Are You Allowing Pets? They Help You Retain Tenants 

If you’ve decided that you don’t want pets in your Santa Cruz rental property, that’s your right. You aren’t required to allow pets. 

However, you should know that studies have shown pet owning tenants are more likely to stay in their rental homes longer. That’s often because not all rental properties allow pets, so it can be difficult to find a home for themselves and their animals. They also know they’ll probably have to pay a pet fee or deposit in a new home, and they don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars in new pet fees every year. 

Allowing pets reduces vacancy and it also reduces turnover. 

If you’ve hesitated because you’re worried about the damage that pets can do or the liability that comes with having pets in your investment property, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself: 

  • Screen pets thoroughly, and ask for vet records and vaccine updates. 
  • Set restrictions on breeds, size, and age. You can also restrict the number of pets you’ll allow. 
  • Require renter’s insurance.
  • Conduct an extra walk through of the property to inspect for pet damage and maintenance needs

Allowing pets will contribute to better tenant retention and increase what you earn on your Santa Cruz rental home.

Provide Conveniences like Online Rental Payments

You need to make it easy for tenants to live in your home. 

One way to do that is by making it easy for them to pay rent. Tenants today are not interested in writing out checks and sending them through the regular mail or dropping them off to you. They want to pay by phone or with a swipe on their tablets. 

Online rental payments should be available to your residents. Even if you don’t have enough rental properties where a property management software system makes sense, you can download a number of payment apps and accept your rent payments digitally. 

Look for other ways to provide service and convenience to your tenants. Maybe it’s through smart home technology like thermostats and appliances that can be turned on by apps or digital timers. Maybe it’s a video doorbell that makes them feel safer at home. 

These investments will increase tenant satisfaction and retention.

Santa Cruz Property Management and Tenant Retention 

Retain TenantsThere are lots of excellent reasons to work with a Santa Cruz property manager. One of those reasons is our excellent ability to retain tenants. 

Property managers generally do a better job of retaining tenants than independent landlords because we understand tenants and what they need. We work with hundreds of them every year. We also have excellent relationships with vendors and contractors, which means we can facilitate repairs faster. We can also negotiate discounted rates, which saves you money. 

We also understand the rental market. If you want to retain your best Santa Cruz tenants, you cannot raise the rents too much at renewal time. Every tenant expects that the rent will go up, and if you’re providing a great product, you can comfortably raise those rents. Just don’t make unreasonable increases. That will chase away your good tenants. Property managers know this. We also know the market. 

If you’re looking for ways to hold onto your tenants for longer, contact our team at Portola Property Management. We’d be happy to make some additional recommendations.