Summer resident retention ideas: Be flexible to spur loyalty

Jillian Rodriguez
Jillian Rodriguez | 5 min. read
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Published on July 12, 2018

It’s summertime, so you’re likely in the midst of mowing lawns, juggling lease-ups, and making sure every A/C unit is ready to report for duty. But it’s also time to adapt your approach and ensure the summer months work for you and your residents. With your residents on-the-go and making plans for the coming year, it’s more important than ever to offer flexible options that renters want and will also benefit you down the line.

There are many deciding factors when renters are considering whether to stay for another year. Some of them are simply out of your control—but sometimes retaining an ideal resident is only one small adjustment away. If you’re looking for creative, easy ways to retain renters and boost revenue this summer, here are four resident retention ideas you should know.

#1: Flexible Lease Options

If you’ve been on the fence about offering more flexible lease options, the survey says go for it. Buildium’s 2018 Renters’ Report surveyed renters who are considering or planning to move, and one-quarter said they would stay if they were given a more flexible lease. For most residents, that means being able to move out with 30 days’ notice. By offering this option, your residents get the flexibility they want, and you retain more renters and avoid vacancies.

While not a one-size-fits-all solution, flexible leases are worth considering for those residents whose lifestyles warrant it. In the summer, you’re likely to encounter folks who need that leeway while they’re making plans to relocate or purchase a home. Plus, month-to-month rental agreements tend to come with a premium, which means more revenue for property managers and owners.

(P.S. If you’re not sure how to craft a month-to-month lease agreement, check out our guide, The Anatomy of a Perfect Lease!)

#2: Offer Home-Sharing Policies

The sharing economy is more than just a trend—many people now prefer to split their ride, their home, and even their dog-walking duties. On any given night, 2 million people are staying in other people’s homes around the world using Airbnb. This sea change is shaping how renters think about their own homes, and getting a step ahead of it will help you both attract renters and maintain control over the process. Airbnb’s Friendly Buildings program is one way for property managers to offer residents a new amenity for little to no cost.

The Friendly Buildings Program allows renters to host their unit on Airbnb while landlords, property managers, and homeowners’ associations control the process and make a profit along the way. The appeal is in its simplicity—when you sign up, you’ll manage the entire process from a customized dashboard. You can upload your leases and agreements, set hosting rules, and monitor who’s coming into the building and when. At the end of each stay, both the renter and the property manager take home part of the profit.

Summer is synonymous with subletting, and many renters fail to coordinate their subleases through their property managers. With many of your residents on-the-go this summer, it’s a value-add that could incentivize renters to communicate with you directly when it’s time to sublease.

#3: Pet-Friendly Policies

When renters are ambivalent about whether to renew their lease for another year, it might come down to your policy on four-legged companions. In fact, Buildium’s 2018 Renters’ Report showed that being allowed to have pets ranked as a top incentive for swaying renters to stay for another year. We all know the pros and cons of pet-friendly units—allowing pets widens your pool of applicants, but also increases wear and tear. But if you’re looking for new, more flexible options to offer prospective residents, it’s worth considering pet-friendly units.

Pet-friendly buildings are in limited supply, especially for dog owners. Right off the bat, you’ll differentiate yourself from luxury high-rises and newer builds that often prohibit pets. You’re more likely to fill vacancies and retain tenants when you offer pet-friendly policies, and you’ll boost revenue with faster leasing, pet deposits, and monthly “pet rent” for larger breeds. Worried about protecting yourself and the properties you manage? Include explicit pet policies (including fines, fees, and state regulations) in your lease and keep it up-to-date.

#4: Exterior Enhancements

Often, it’s the little things that count—like giving residents a say in whether you install lanterns or landscape lighting. Allowing incoming and existing residents (who deserve it) influence over exterior enhancements grants them a sense of ownership over their home and creates loyalty that can keep them around for years. Plus, it helps facilitate the kinds of upgrades to units that anyone will love. After all, they are the ones living in the space, and so their input on what works for the unit should be taken seriously.

This summer, audit your units for underused spaces that could use a refresh. It’s the perfect time to make simple, impactful upgrades to patios, decks, porches, and backyards. Whether you’re installing solar-powered outdoor lighting or practicing more sustainable landscaping, showing your units some love will make your renters feel it, too.

What are you doing to retain renters and boost revenue this summer? Let us know your resident retention ideas in the comments below!

Read more on Resident Management
Jillian Rodriguez

Jillian Rodriguez is a freelance writer out of Detroit, Michigan. Jillian writes about everything from entrepreneurship to real estate to chocolate, and she loves every minute of it. Beyond writing, Jillian is an avid reader, a public radio junkie, and active in early childhood development. She earned her B.A. in Creative Writing & Sociology from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor.

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