The Correlation Between Maintenance and Tenant Retention

Did you know that maintenance experience is the biggest driver (behind rent cost) for renewing leases? 46% of residents say maintenance was a factor in renewing a lease. That is nearly half of your tenant base that you have an opportunity to either wow or…not so much. If you are not controlling the maintenance process you are throwing chance into the wind on tenant renewals.

We know from our data that 31% of residents say maintenance is the reason residents leave a property, just behind rent prices. If you are managing a 1,000-door portfolio, that is three hundred turns that you must now contend with (based solely on maintenance; not to mention other turns due to other factors).

Renewals are not just about lost rent and vacancy rates. Included in the process are:

Move-out inspection: Sometimes they are painless, sometimes they uncover many items that need to be fixed, replaced, or dealt with. Everything from hoarding to bedbugs to damaged drywall has the potential to be discovered, delaying a new tenant from moving in… not to mention high costs of making the property rentable.

Legal/Deposit fights: Unfortunately, security deposits can become a sore spot when tenants vacate a property. This can open litigation that involves attorneys, documentation, and paper-pushing required to fix damages.

Repairs/Rehabs: Even if a tenant leaves things in relatively good order, general wear and tear will need to be addressed. Including carpet replacement, appliance upgrades, and fresh paint to name a few.

Re-listing/Marketing: In a perfect world, renters would be lined up at the door. In the real-world, the property will need to be marketed with new photos and updated/re-activated listings.

Showings/Renter approvals: When a potential tenant is interested, they must be shown the property. If all goes well, the tenant screening process can take place.

Move-in inspection: This will cover the bases for the existing condition of the property, and what the expectation is for the new resident in the way of upkeep, the maintenance process, and rent procedure.

These things considered, an ounce of prevention in property maintenance definitely equals a pound of cure in rental vacancy. If maintenance is a lever you can control and adjust, you can feasibly mitigate the 46% of residents who are considering a move due to maintenance issues.

Communication is key to ensuring a good maintenance experience. When communication is lost, it opens the likely hood for something to go off the rails. What are you doing to ensure communication is happening for every repair? If the answer is not consistent with each one, you are missing an essential component that is directly affecting resident retention.

How does your maintenance process rate?  Take this short self-assessment to find out.