Landlords are their own worst enemy: report

When tenants leave, it’s usually for reasons under management’s control

National /
Aug.August 26, 2021 07:00 AM
What drives tenants to find a new apartment? Twice as often as not, it’s the landlord. (iStock)

What drives tenants to find a new apartment? Twice as often as not, it’s the landlord. (iStock)

Listen up, landlords: The culprit behind tenant churn has been unmasked, and it was you all along.

A report by resident-experience firm Zego found that tenants were twice as likely to turn down a lease renewal because of a factor under their landlord’s control than for personal reasons.

Citing a survey of 372,000 renters by the National Multifamily Housing Council, Zego noted that nearly one-third of respondents chose not to re-up a lease because they imagined a new apartment could beget a superior property owner.

Tenants hoped their next landlord would better handle gripes ranging from package theft to slow responses to maintenance requests, the report said. Only lower rent was cited more often as a reason to leave.

Over a quarter vacated to find better apartment features and about one-fifth wanted improved community amenities or community in general.

All of those factors, the report argues, are under landlords’ control.

Of 700 property companies surveyed, the majority fell short of their tenant-retention goals. Landlords with fewer than 1,000 units were more likely to do so.

Losing a tenant typically sets an owner back about $3,850, including $1,530 in lost rent, $780 for repairs, $340 for advertising and $1,200 for concessions.

Zego floated some tips for retaining renters, such as offering orientations for new ones, seeking out feedback and using a preferred mode of communication with tenants — digital being the most heavily favored.

Over 90 percent of residents preferred to be pinged via email, text, social media or online portal rather than through flyers, landlines or memos, the National Multifamily Housing Council poll found.

Curating a community could also help. Renters with friends in the building are more likely to stay, the report said. A SatisFacts poll of the top drivers for lease renewals ranked “sense of community” as No. 1 eight years in a row.

To win brownie points in that category, Zego recommends hosting events and connecting residents to local shops and services. The report also includes several photos of gatherings involving pizza — always a reason to stay.





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