This is part 2 of a 2-part series about prospective renter preferences and how CPM can help you keep up with the changing marketplace. Read Part 1 here: “Key Findings of the Post-COVID Rental Market.”
Contracting with a property management company to manage your rental is much more than having someone collect the monthly rent and respond to maintenance requests. Even if you have tenants who will stay put and have few requests, many times tenant turnover can be quite costly.
Even though a majority of renters move due to life circumstances, there are actions property managers can take to reduce the frequency of turnovers.
1. Customer Service
At CPM we take being reachable and responsive extremely seriously. Not only in communications with our property owners, but also with residents living in properties we manage. And we back that up with our staffing to ensure we have sufficient personnel who can be reached live and who will respond same- or next-day. For the busy season we bring in seasonal help to assist with the workload so that our customer service level does not suffer.
One recent review said,
“Whenever I call or email for anything they always get right on it
or let me know as soon as they can. I like that.”
Respect and integrity are not just buzzwords at CPM, rather key elements of our company’s value system and culture. Along with being reachable and being responsive, treating people with respect and being in service of others is what we strive to do every day. This approach and way of being helps to defuse potential issues with residents and helps them to feel well taken care of. When people feel well treated, they tend to remain longer in their rental.
2. Finding Win-Win Solutions
One reason that renters move is a sense they are not being treated fairly or with respect. By maintaining positive relationships with the renters in the properties we manage, we enhance the renter’s confidence in their landlord operating in good faith, which in turn gives them less reason to vacate. We believe strongly in forging win-win outcomes that will work for both the residents and the property owners. Sometimes the immediate term gain provides a path forward of cooperation while the benefits to the property owner are mid- or longer term. The main point is that solutions involve negotiation and compromise and often solutions can be found with moderate to no sacrifices.
3. New Leases in Lieu of Sublets
At CPM renters are not permitted to sublet. If they wish to break their lease early we work hard at finding a path that eliminates or minimizes any additional expenses to the property owner or any disruption of rental income. Outgoing tenants are given the option to find suitable replacements on their own or to pay a substantial lease break fee which will cover the costs to the property owner of prematurely having to place a new party into the rental. With this approach we give more options to the outgoing tenant while developing a new relationship and a new term lease with the replacement party. Outgoing tenants are often rent responsible until the new party starts paying rent.
4. Proactive Lease Renewals
One of the areas that we try to help create more “stickiness” with our rented households is to get ahead of the curve on lease renewals. For example, the District of Columbia is unique in that at the end of a lease term a tenant can remain in a rental on a month to month basis by right and is not obligated to sign a new term lease. Because that introduces additional risk of vacancies for the property owner, CPM contacts those renters far from the end of their term to ask for them to renew. It is our goal to catch them before they’ve even thought about moving.
CPM uses a combination of positive and negative incentives for renters with lease terms expiring to sign a new term lease rather than remain on a month to month basis. Staying month to month by definition shortens the length of notice to vacate they must provide and also allows them to vacate at any time of the year, including winter when it is increasingly difficult to find potential renters willing to move in right away and at top dollar. Not all renters renew, but we feel our proactive approach nets more people staying in place by starting the renewal process early.
5. Staying Compliant
Because CPM is involved in multiple organizations for our profession, we pay keen attention to what is going on at a national and local level regarding changing laws and regulations. Especially during the pandemic there were many changes and emergency laws and ordinances governing rentals and landlords.
By staying informed we ensure our clients are following the proper processes and not endangering themselves to fines or lawsuits for mishandling tenant’s rights. It demonstrates to tenants that we take their rights seriously and gives them one more reason to remain living where they are. It also permits us to assert the landlord’s obligations – as well as the landlord’s rights – and to not shy away from inaccurate claims from renters regarding breaking the lease, for example.
In summary, CPM works diligently every day for you. By paying attention to the five key processes above, we help keep your tenant turnover as low as possible.
Find out more about what Columbia Property Management does for our rental owners: https://www.columbiapm.com/im-an-owner.
Scott Bloom, Owner and Senior Property Manager
Columbia Property Management
Scott Bloom founded Columbia Property Management (CPM) in 2012. And today, he is both the owner and senior property manager. CPM’s goal is to provide a powerful, personal level of service to our clients. We focus on smaller landlords, professionally managing their assets, so they can succeed by investing in rental real estate. Scott is an active member in multiple professional organizations including the National Association of Residential Property Managers.