Resident Retention – How to Be the Best Landlord Ever

by Crystal Attwood, Olympus Property Management

The words "Landlording 101" on a blackboard in chalk

Whether you own/operate two or two-thousand rental units, successful resident retention drives your business. The key to excellent resident retention is knowing what your residents’ value and desire and then fulfilling those needs. A happy, satisfied renter will be less motivated to look for a home elsewhere.

Determining what is important to your residents begins with regularly asking them for feedback: how are we doing? what can we do better? how satisfied were you with our response to your service request? Asking for their input and opinions is the most impactful way to keep residents happy and willing to stay. Feedback is valuable whether good or bad.

Below are resident retention industry best practices:

  1. Easy Leasing/Move-in Process
    1. Use software to help residents get their utilities set-up
    2. Provide first dinner or welcome card with restaurant gift card
    3. Bottled water already chilling in the fridge
    4. Toilet paper provided
  1. Bring Back the New Home Feeling
    1. Hire a maid service as a renewal reward/incentive
    2. Offer touch up paint, carpet cleanings, or color changes
  1. Create A Sense of Ownership
    1. Offer upgrades as a reward for residency (ceiling fans, appliances, etc.)
  1. Be available, reliable, responsive
    1. Offer office hours (time frame that you can be available to residents for questions, concerns, service needs, and follow up)
    2. Be prompt in responding to service needs
    3. Offer a monthly or quarterly check-in
    4. Following up on service needs promptly
  1. Embrace Technology
    1. Using software programs that streamline processes (online service requests, online rent payment, etc.)
    2. Smart locks, smart thermostats, smart lights
    3. Be open to communicating via text, email, apps, etc.
  1. Just because or for an occasion gift
    1. Birthday card with a Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, etc. gift card
    2. Holiday gift basket
  1. Creating a Sense of Community
    1. Events
    2. Social mixers
    3. Resident nights at local restaurants
  1. Resident Appreciation Week
    1. Spend the week showering residents with appreciation through events, gifts, food, etc.
  2. Renewal Contests/Drawings (Example: win a TV)
  3. Resident retention is every employee’s job

The above are not every single retention tip floating around out there, but perhaps this list will get you to think about ways to improve your retention efforts.


Crystal Attwood is a Training Specialist at Olympus Property Management.