Steps to Improving Renter Retention

Improving Renter Retention

As a property owner, your passive income is dependent on tenants paying their rent. If there are no tenants, you aren’t getting paid. This means you put a lot of time and effort into attracting quality people. However, convincing a tenant to sign a lease with you is only half of the battle. Once they’re in, you’ve got to keep them there. Renter turnover is a costly cycle. While there are some instances you can’t control, like a tenant getting a job in another city or needing more space because they’re expanding their family, there is a lot you do have control of. Read on for some tips on improving renter retention.

Clear Communication

This first step is so simple that it’s often overlooked. By providing clear communication, you are reducing the risk that your tenant grows frustrated or upset because they feel they are being left in the dark. For example, let’s say you need to enter the unit for regular maintenance on their furnace. Give ample notice of when you will have the technician arrive, and try to narrow it down to a relatively short window of time. Let your tenant know if they need to be present or if you will be present during the inspection. And finally, ask if they have any concerns. Your tenant will feel as if their time and space is being respected and that you are truly listening to them. This is an amenity that all renters value, arguably more so than a private gym or a balcony. 

Excellent Responsiveness

Listening and communicating is only part of the equation. When something needs to be done, it should be done in a timely manner. For landlords, this requires a multi-level approach:

  • Your tenant should be able to contact you in at least two different ways. This could be in the form of a phone number, an email, or some other messaging method. Consider also having both daytime and emergency contact information available. 
  • Pro-Tip: If staying on top of tenant concerns is too much for one person, especially in multi-unit properties, hire a third-party property management company like us to be the main point of contact. This gives your tenants a whole team they can reach out to when they need it.
  • You should have built solid relationships with your vendors. You won’t be able to do every task on your own, so when your tenant calls you with a problem you can’t personally handle, you need to know exactly who to reach out to. These relationships mean faster response times and a higher quality of work, keeping your tenants happy. 

Lease Renewal Incentives

When a tenant’s lease is up for renewal, adding in an incentive can be enough to keep them in their unit if they were on the fence about leaving. Small cash bonuses, gift cards, or a slight rent reduction is of relatively minimal cost to you but shows that you care about your tenants. Another creative incentive is to give them the choice between a handful of property upgrades in their unit. Consider options like new appliances, flooring, or window treatments. These are renovations that tenants rarely, if ever, get to have a hand in, so it truly demonstrates how much you value their opinion and their tenancy. If this person left the unit, these may be upgrades you would have to make anyways, so keep that in mind when crunching the numbers. 


At the end of the day, improving renter retention doesn’t have to mean devising complex schemes or tricking your tenants into staying. The strategies listed above are all about creating a positive and healthy relationship with the people who call your units home. If you’re overwhelmed at the thought of developing or implementing effective retention procedures tailored to your unique situation, you can call in backup from the professionals. Our team at GIL Property Management specializes in customized solutions for rental properties in Calgary. Contact us today to get started and find out how we can help you!