These last months I have read a lot of grousing from landlords about “bad tenants”. Okay, not everyone should be a landlord–read “My Rentals are making me crazy” from John_in_NC. This is a great thread about growing into something else.
But if you ARE a landlord, what are you doing about your “bad tenants?” I have read that you complaining landlords have responded to your bad tenants by removing closet doors (now they won’t break), painting oak floors (no upkeep), even removing garage doors (no place to hang out).
Unless you have consciously decided: I AM ONLY GOING TO RENT TO THE LOWEST INCOME PEOPLE IN MY TOWN–I think this is wrong-headed. If it is your business plan, okay, good. If you otherwise just keep decreasing the amenities in response to the current tenant, it’s short-sighted.
What about if you STOPPED and analyzed your BEST tenants? Who are they? How can you get more of them?
Let’s just say that you discover that little old Church ladies are your best tenants. They stay. They don’t do drugs or drive-bys. They pay the rent. Now how are you going to keep them? How are you going to get more Church ladies?
This is where you go talk to them, “Miz Jones, you’ve been here a whole year and you have been a great tenant. Is there anything that you need?”
“Oh, you would like some closet doors because your clothes are getting all dusty? Sure, I can do that. Say, I have a vacancy coming up next door–do you have a friend who might like to look at that apartment? I can make it especially nice for her.”
Now you put up ads in the Senior Center and the Church bulletin board. You actively go after those ladies and YOU MAKE THEM HAPPY.
There have been threads here explaining the very best, most appealing paint colors. Colors that sell flippers’ houses! Have you tried painting a wall or two in those colors in your vacant apartments? Or are you still over-spraying that 5-gallon bucket of Landlord Navajo White that marks your unit as humdrum, cheap and ordinary? Boring, unappealing, uninviting, cold? Stuck in a rut?
Landlords, you can offer your tenants only TWO of the THREE–quality housing, quality service, or low prices. Tenants will accept crappy places for low rent. Tenants will pay more for good places. If you upgrade your apartments, one-by-one, you will upgrade your tenant pool. As for me, I’ll give the service and quality for higher rents.
Would I have rented a place with no closet doors, no curtains or blinds, painted Navajo? Only if it was REAL CHEAP. I would rather have paid more for clean, cute, charming, unique.
What about a challenge? Try upgrading and schmoozing your tenants in one small building. Plant grass. Trees! Flowers. Buy a hose. New trash can. Fancy metal house numbers ordered (cheaply enough) from the internet. Paint the mailboxes. Paint the front doors. Fence the yard. Rake the gravel. Look at that building with a critical eye to details. Pick up trash and get it clean.
Do what FDjake and NC John did in marketing a vacant commercial building, only do it to your “bad tenant” building. Put lipstick on that pig. And a nice dress too. It WILL pay off.