I must improve
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I must improve (by Sisco [MO]) Jun 11, 2018 12:24 PM
       I must improve (by Vee [OH]) Jun 11, 2018 12:27 PM
       I must improve (by NE [PA]) Jun 11, 2018 12:30 PM
       I must improve (by S i d [MO]) Jun 11, 2018 1:07 PM
       I must improve (by NE [PA]) Jun 11, 2018 1:11 PM
       I must improve (by Sisco [MO]) Jun 11, 2018 1:16 PM
       I must improve (by Jeffrey [VA]) Jun 11, 2018 1:23 PM
       I must improve (by NE [PA]) Jun 11, 2018 1:23 PM
       I must improve (by Jeffrey [VA]) Jun 11, 2018 1:37 PM
       I must improve (by plenty [MO]) Jun 11, 2018 2:50 PM
       I must improve (by Tom [FL]) Jun 11, 2018 3:34 PM
       I must improve (by RathdrumGal [ID]) Jun 11, 2018 3:38 PM
       I must improve (by Sisco [MO]) Jun 11, 2018 6:31 PM
       I must improve (by #22 [MO]) Jun 11, 2018 8:59 PM
       I must improve (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Jun 11, 2018 9:20 PM
       I must improve (by Sisco [MO]) Jun 12, 2018 5:06 AM
       I must improve (by NE [PA]) Jun 12, 2018 5:39 AM
       I must improve (by Michelle [MI]) Jun 12, 2018 7:20 PM
       I must improve (by cjo'h [CT]) Jun 13, 2018 10:13 AM
       I must improve (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Jun 13, 2018 8:30 PM
       I must improve (by Andrew, Canada [ON]) Jun 14, 2018 5:14 AM
       I must improve (by dan [OR]) Jun 14, 2018 7:14 AM
       I must improve (by mike [CA]) Jun 14, 2018 7:49 AM
       I must improve (by Eric [MI]) Jun 14, 2018 10:28 AM
       I must improve (by Sorta Blonde [CA]) Jun 14, 2018 12:30 PM
       I must improve (by NE [PA]) Jun 14, 2018 12:59 PM
       I must improve (by Sorta Blonde [CA]) Jun 14, 2018 1:51 PM
       I must improve (by Adele [FL]) Jun 15, 2018 5:41 AM
       I must improve (by jeanie [NY]) Jun 15, 2018 7:25 AM
       I must improve (by Robin [WI]) Jun 15, 2018 8:48 AM

I must improve (by Sisco [MO]) Posted on: Jun 11, 2018 12:24 PM

Today I discovered that a tenant of 6 years moved out.

No notice from them. House was left in ok/fair condition, albeit not move in ready.

6 years ago, I was using a lease the converted to month to month term after the initial 12 month term. I also should say that during these past 6 years I have received very few service requests. I spent less than $500 on service for the duration.

Obviously, I am not complaining. I am mindful that I didn’t do one thing to encourage them to stay longer.

How should I have dealt with these good tenants?


I must improve (by Vee [OH]) Posted on: Jun 11, 2018 12:27 PM

Prolly should deal with them the same as the others, add up damages and deduct from damage deposit - if not enough bill them, if enough return with company check to each on the lease using court approved delivery or USPS green card. --76.188.xxx.xx

I must improve (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Jun 11, 2018 12:30 PM

Besides no notice, I'd say your leaps and bounds ahead of most already.

It wasn't an eviction and it isn't trashed. Was rent paid to the day they left or the day you think they left?

For me here in PA, that's an automatic loss of SD for them.

I have only had one tenant skip out with no notice. Do you send monthly bills? Is there anything you do regularly to remind them of your presence? --174.201.x.xxx

I must improve (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Jun 11, 2018 1:07 PM

A 6 year tenancy that ended relatively amicably (i.e. without eviction, house left okay) is nothing to be too disappointed in. My average tenancy hovers between 3-4 years, so anything above that with no drama and minimal service requests is an 8 on a scale of 10. Yes, notice would have been nice so you could have turned it over faster, but let's celebrate what was good first!

So...next time. I've been thinking this since the Convention when Jeffrey talked about the 10 key concepts every land lord should be mastering and integrating into systems. One area is "tenant retention" and I have few things going on in this area and nothing systematic.

I recall his "gold star" program from a couple years ago. Not only encourages lease compliance (another one of the 10 key concepts), but also keeps you engaged with the tenants. How about a quarterly mailing/emailing/text reminding them of the existence of your own "gold star" program, what their status is in terms of qualification, what sort of "rewards" they have to anticipate for continuing to stay with you and abide by the lease? Doesn't have to be a big deal, but something should regularly communicate where they are, how to stay there or improve if needed, and what's the motivation to keep doing it. Maybe repainting a room after 2 years. Maybe a ceiling fan after 1 year (unless you hate those like I do). Perhaps an upgraded ceiling light fixture...

Something like that.

Some folk just leave...not much you can do. --173.19.x.xxx

I must improve (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Jun 11, 2018 1:11 PM

Sid hit in on his last sentence. --174.201.xx.xxx

I must improve (by Sisco [MO]) Posted on: Jun 11, 2018 1:16 PM

I had Jeffrey’s retention ideas in mind too. The lack of communication with my resident during their stay is weighing on my mind. What do you do to maintain communication with GOOD tenants? --72.172.xxx.xx

I must improve (by Jeffrey [VA]) Posted on: Jun 11, 2018 1:23 PM

Sisco, if I really hear you, your big question is focused, not so much on how much of the deposit you'll be keeping. Instead you are asking a far bigger business question that will greatly affect future success and profits. I think you are asking what "proactive" steps could you have taken that would have helped extend the time these residents stayed with you even longer.

If that is your question I applaud you on taking a look inward at your procedures and recognizing that you can indeed improve. While the average landlord would be happy on how you "lucked" out and that resident stayed as long as they did. I'm glad for you that they did. But more importantly, I am so impressed that you don't want to count on luck for you to be successful moving forward.

There are many proactive steps, including sending out a simple appreciation note annually or offering a choice of home improvements as an anniversary gift. The truth is that since you are now aware and "looking" for ways to encourage residents to stay longer, you will be amazed at how many ideas will come to you as you see successful businesses all around showing appreciation to their customers.

Were you at this year's convention? I shared that the first level of success as a landlord is becoming AWARE of what you need to know to be more successful. Most average landlords never become aware that resident retention is an area where we as landlords need to improve on the part we can play to increase it. Congrats on starting the climb to greater business success. --100.4.xx.xxx

I must improve (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Jun 11, 2018 1:23 PM

I send monthly bills and I also send flyers advertising available units with a $250 reward for referrals. It keeps me in touch.

I cartainly don't approach it from a "Hey, how ya doin?", standpoint. --174.201.xx.xxx

I must improve (by Jeffrey [VA]) Posted on: Jun 11, 2018 1:37 PM

I was writing my response before seeing your follow-up comment above. And I'm glad to see that you were indeed asking about the bigger picture of improving resident retention.

I should add that as you consider ideas to implement, the key is look to "systematically" implement and make contact at least 3 or 4 different times during the course of the year. Even having someone stop by the resident's for a "courtesy" service/preventive maintenance check once or twice a year can count as a contact. You show that you appreciate them as a customer and it can also help with improving resident performance as you check on how they are taking care of your property. --100.4.xx.xxx

I must improve (by plenty [MO]) Posted on: Jun 11, 2018 2:50 PM

Not sure you could offer them anything as they did not include you in their decision making. Wish them well. Carry on. --99.203.xx.xxx

I must improve (by Tom [FL]) Posted on: Jun 11, 2018 3:34 PM

The factor that I see Sisco of MO recognized he did not visit the unit over the 6 years. Sisco correct me if i am wrong.

It's not all about collecting monthly rent with the HOPES of long term retention. PLUS updating the unit while tenant is occupying the unit is a win win for the landlord. MUCH LOWER turnover costs.

What condition was the carpeting and other flooring in the unit prior to move in was it new? or was it several years old? It may be time to clean it or replace the flooring due to normal wear and tear.

What was the condition of the walls do they need painted? That being said painting while a tenant is in the unit can be a double edge sword. Tenant may agree for you to paint the unit while they are there HOWEVR If the paint used has any odor; tenants will object to the paint odor.

Are there any other updates that would improve the unit? Painting kitchen cabinets and vanities? Updated the cabinet hardware? New countertops? Light fixture updates? Paint the basement? What are the condition of the appliances? Should you consider updating OR spray the appliances with appliance spray paint. Does the basement need a facelift? Paint the basement walls? Paint the basement concrete floor? IF there is a smell of mildew odor in the basement consider buying a dehumidifier for the basement.

After 6 years the updating becomes more costly because there is more things to do after the tenant has moved. When you do 4 or more visits a year you may see things that need updating!!!


I must improve (by RathdrumGal [ID]) Posted on: Jun 11, 2018 3:38 PM

I would send them a handwritten note thanking them for their business over the last 6 years along with their SD refund. You never know -- they might end up not liking their new place and want to rent from you again, or more likely refer a similarly responsible person to you. --98.146.xxx.xxx

I must improve (by Sisco [MO]) Posted on: Jun 11, 2018 6:31 PM

Clearly, I should have been more pro active. It is time to implement Jeffrey’s resident rewards program.


I must improve (by #22 [MO]) Posted on: Jun 11, 2018 8:59 PM

Rewards programs might help with retention.

I'd suggest a lease that autorenews for the next year instead of month to month. Of course, month to month is an option, but at a big premium. --173.24.xxx.xxx

I must improve (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Posted on: Jun 11, 2018 9:20 PM


Great post.

Any idea why they left?

Did tney drop,off keys or did you habe to do a drive by?

Not to hammer, with ZT we would have known sooner.

BRAD --68.50.xxx.xxx

I must improve (by Sisco [MO]) Posted on: Jun 12, 2018 5:06 AM

No communication at all. --72.172.xxx.xx

I must improve (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Jun 12, 2018 5:39 AM

Brad, how does ZT work with a no notice move out? --50.107.xxx.xxx

I must improve (by Michelle [MI]) Posted on: Jun 12, 2018 7:20 PM

I have found ways to contact good tenants in a friendly way at least twice a year. I send a reminder to change the smoke detector batteries at the Fall-Back time change and usually make a plan to drop off enough batteries. I contact them again in the spring and schedule a quick check on downspout and eave troughs for the spring thaw and change the humidifier pad (or other similar item). I write these costs off.

I frame it as my visit helps them out in some way. But it really just gives me a chance to poke around and have some friendly conversation with the tenant so I can catch things like news of a new job or problems that make good tenants leave. --67.177.xxx.xx

I must improve (by cjo'h [CT]) Posted on: Jun 13, 2018 10:13 AM

Sisco,the fact they didn't see you for 6 years is probably the reason they were there so long.They don't need you poking around in their life any more than you want them in yours.as for installing a fan,or a light fixture,these are things that should have been there before they moved in.......................charlie........................................................ --174.199.x.xxx

I must improve (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Posted on: Jun 13, 2018 8:30 PM


With Zero Tolerance we send a 3 day text on the 2nd. If no response we do an occupancy check and would have known tney were gone.

When good payers don’t pay we start by checking utilities over the phone then do an occupancy check immediately.

They might have already been gone for weeks.

BRAD --68.50.xxx.xxx

I must improve (by Andrew, Canada [ON]) Posted on: Jun 14, 2018 5:14 AM

While I agree its important to keep in contact with the tenant and keep an eye on the property, in ontario long term tenants are detrimental to successful landlords.

This is because private rentals are under strict rent control and the rent can only be raised to market value when the tenats decides they want to vacate. Leases automatically renew, it is not an option for the landlord.

In addition the annual, allowable rent increases are miniscule, usually around 1 percent.

Thus the longer a tenant stays in a rental, the further behind the landlord fails in terms of keeping up with operating costs and inflation.


I must improve (by dan [OR]) Posted on: Jun 14, 2018 7:14 AM

If your property wasn't hurt, I would say that the first duty is to make sure that any and all property deposits that were in your agreement are returned. If in fact they should receive them, and not they should get a accounting.

I had one tenant when she moved in I told her that were two things that she had to do when she moved there, number one was stay there for the rest of her life number two never have any parties unless she invited me and all the neighbors. Unfortunately, she did pass thankfully not in the unit, but, by not enforcing my rental agreement and checking the property I did have to spend her security deposit cleaning up nicotine.

Now all of my properties are non-smoking, and I pretty much stay out of my tenants life until they need me.

A few months ago I had a renter that had an option contact me to tell me that his wife left him and that he was going to turn the property back to me.

Even though I had more of his money, we had a understanding that he would make sure the property was in shipshape upon their turning it back to me.

He did okay and I elected to sell the property, simply reducing my portfolio and carrying back owner financing for a nonowner occupant with a very large sizable down payment.

Please make sure that you abide by your landlord-tenant laws and make sure that you get your deposit accounting to your residents, and if it doesn't get to them and it gets returned it to you. (I would actually send multiple notifications)

I typically use postal form 3817 from the U.S. Postal Service. This is proof that the notice was sent and on the date that it was sent.

Then when you receive that back undeliverable do not open it. Simply put that in your folder for those tenants and that can be your closure.

Dan --71.36.xxx.xx

I must improve (by mike [CA]) Posted on: Jun 14, 2018 7:49 AM

they come and go. you got paid. six years is a good run and the laws of your state will determine the deposit accounting and return. treat them well. no one leaves a six year tenancy in move in condition...it's not reasonable to expect that.

dan (OR) is the only other landie except me that uses USPS 3817's...they're the best $1.50 you can spend --76.176.xxx.xxx

I must improve (by Eric [MI]) Posted on: Jun 14, 2018 10:28 AM

In my lease I do a one year lease then month to month. Lease is valid until written notice is given 30 days of leaving. --68.40.xxx.xxx

I must improve (by Sorta Blonde [CA]) Posted on: Jun 14, 2018 12:30 PM

It's always hard when a Tenant leaves. I'm dealing with a very special case right now. When I moved into my current house (40 years now), I was a Renter. 20 years later, I owned the house and the 2 houses behind it on the property. I became an Instant Landlord when my Landlady sold me the property after her husband passed away.

My 'middle' Tenants have lived there for 30 years now and been my Tenants for 20 of those (to my 40). They are relatives of the original owners and just this week told me they are moving back to their 'home country'. I will miss them terribly.

Repairs and upgrades over the 20 years I was the Landlord were costly sometimes, but necessary. The Tenants never asked for much and actually did inside painting and put in carpeting where there was only old asphalt tile floors.

I redid the bathrooms and roof when I took possession of the place and so we lived happily for all these years. Now, I'm faced with losing my friends and returning the Security Deposit. It's a Bittersweet time but the best part is they will get ALL the deposit back. It's a whopping total of ONE hundred dollars. Yeah, I don't plan on keeping any of it.

The downside is rehabbing the place which will probably mean upgrading the kitchen and bath and doing a lot of painting and yard work. Then the daunting task of finding new Tenants who will be as quiet, and considerate as these lovely people. I don't think I'll ever be as lucky. --174.66.xxx.xxx

I must improve (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Jun 14, 2018 12:59 PM

Sorta Blonde, after 20 years and good payments and care, I'd send them a little more than $100 for sure and wish them well. --50.32.xxx.xx

I must improve (by Sorta Blonde [CA]) Posted on: Jun 14, 2018 1:51 PM

Read my mind NE. I'm not going to even worry about them cleaning or removing all their belongings. They are moving out of the US and can't take most of the bigger items. I've told them not to worry about any of it. I'll dispose of anything that's left. It's a rare case when someone stays this long.

And Sisco, whatever reason your Tenants are leaving, probably has nothing to do with what you did or didn't do. Sounds like you really care about people. Good luck.


I must improve (by Adele [FL]) Posted on: Jun 15, 2018 5:41 AM

I agree with cjo'h, tenants really don't want you around. I inspect at least one a year,

twice maybe, and I am around throughout the year checking on the places doing exterior work and when doing a move out. Sometimes I run into a tenant while I am there ( multifamily units)and have a friendly conversation. I do send Christmas cards which is always nice and appreciated. The only bad thing about long term tenants, and I have asked a few to move out because of this, is that some people collect so much stuff and they don't move furniture to clean walls... Florida is a strange animal, and you never want mildew to build up anywhere or tenant wants to yell " black mold, my health is affected". 2-3 years is what I prefer for length of stay on any apartment. I have had the same place rented 4 years up to 11 years even, though. Also,not much anymore, but on occasion a long term tenant would begin to get an attitude and think they owned the place. Agreed with above also.... if you have an apartment and think ceiling fans are the way to go, have the fan there when you rent the place, not as an incentive one year later to keep them or to reward them for staying. All good posts! --107.72.xxx.xx

I must improve (by jeanie [NY]) Posted on: Jun 15, 2018 7:25 AM

We're in NY (in the country...not in the city). We have duplexes and stand alone homes (not apartment complexes...and not new either). Our tenants light up when we say that we would like to give them a "gift" and offer them a few upgrades to choose from...Or we simply state that we are would like to replace... for example...the stove or flooring, clean the carpets or paint a room for them. This occurs after an annual inspection but rent must have been paid up to date each month during the year.

It is so much nicer for us to do this during their tenancy because ...half the time we want to upgrade things anyway and doing it while the tenant is in the home saves us time that we need to prep the place for showing to a new tenant. AND it's one less job on our plate at the last minute when time lost in repairing and sprucing up is lost revenue! (Also good when we need additional tax deductions)

This past December we had a tenant move out...They were not as neat and clean as we had hoped. We wanted to put in a new floor in the kitchen , bathroom and mudroom but didn't think that the tenant would keep it nice nor did they deserve any upgrades. Well, we got lucky as the new chosen tenant didn't mind waiting an extra week for all the work to be done before they moved in...AND they loved my choice of new flooring for the kitchen and bath (grey wood plank laminate...washable and great with small spills) So they were thrilled with the changes and actually stayed the extra week with family that it took us to get the home ready. So far great tenants! Maybe seeing the before and after is helping them appreciate what they have and shows that this landlord wants them to be happy in their stay with us.

ps...While the work was being done on the 1 st apartment, the tenant next door (duplex) was invited in to see the new flooring. I will be replacing their mud room floor this weekend! Again...Happy tenants I'm sure...because they said that they're happy prior to the reno. This will be their 4th year on a month to month and the only rent increase was when they added a pet!

Sooooo....bottom line that's been working for us is...ask them if they "would like" such and such (what you're willing to do or give) to maintain YOUR investment and their happiness there. And 2...I highly recommend annual inspections...to touch base and say hello...see if there is work needed (WE put the batteries in the smoke detectors or it doesn't get done!!!) AND then do something nice IF WARRENTED... It's working for us! Good luck... --24.193.xxx.xxx

I must improve (by Robin [WI]) Posted on: Jun 15, 2018 8:48 AM

I do the maintenance inspections myself, and try to do the when the tenants are around. I budget in time to chat. I compliment them on their decor, or the sparklies on their nails, or on how nice the yard is. My goal is to help them feel like they're a person, not just a contract. That's how I find out that LaShawnda is probably going to have to break her contract early because her kids didn't get the open enrollment she was hoping for, or Bobbi wants to go MTM because the noise from the street is just too loud and she wants to buy a house in a quieter neighborhood.

I feel it helps a lot when things go awry. It took three days to replace a furnace this winter (chimney liner needed to be rebuilt too). I checked in with the tenant to explain the delay and she was very understanding. No request for a hotel room. :)

I also budget in an upgrade every year. "You're getting a new garage door for Christmas!" That way I maintain the value of the property as I go, instead of letting it decay into a Roy-style house. --204.210.xxx.xxx

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