Want Better Tenants? Be a Better Landlord!

Managing Real Estate Broker with Full Circle Property Management

I often here people say "I had an investment property but the tenants were bad so I sold" or "Why do my tenants leave every year?". So here is a thought for you:


Tenants don't lease to move every year, moving is a hassle! Tenants move because of repairs not made, crappy homes, mean landlords, etc. So how can you get some better tenants? Here are a few ideas:


  1. Fix your property! Respond when tenants call, and respond in a way that quickly solves the issue-no matter why or who caused it. If you don't care for your property I will bet you the tenants won't either. Would you live for 2 weeks with ants, leaky toilets, no hot water? Good tenants won't either and they don't forget when the lease expires.
  2. Invest in your property! Add a few extras, like flowers, tree trimming, new paint, clean the carpets, etc. Keeps your values up, your property worth more, and your tenants can see you appreciate them. Good tenants want to live in good properties.
  3. Stop raising the rent every year! Is that $15 per month worth the risk of changing tenants, turning units, new carpet and paint, and 60 days of vacancy? I bet not!
  4. Show you appreciate your tenants! Ever sent them a holiday card? Birthday greeting? Special Thank you note? Humanize yourself and your property and you will have better tenants.

The key to investment success is long term tenants!


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Harry F. D'Elia
Real Estate and Beyond, LLC - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

#4 is goes a long way with tenants. Great input for all owners to read.

Sep 24, 2016 12:54 AM #1
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi Dennis -- smart advice.  A happy tenant can be a property's best feature.   

Sep 24, 2016 02:33 AM #2
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Dennis- nice perspective from the point of view of a tenant.  Be a better landlord because most people don't rent to have to move again.  And, it's a lot easier on you, the landlord, to keep good tenants. 

Sep 24, 2016 03:50 AM #3
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

                                   thanks Dennis Swartz 

Sep 24, 2016 11:49 AM #4
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Dennis

These are excellent suggestions for landlords who might (and should) have an interest in maximizing the opportunities for their leased properties. I suspect most tenants appreciate being valued as tenants and having responsible landlords, and will be responsible.

Sep 25, 2016 02:33 AM #5
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

Excellent advice.  While we misjudged once and had a perfectly horrid tenant, subsequent tenants have been long, long time tenants.  And, yes, they get Christmas cards from us and we get cards from them.

One couple is quick to make minor repairs, knowing we will reimburse them;  one couple does dry wall and painting for a living, whenever another unit comes up for rent, we have them do any necessary repairs and they are always happy for the chance to earn some money.  

We keep vendors on speed dial should there be the need;  you are 100% on target with this...the nicer a unit is, too, typically the better the tenants will treat it. After all, it is their home. 

Sep 25, 2016 02:57 AM #6
Carol Williams
U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business. - Wenatchee, WA
"Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services"

Great post, Dennis.  Love the Title.  That says it all !

Sep 25, 2016 11:51 AM #7
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Thanks Dennis.  This is excellent advice that I wish more landlords would see.

Sep 25, 2016 09:26 PM #8
Jeanne Gregory
RE/MAX Southwest - Sugar Land, TX
The most important home I sell is YOURS!

Absolutely.  One of my tenants called on a Saturday night saying the garage door broke and her car was inside.  I called my garage door guy who happened to be in the neighborhood.  He rescued the car and fixed the door on Monday.  You have to take care of the repairs. 

Sep 26, 2016 12:08 AM #9
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Dennis Swartz - this blog post is praise-worthy! I hope it gets featured! Sentence after sentence I was saying, Yes! Yes! Yes! 

It's clear to me you know a lot about the Landlord/Tenant relationship! At the root of all problems is distrust. When a Landlord has integrity and gets human instead of greedy, the tenant is happy. Every Landlord should read this and live by your golden rules! If they did, there would be far less Landlord/Tenant disputes and misery. 


Sep 26, 2016 12:53 AM #10
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

If tenants have a great place to live, many will not leave.

Sep 26, 2016 09:44 AM #11
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Dennis Amen to this post, Diane and I had the best Landlord a 100 years ago in Boston, MA  he was the ideal landlord and we were the ideal tenants until we relocated to Los Angeles:))Endre

Sep 26, 2016 02:24 PM #12
Mike & Eve Alexander
Buyers Broker of Florida - Orlando, FL
Exclusively Representing ONLY Orlando Home Buyers

Dang, I am a good landlord...except for the card thing...

I don't want to be their best friend, I just want them to pay on time.

They do pay, I do fix quick, they all stay longer.


Sep 29, 2016 05:32 AM #13
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

This is very good advice to share with those who own rental properties.

Oct 30, 2016 09:07 PM #14
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Dennis Swartz

MBA, GRI...experience counts!
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