A good property manager knows that keeping vacancy rates down is key to the landlord’s and the company’s financial success. Unit turnovers cause extra work, delays and lost revenue. In many cases these losses are preventable.

Here are my top 7 strategies for reducing vacancy loss in rental properties:

1. Know your market 
What is the local renting market doing? Are rents increasing or decreasing? Are vacancy rates on the rise or decreasing? What type of tenants might be interested? Properties near universities tend to attract students while properties near a hospital might attract doctors and nurses. Know your market to attract the right tenant at the right rental rate.

2. Advertise 
A strong advertising campaign can make all the difference. Many property managers only advertise on their company website. With the abundance of rental advertising sites, for sale sites, blogs, industry sites and newspapers; there’s plenty of choice. Where to advertise your rental property can be overwhelming. My favourites are Craigslist, Kijiji, and company website; and depending on your market, a local buy sell site. If your property is near a university, try the local student paper.

3. Good tenant screening 
Good tenant screening means having a great application form with all the details you need to select the right tenant. Do a credit check and a reference check of prior tenancies. Tenants that pay their bills typically pay their rent and are willing to provide excellent references.

4. Build better relationships with your tenants 
This should really be number 1 on the list. Having good tenants’ relations means that tenants stay longer, are generally happier and are more likely to maintain their property and pay their rent on time. Your tenants are also a good lead on finding new prospective tenants. Good tenants like them. Building better relationships with your tenants is one of the least expensive, easiest to implement strategies to successfully manage your property.

5. Quick unit turnover 
I often see rental property s sit vacant while the property manager spends a month or two or more renovating between tenancies. Managing your trades’ people is the key. Once the tenant has given their notice, I suggest doing a pre-inspection with the tenant. This helps the tenant get ready to meet their obligation and it gives you, the property manager a chance to plan for any routine maintenance. Most routine maintenance like carpet cleaning, painting and flooring can be done in the turnover time.

6. Maintain your property 
Maintain your property. The cost of deferred maintenance can be high. Units can get mold and attract pests. Equipment can breakdown causing tenants to be unhappy and want to move.  Where landlords maintain their property, tenants are more likely to do so as well. A well maintained property will always attract the best tenants, be less work to maintain and be more profitable in the long term.

7. Add value 
Add value wherever you can. Often little things like flower baskets at the entrance, letting tenants move in a few days early, holding parcels at the front desk, giving adequate major property maintenance and talking to your tenants can make a big difference. How aggravating to come home and find out the parking garage is closed for painting for three days and you have a car load of groceries. When property managers approach their role with that of enhancing the value of the property, maintaining the highest standards, respecting tenants’ rights and continuous improvement; they are bound to be successful.

Keeping vacancy loss to a minimum is one of the easiest way to increase your company profits and the landlords NOI (Net Operating Income). Implementing even a few of the strategies I have listed here can make a big difference. Try out some of these strategies and see what works for you. The important thing is to take action.

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Mary-Jean Jacobson

Mary-Jean Jacobson

MJ is the new Managing Broker & Owner of Pace Realty Corporation.

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