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How to Collect Renter Feedback (and Why You Should)

If you want to boost renter retention and become a better landlord and property manager, it’s important to collect feedback from the people renting your properties. Collecting renter feedback can be confusing and time consuming, but it’s much easier if you have a plan going in.

Why Renter Feedback Is Important

Renter feedback is valuable for several reasons.

·       Points of concern. For starters, this is an opportunity for your renters to bring up points of concern they have. If there’s something wrong with their property, if they have trouble making payments through your platform, or if they have major communication issues, this is their chance to vent their frustrations and motivate positive change.

·       Potential areas of improvement. Renters will also be quick to point out areas that could potentially be improved. If they’re dissatisfied with these conditions, if they have ideas for upgrades that could be made, or if they need an overhaul to the way you manage your property, they can come to you with those ideas. If you remain open-minded, you can utilize those ideas to make your property management even better.

·       Shorter vacancies. As long as you’re taking renter feedback seriously and you’re implementing the ideas brought to your attention, you’ll probably see shorter vacancies. If and when a tenant does leave, your changes will make the property more attractive to prospective renters.

·       Higher renter retention. That said, you probably won’t have as many vacancies because your renters will want to stay put. Your surveys and interactions will demonstrate that you care about your renters, and if you address feedback appropriately, you’ll do even more to boost retention rates.

Tips for Collecting Better Renter Feedback

So what steps can you take to collect better renter feedback?

·       Collect feedback early and often. Start collecting renter feedback early and keep collecting it on a frequent basis. Even when you’re issuing initial tours of the property, ask some thoughtful questions to determine what your renters are thinking. Similarly, even if you don’t hear anything from your renters for a while, it’s a good idea to check in and see how things are going. Interactions once a month, or at least a few times a year, are indispensable.

·       Remain objective. Try to remain as objective and unbiased as possible. Cognitive biases aren’t possible to eliminate entirely, but you should try to see renter feedback with an open and clear mind. This is especially true when your renters are criticizing something you’ve done or complaining about some aspect of the property; it’s tempting to take some of this feedback personally or get defensive and ignore its main points.

·       Collect both formal and informal feedback. Formal and informal feedback both have disadvantages and advantages, so try to utilize both. For example, you can have a casual conversation with your renter to determine how they’re feeling and what they think about the property, but you can also follow up with a formal survey.

·       Collect both quantitative and qualitative data. Quantitative data is extremely useful for determining averages and making precise calculations. But qualitative data may be even better for helping to understand the context of your renters’ opinions. Make sure your surveys are designed to capture both quantitative and qualitative data. You can start this by asking questions that require a straightforward or numerical response; for example, you can ask renters, like “how satisfied are you with this property, on a scale of 1 to 5?” Then, make sure you follow up with more open-ended questions, like “if you could change anything on this property, what would it be?”

·       Allow renters to leave anonymous feedback. Some people are going to be reluctant to share their opinions with you, either because they don’t want to start a debate or because they feel the threat of possible retaliation. For that reason, it’s important to collect at least some of your renter feedback anonymously. Give your renters the option to submit their thoughts without identifying themselves; you’ll probably get much more candor in the responses.

·       Offer incentives to improve response rates. Initially, you may struggle to get reasonable response rates. If you don’t have enough feedback coming in, you won’t have enough data to act on. That’s why it’s a good idea to offer incentives to improve your response rates; for example, you can distribute gift cards, gift baskets, or even discounts on rent to renters who complete your surveys.

·       Look for social media mentions. Don’t rely exclusively on responses to prompts you’ve generated; in addition, it’s important to stay aware of social media interactions. Are people mentioning your property management company on social media? Are your renters complaining about the conditions? These can be valuable opportunities to learn from renter feedback as well.

With better renter feedback in hand, you’ll be able to positively change not only your property but your approach to property management as well. Ultimately, that’s going to mean happier renters, higher rates of retention, and shorter vacancies – so you can generate more revenue.

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