Article Categories

Survey Your Tenants: Business Intelligence

January 28, 2020

Tenant Satisfaction Surveys

There are a lot of reasons why surveying your tenants is a great idea. The end dollar value of tapping your tenant’s minds could be in the tens of thousands of dollars to your company.

Therefore spending time on this is a good investment. Regardless of how many doors you manage, surveys are a key tenant management technique. Like anything worthwhile, it takes a little skill.

Surveys are an excellent way to discover attitudes and opinions about their rental unit, building and neighborhood, lifestyle, and get feedback to help you plan for the future. Remember the adage — you manage people not real estate.

Getting Your Survey Set Up Properly

Yes, it’s called a tenant satisfaction survey, yet you’ll learn more than just their level of satisfaction (which you probably already know).  Alternatively, you might call it a property management improvement report, or a tenant experience survey to avoid polarizing their emotions and tainting the results.

Your stated purpose and word usage will affect how they feel about it and whether they’ll participate.

Screenshot courtesy of

A Great Business Intelligence Tool

The survey can be a key business intelligence tool if it’s thought through thoroughly. It can help identify units that need immediate inspection or potential revenue eating future vacancies.

The more information you have, the more in control you are of your property management performance. And the better able you are to engineer improved tenant satisfaction.

Your Survey Strategy

The survey strategy should ensure you do reach them because they’re busy.  The right email subject, at the right time of day, and ready and easy to click is important.  Otherwise, you’ll have few respondents.

Also, you’ll need to quickly get them relaxed and motivated to answer.

It will be easier if they trust you and feel valued. If there’s some alienation between your management office and them, you’ll need to ensure your request gives them hope of a better relationship — “please share your thoughts on your rental and how we’re doing to make it as good as possible.”

Your questions should make them feel at ease and that you sincerely want to hear their real thoughts.

When you’re taking on a new landlord portfolio or multifamily building, you’ll need to build trust anew.

The tough part of creating tenant satisfaction surveys is knowing what information you need to collect. And then to write questions that capture that info.

Let’s start with this list of info goals:

  • their level of contentment during the full year of 2019 (don’t ask for their current mood)
  • generally, what they don’t like and what’s wrong with their rental unit
  • what mechanical features need maintenance
  • how they feel about their neighbors and any trouble experienced
  • what they do like and what they hope for
  • do they like using your software’s tenant portal and your responsiveness?
  • what are their disappointments from first rental ad awareness to current time?
  • how they felt about the leasing manager?
  • was the rental process okay?
  • do they feel their rental unit is worth the money and where would they rather live?
  • what new amenities or services might be desirable to them?
  • do they feel safe and what would they like to see improved?
  • how can the online service platform be better?

Designing Great Questions

Professional surveyors hire psychologists to ask indirect type questions so the subject doesn’t know what’s really being asked. Kind of a sneaky approach you may not need to follow. As long as the tenant knows you’re sincere and are doing the best with what you have, they won’t feel resentment. Some will resent manipulative questions.

Your questions however, must get the answers you’re looking for. That’s why direct questions are often more effective.

Multiple Choice Questions:

Multiple choice questions can create very precise answers. For example:

Question: Were maintenance requests and work orders completed in a timely manner?

  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • Neutral
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree

Open Ended Questions:

Open Ended questions allow the tenant to freely discuss important issues and events and provide more info about their feelings and attitudes (how they express themselves). Only use these sparingly, because most tenants will not spend the time to answer them.

Question: Please explain any issues before and after your last maintenance was completed.

Yes or No Questions:

These force the tenant to make a decision one way or the other about an issue or group.

Question: Do you feel the property management team are doing a good job?

Post Survey Analysis

After you’ve determined what your property management pain points are, and what to ask your tenants, you can set your list of top questions. You’ll need to read and edit many times for coherence and tone. And if it sounds too obvious, nit picking, or not useful enough for the tenant, they may not participate.

You may be able to conduct your survey via your online property management software. If not, do the survey via  email or SurveyMonkey. or Sogosurvey. Very neat and tidy and users can answer them directly on their smartphones.

You’re asking your tenants for their valuable time, so an incentive can ensure more of them are motivated to make the effort. Offering a $20 gift coffee card upon completing the full survey is a great, immediate inducement.

Each year you conduct the survey, you’ll see any important changes in tenant sentiment and issues. These macro figures tell a lot about your management success. The details will help you pinpoint issues and resolve them. That should push your tenant sentiment index much higher.

Surveys are tools to get more done. Try one and see what you learn. The outcome might be far better than your realize now.

Property Management Software

Try ManageCasa and discover how property management software creates solid business value.


More How to Tips for Landlords: Best Property Management System | Property Management Companies | How to Find Good Tenants | Sources of Good Tenants | How to Choose Good Tenants | How to Keep Good Tenants | Find Best Tenants with Good Rental Ads | Screen Tenants with Social Media | Tenant Onboarding | What Good Tenants Want |  How to Get Good Tenants to Renew their Leases | Screen for Good Tenants |  How to be a Good Tenant | Best Landlord Software

Get all the latest articles and information via email:

    Thanks for your subscription!

    You have been added to the ManageCasa mailing list.

    Sign Up FREE