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Rental Vacancies and Why Tenants Leave

October 14, 2020

Survey Shows What’s Behind Tenant Turnover

Inner-city landlords in the US, UK, Australia and Germany are seeing higher vacancies and reduced rents as renters flee the cities for more space in suburbs and other small cities and towns.

A desire for lower rents and more spacious living is encouraging many tenants to decide not to renew their apartment leases.  For landlords, the issue is a big concern and they’re scrambling to create new ways and perhaps new value to help re-sign tenants to new leases.

Some are focusing on cutting costs and services, but this disappoints premium quality tenants, which could result in the best not renewing their leases.  Add to that the usual dissatisfaction some tenants feel about their building, unit, neighbors, or neighborhood and you’re left with a serious business issue you must deal with.

Let’s delve into the reasons why tenants leave.

Caring, Clear Communications Might Be Key

Another group of renters leaves due to poor communications. They might have ideal living situations yet poor relations and communications with landlords and property managers make them uncomfortable and resentful.

They’ve lost that loving feeling when it comes to your rental.

You might be surprised to hear what renters really do think, and what future they’re picturing for themselves.  All of these issues and life changes will determine the length of their residency.

This is one of the advantages of rental property software, as you can increase communication to help you understand tenant issues and intentions.

Top Reasons Tenants Leave

  1. rent too high and they can’t afford their current situation and expenses
  2. apartment too cramped and they need more space (work at home, or family changes)
  3. employment change (lost job, looking to move to a new city for jobs)
  4. breaking lease because of Covid 19 shutdowns
  5. fear of contracting Covid 19 in dense, poorly disinfected buildings
  6. problems with neighbors
  7. desire to live elsewhere in their city
  8. divorce or separation
  9. the building or neighborhood is no longer functional for them (restaurants, theaters closed)
  10. they’re buying a home

Some of these factors are manageable and some less so. You still have the power to shape your occupancy rates so let’s look at the key factors you can control.

Are Your Tenants Having a Good Rental Experience?

Being too business-like, expedient, neglectful or careless might make them feel unwanted and disrespected.  Many people are vulnerable to feeling that way, even though you did not intend it.  Certainly delayed, indifferent, and curt communications will increase tenant discomfort. Tenants often listen to your voice to hear your intent toward them.

And if you’re not getting tenant feedback on a regular basis, you won’t know why they’re upset, suspicious, and ready to leave. And you won’t be able to deliver the reassurance before they make that decision.  It could be tenant success is actually in your hands via good communications — making them feel they belong and respected.

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It’s a good time to learn more about what tenants want, and how your communication strategy could be improved. Studies show it could generate a significant benefit to your bottom line.

Survey of Tenants Offers Insights

According to J Turner Research’s recent survey of 39,000 residents nationwide, tenants are willing to renew their lease if their satisfaction rating was above 8.14 on a 10-point scale. Those who said no to renewing their lease were 35% lower on their rating.

Why are renters unhappy and soon to be vacating? Here’s the top 7 reasons they discovered:

  1. renters don’t see added value after their rent is increased
  2. their loyalty isn’t rewarded
  3. they view extra fees as bogus and unwarranted
  4. lack of lease renewal information from landlord or property manager
  5. unfulfilled maintenance requests
  6. unclean and poorly maintained buildings or property
  7. rude, indifferent landlords and property management staff

You can see how tenants might get upset. A property management business model that uses micro-fees or usage fees is an example of extra fees that tenants won’t like. If you commonly charge such fees, you may need to compensate for the negative “nickel and diming” impression it leaves with tenants.

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Saving Through Tenant Communications

The JT Turner survey may be indicating that saving a tenant and getting the lease renewed is achievable. A common theme that runs through tenant complaints and disappointment seems to be communication.

When tenants are informed of what’s happening and they believe they’re getting value, the status quo is kept. In many cases, it’s a disturbance in the status quo that makes the tenant re-evaluate their choice of rental accommodation. Any of the above events could launch this re-appraisal of their situation.

If other landlords are promoting their buildings and available units, tenants receive a promise of value. This year, more tenants are likely to jump at these new offers and incentives.

Read more on how to get tenants to re-sign their lease.

New to property management? Find out more about how property management software helps you develop better relations with tenants, improves operational efficiency, and optimizes how you do your accounting.

Take ManageCasa for a test drive now.


2021 could be a tougher year for landlords.  Please do brush up on your skills in tenant retention, and adopting new online property management solutions for managing your tenants and properties.

Bookmark our blog for more tips on tenant relations


New property management solutions including mobile-friendly will allow you to communicate in a more timely manner with tenants. Some of them want to express themselves and receive affirmation that living in your rental unit is still a good idea.

Discover how the Best Landlords and Property Managers Build Great Tenant Relationships and Raise their Lease Renewal Rates


See also: Best Property Software | Accounting for Property ManagementBest Incentives for Renters | Property Software PricingProptech Solutions | Best Property Management AppsHow to Get Tenants to Renew | Best Cities to Buy Multifamily |  Software for Tenant Screening | Property Management Trends  | Property Management Metrics | California Housing Predictions 2021 | HOA Management Software | San Francisco Apartment Prices | New York Apartment Prices | Housing Market Forecast | Apartment Rental Prices | Best Cities for Buying Rental Property | Texas Rental Housing | Start a Property Management Business | Rental Property Software | California Property Management Companies |

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