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  • Writer's pictureJeff Minster

Maintain your rental property: what you can do to keep it a nice place for your tenants to call home

Tenants rent apartments, condos, townhomes, and single-family homes for all sorts of reasons. They also move out of homes just as fast. In my 10+ years of managing rental properties on Oahu, I've learned a few tips to keep tenants in your property longer.

1. Install Air Conditioning. Those who do not want it will not use it, but those who want it need it! And if your unit does not have air conditioning, you can bet the next heat wave will have your tenants moving out. Next, maintain your air conditioning units with annual cleaning and maintenance service. This helps the a/c last longer and keeps the unit working properly. The air conditioning provides cool air year round for your tenants. And as you know we live on a tropical island and it can get hot and humid. This gesture shows the tenant you care about their comfort. This can go a long way when lease renewals come around.

2. Pay For Yard Service. Tenants do not want to spend weekends cutting grass and maintaining hedges or bushes. If you have trees, forget about it. They will not take care of them. There are many landscaping businesses on the island that will do a great job. You've heard that saying "curb appeal sells homes", well it also keeps tenants in homes. There's nothing nicer than to come home to a well-maintained yard.

3. Install Window Coverings. This is something that many landlords think tenants should pay for. Therefore they only install curtain rods. The thought is that the tenant can pick out a color scheme that is suited to their tastes. While this may be true, it is an added expense many tenants do not want. I personally installed soft vinyl vertical blinds in my rental unit. The cost was minimal and deductible as an expense on my taxes. If you choose a soft neutral color, it will match most color schemes. Or the tenant can add minimal accents to spruce it up to their tastes. This one feature will make the home feel more luxurious.

4. Replace Appliances Versus Repairing. This last tip is not as easy to agree with. I am not saying to replace every appliance any time one breaks. I get that some repairs just make sense. But, if the appliance is older, I'd say more than 6-8 years, replace it with something new. The tenant will be more appreciative when this happens instead of cursing the landlord each time the repair man has to come out. Keep in mind, the tenant usually has to take a day off from work to meet the repairman. With the high cost of living here in Hawaii, tenants will not be happy about taking multiple days off throughout the year. And it sends the message that the landlord doesn't want to take care of the rental. Lease renewals are much more difficult in these circumstances. Don't forget, you get a tax deduction for the expense.

Keeping tenants happy and in place is in the best interest of any landlord. Whenever tenants move out, there are always inevitable minor repairs and wasted time during vacancies. All of this costs the landlord money. I hope you implement a few of these tips. Your tenants and your bank account will thank you!

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