How to increase your rental occupancy rate

In residential property management, following up on leads and maximizing occupancy are crucial to the success of your multifamily community.

Residential property managers often struggle to maintain a steady stream of qualified applicants, and the digitalization of the modern world has raised residents’ expectations, making it difficult to keep them satisfied.

So, as a matter of priority, you need a way to maximize occupancy rates for property management and retain your tenants.

How to Increase Your Rental Occupancy Rate.

What is an occupancy rate?

An occupancy rate refers to the percentage of occupied properties you have across your entire portfolio at any given time.

It gives you a clear picture of how much used space you have versus how much you have left to rent out, allowing you to calculate a new strategy for filling those spots.

Plus, by understanding short-term occupancy rates, you can also measure how much potential you still have left within your properties; revealing how much more you can scale your income.

How to calculate rental occupancy rates

Calculating a rental occupancy rate is as easy as working out any other percentage.

  1. You want to take the number of properties that you have filled (for example, 65).
  2. Then, subtract the number of properties you have in total (let’s say you have 80).
  3. Next, multiply the result by 100 to work out the percentage.

In this example, the answer would be approximately 81%, leaving you with 19% of your properties that still need tenants.

If it’s easier, you can also display your occupancy rate as a ratio and leave it at that. Therefore, you’d have 65:80 filled properties.

Why understanding your occupancy rate is so important

Although many property managers don’t have a clear idea of their occupancy rate, it’s really important you find out what yours is.

It can give you a really succinct overview of how well your business is doing, and even go as far to reveal any large issues that quickly need addressing.

For instance, you might decide to work out your rental occupancy rate specifically to a multifamily building.

On the face of it, 30 tenants in an apartment block with 50 units doesn’t seem so bad. However, this is only a 60% occupancy rate… and you can do much better.

Once you know what properties you need to fill, you can set SMART goals, start advertising, and plan accordingly.

How to increase your rental occupancy rate

If you’re in a position where your rental occupancy rate could use some work (although don’t expect a perfect score), then you likely need a little extra support for finding high-quality tenants.

This means a change in:

  • How you find prospective residents.
  • How you select and screen them.
  • The quality of the experience you deliver.

Largely, occupancy rates are significantly impacted by low tenant turnover. You should focus your efforts on securing tenant retention.

Thankfully, technology can help.

7 ways technology can increase your occupancy rate

Going forward, then, you need to deduce what software can point you in the right direction, and how it can boost your brand awareness, reputation, and rental occupancy rates.

1. Attract qualified prospects

According to MRI Software’s Multifamily Marketing Survey, technology use in the residential property management sphere is increasing rapidly.
Out of our pool of respondents, 59% had already begun using social media as a marketing tool. Statistics like this indicate just how important technology is becoming in the industry.

It’s for this reason that MRI offers Market Connect; a comprehensive occupancy rate tool you can use to network on a variety of digital platforms and attract potential residents on the internet.

2. Be honest and upfront

With Market Connect, you can develop quality content outlining your pricing, availability, and other important information about your community and get your message out to qualified prospects.
You’ll also be able to give potential residents virtual reality tours of your units on a website that is both professional and optimized for mobile use. This means tenants have an accurate view of the property they are signing up for, increasing their likelihood to continue renting from you for the long run (and increasing your occupancy rate).

In addition, you’ll be able to increase staff productivity by providing an easy way to access real-time pricing, availability and floorplan info on the go via tablets and mobile devices.

3. Follow up on quality leads

When you attract more qualified leads with Market Connect, you’ll need to have a proper, flexible phone system ready to field calls from prospects. Only then can you boost your rental occupancy rates.

No one likes working through an automated phone answering system only to end up leaving a message that goes unanswered.

MRI Software’s Callmax is a smarter automated answering service designed specifically for multifamily property managers.
Enhance the on-call experience for prospects and residents with innovative speech recognition technology that can provide callers with the answers they’re looking for right away.
Even if the caller doesn’t leave a message, your leasing team will see the topic discussed over the phone, leading to better lead generation, and, soon after… occupancy rates.

4. Improved resident screening processes

Background checks and credit score checks have become a standard process in evaluating potential residents for your community, but are these really the best solutions to a complex challenge?

Background checks can often be rife with errors revolving around poor reporting, and FICO scores often provide a limited picture of a resident. They’re “one size fits all” solutions that rarely ever fit all.

With MRI Software’s Resident Screening, you can sort through applicants in a more detailed way that best fits your community.

Resident Screening is designed to provide a comprehensive background check that includes online and in-person research to create a more accurate history of the potential resident. This can reduce resident delinquencies and minimize evictions across all types of housing, including conventional, student housing, affordable housing and more.

Therefore, you’re less likely to have unfilled properties and more likely to have a strong occupancy rate.

5. Optimized property inspections

Performing property inspections with a pen and clipboard leaves too much room for manual entry errors. This damages tenant relationships and makes them more likely to leave.

Paperwork gets lost or ruined, handwriting can’t be read, and filing it all away for each resident in each unit is time-consuming and inefficient.

Say goodbye to your occupancy rate.

You shouldn’t have to worry about keeping up with the paper for sometimes thousands of different residents across multiple locations.

MRI Inspections help push the inspection process into the digital era by moving paper checklists to mobile devices. The software streamlines move-in, move-out, and transfer inspections by automatically scheduling each inspection with unique forms that suit your community’s needs.
Take photos, record comments and mark ratings during each inspection that will then be stored in a digital server where staff can aggregate and securely share the data, eliminating the need for lofty filing cabinets with hard-to-monitor staff access.

Not only does this streamline the inspection process and increase efficiency; but you’ll also be able to conduct these inspections 100% offline.

6. Track tenant satisfaction

However, rental occupancy rates aren’t just reliant on your ability to network with and convert tenants.

You also need to ensure your tenants are having the best possible experience renting from you and aren’t looking elsewhere for a different property.

Not only is this a loss to your profit margin, but it’s damaging to your reputation.

With technology, you can track tenancy analytics to better understand what you need to be doing to maintain their favorable outlook of you. This can give you information into the market and help you predict when you should take action.

7. Communicate with your tenants

However, sometimes it’s not always obvious.

Communicating with tenants is key to maintaining rental occupancy rates, and this can be done easily through a variety of software portals.

Then, when you are starting to understand the desires of your tenants and delivering on them, you can build trust with each tenant. This means they are likely to come to you when they are facing issues, rather than simply sending a notice of vacation.

In turn, you are much more likely to retain their contract and protect your cash flow.

How to increase your rental occupancy rates – FAQs

Therefore, it seems there isn’t just one easy solution to rental occupancy rates.

You have to combine a mix of updating your tenant attraction and onboarding processes, and continue to offer the best service possible while they stay with you. Need a little more guidance with all that?

Perhaps these FAQs can help.

What is the best method to find your occupancy rate?
What is a great occupancy rate for rental properties?
How do you calculate vacancy rates on rental properties?

What are Occupancy Rates? Find out through this helpful guide from MRI Software.

MRI’s Software for Increasing Your Rental Occupancy Rate

All of these technologies, from Market Connect to Callmax, are optimized to work together and form a cohesive multifamily property management software package that best fits the needs of your community.

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Through them, you can listen to feedback, answer concerns, conduct tenant background checks, and more – all with the goal of increasing your rental occupancy rates.

To learn more about the technology solutions that can help boost your business, request a property management software demo today.


Market Insights: Impact of COVID-19 on the Multifamily Industry, July 2022

Multifamily industry data July 2022 The MRI Software Market Insights team continues to track the trends of the multifamily industry. This report looks at data from the 2020 pandemic era through July 2022 and provides year-over-year comparisons. The multifamily sector has seen a strong rebound from the effects of COVID-19, but the busy summer 2022 … Continued

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