This blog was written by KT Heins-Nagamoto, a content manager at Rhino.
Rhino leverages PropTech to solve renters’ biggest financial problems, starting with the dreaded cash security deposit. Rhino advocates for renter rights in everything the company writes.
Nationwide, the rental market is in full recovery mode. As the initial impact of the pandemic subsides, national vacancy rates in the fourth quarter of 2021 were a mere 5.6%, and economists predict a 7.1% growth in national rent in the next 12 months.
However, the renter migration, fueled by the work-from-home movement and inflation, means that the rental market will get even more competitive. According to Redfin.com, 31% of its millions of users looked to move to another metro in 2021, up from 25.6% in 2019, before the onset of the pandemic. This could spell disaster ahead for resident retention, especially if you’re planning on raising rent.
If you’re looking for strategies on how to boost lease renewals and keep your existing residents in unit: look no further.
1. Notify your residents if you’re raising rent
A simple courtesy (and sometimes a legal requirement) is to notify your residents 30, 60, and even 90 days before their renewal date that you’re raising the rent. And we’re not talking about making your leasing teams or property managers do it manually.
Thoughtful email marketing allows you to craft a universal message that is both legally sound and personalized. In your email, you’ll want to clarify the percentage you’re raising rent, offer an explanation, and invite residents to respond.
Pro tip: Be certain to set a cadence of communication with your residents via weekly or monthly newsletters. Then this kind of outreach will become expected and will generally get a more favorable response.
2. Upgrade your rentals with the basics
For large portfolios, it can be difficult to roll out major amenities, especially post-construction. Lucky for you, we’re not talking about breaking ground on an onsite dog park. The modern renter wants amenities and upgrades that are coincidentally easier for landlords to roll out across their portfolio.
Amenities such as free WiFi, in-unit laundry, heat and air-conditioning, and smart home tech give renters more control of their rental unit environment. All these skyrocketed to the top of in-demand upgrades for millennial renters when the pandemic hit. As many renters continue to work from home, these conveniences have evolved into necessities. Plus, by adding a few upgrades to the unit, you can provide an explanation for the rising cost of rent that your renters will see as understandable. These practical renovations can also boost rental value in the long run.
3. Automate the lease renewal process
Cash, checks, screenshots, faxes, email; some owners still rely on outdated methods to renew a lease. These can come with security risks, or at least introduce unnecessary friction to the lease renewal process. The easier it is for a renter to renew, the more renewed leases you’ll see.
Automating the lease renewal process from your platform management system can help you securely re-sign renters with little engagement from your busy leasing or management teams. For example, MRI Living provides residents with a simple online experience through a branded multifamily resident portal which can be used to automate and facilitate communications about renewals, securely house renewal documents, and take, track or refund any payments.
4. Offer security deposit insurance at renewal
Security deposit insurance, offered through Rhino, is a great way to help you improve your retention rates. Think of it as another potential amenity to offer renters.
Rhino security deposit insurance replaces cash deposits and can be used to cover losses from unpaid rent or damages. If a renewing renter purchases an insurance policy through Rhino, they will agree to a small, non-refundable fee to pay for the policy, and the original cash deposit can be refunded, either in cash or as a rent credit. Even better, renters who use Rhino report higher satisfaction with their property owners.
To learn more about how Rhino can help you boost your lease renewal rates, get in touch.