Tenants and landlords frequently have disagreements over rent increases. Avoiding arguments requires knowledge of the rules. In the simplest sense, tenants provide financial support to landlords in exchange for housing. Although the basics are straightforward, disagreements about rent often escalate into open hostility. But there are ways to raise rent without complaints.
Rents are determined by several factors, including the market and the property owner’s financial situation (i.e. the mortgage). Tenants commit to rent payments depending on their individual needs and ability to pay. Things usually go smoothly until the subject of a rent increase comes up. Here are ways to keep the process smooth when raising rent.
Research the housing market well
The majority of the rent you charge is dependent on the going rate in that specific housing market. So, before you raise the rent, you should do a comparative analysis on housing similar to your investment (i.e. location, same number of bedrooms and bathrooms, etc), and aim to set a price that is similar, yet competitive. You may then use that information to make an educated guess about how to price your rental property appropriately. If you raise the rent too much, you’ll hear complaints and risk losing a good renter who can find a cheaper place to live nearby.
The best way for first-time landlords to find out what the going rate is in their region is to chat with local real estate agents or property managers, and do a comparative analysis. You can increase your rent if similar properties in that area rent for a greater cost. In addition to convincing tenants that they are not being cheated, this will provide them with a solid rationale for staying with you even after you raise the rate.
Give a written notice in advance
Before announcing a rent increase, it’s wise to double-check the legal requirements of your area, such as the needed minimum notice period and the acceptable means of communication. A signed letter is required nearly everywhere, and in some cases, certified mail is necessary. However, as experts from Spyder Moving suggest, constantly sending emails and giving verbal warnings is a bad idea. Keeping your tenants in the loop well in advance will ease them into the price changes and give them enough time to reorganize if necessary.
Allowing open communication with your tenants about rent increases will ease complaints
Allow the renter to contact you by phone or video chat to discuss the rent increase if needed. Since it’s common knowledge that rents are increasing across the board, tenants might not be too shocked to hear theirs is as well. However, they may want some clarification as to why it may be going up a certain percentage.
Therefore, if you want to increase the rent and keep your good paying renter, good communication seasoned with empathy is essential. Landlords should inform tenants of rising running costs, including property taxes and maintenance costs, and provide them with market data on what other properties in the neighborhood are renting for. Tenants are more likely to accept a reasonable rent increase if they believe their landlord is not exploiting them for personal gain.
Build a relationship
Building trust with your renters is essential to maintaining a full occupancy rate and is often underestimated by landlords. Building a great landlord-tenant relationship doesn’t mean it has to be strictly professional. Tenants are more likely to be agreeable to things like rent raises if they’re able to talk openly about it.
A landlord needs to establish a good rapport with their tenants well before raising the rent on the rental property. During your next phone call, take a few minutes to inquire about them personally. Even if you decide to raise the rent, this kind of action will go a long way toward reassuring your tenants that you are a decent human being, which might be the deciding factor in whether or not they remain at your property.
Landlords that increase their rent rates should always aim to keep their tenants happy. Tenants are more likely to agree to a rent increase if, for example, landlords consider their comments and address their concerns. If you can assure them that there will be no rent rises for the next year and offer to renew the lease, you can also provide them a sense of security. It’s a good sign that you’re trustworthy and competent if you make an effort to educate tenants on the rental rate in your area. In addition to strengthening your landlord-tenant connection, this also helps with raising rent without complaints.
Upgrade your rental property
Tenants will typically demand a justification for the rent increase they’ll be paying. Being understanding is the best way to handle this situation.
Additionally, however, you may also mention any interior or exterior improvements that you’re thinking about doing to the property, as part of the rent increase letter you give to your renter.
This is a great way to incentivise the increase in your rental rate and keep your renter happy. And as an added bonus, you’re investing into your investment property, which is always a good idea.
Deal with the initial backlash properly
Even if you’ve worked hard to build trust with your tenants, limited the number of price increases, given plenty of notice, and considered investing in your property; you may still face pushback from your renter when you decide to increase their rent.
Preparing for this situation and handling the tenant’s reaction when it occurs, will go a long way in the end. Keep a cool head, listen to their concerns and try to resolve the situation peacefully.
Keeping your tenants happy and satisfied is most important for a landlord. We hope our guide to raising rent without complaints has provided you with helpful and actionable steps to take.
Choose 1836 Property Management
Real estate investing in the Austin, Texas, market can be very lucrative, but only if you have the right partners. As a rental owner, one of the best things you can do is partner with an experienced Austin property management company to assist you with all your real estate investing needs.
At 1836 Property Management, we have years of experience helping investors just like yourself be successful in leasing rental properties. Contact us today to find out how we can help you improve your real estate investing ventures.
By: Kayla Gonzales, 1836PM Marketing Manager