One of the best ways to keep your vacancy loss down is to proactively start marketing that unit as soon as you know you’re going to have an impending vacancy. At LBPM, we start advertising a unit even before the tenant moves out, so that we minimize vacancies for clients. As soon as we receive a notice to move out from a tenant, the marketing process begins. We advertise the vacancy on our website and run online ads in multiple places to start generating activity immediately. The goal is to fill that vacancy as quickly as possible.
If you wait until that unit is empty and rent ready, you’ve lost weeks and weeks of rental income, and that adds up over the course of an investment. You’ll lose hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars, depending on your property. Get in front of the market and pre-lease it when you can. There’s a strong rental market for landlords today, so you should always have a short window with a vacant unit.
Another way to reduce vacancy is to focus on retaining tenants. It always helps your bottom line when you’re able to avoid vacancies completely. How do you do that? Make sure your tenants are happy, getting the proper service they need, that they’re being treated with respect. When there is an issue, take care of the problem promptly and reasonably.
Of course, we’ve all met tenants who think they are going to live in the Taj Mahal and they want new carpet and new appliances and fresh paint every six months. Those are unreasonable expectations, and it’s not cost effective to provide that level of service for a typical apartment.
But that’s not what we’re talking about here. We are talking about providing the tenants with a clean, healthy place to live, an apartment manager and a company that’s responsive when there is an issue and professional when there is a conflict. Part of apartment life is dealing with noise from other tenants, parking problems and other situations. The way you deal with those complaints makes a huge difference in whether you keep tenants or have a high vacancy rate.
Our occupancy rate these days runs above 98 percent throughout our entire portfolio (well above average for the L.A. market). It’s because we work hard, treat people with respect and care about our tenants. If you’re interested in hearing more about how we protect your property from vacancies, contact us at LBPM.