You made it! You own your own property, you’ve successfully found an agent to help you lease it, and it’s filled with tenants. Now you can relax and chill by the pool, right? We hate to break it to you, but the truth is that your work is just beginning. One of your most important goals as a landlord isn’t just acquiring tenants, but actually retaining tenants. Trust us, you want reliable, long-term tenants (attracting new tenants is expensive and time-consuming!), which means that you need to make an effort to build a good relationship with your renters, and keep them happy. Lucky for you, we’ve put together 5 tips on how to get great tenants to stick around. We hope these’ll make your lives a little easier—and then maybe you can get a couple hours to work on that tan (no promises, though).

Clarity is key

From the start, you need to make sure that you and your renter both know what you’re getting into: this can be accomplished with a clear rental contract. The lease will establish what you expect from tenants and what they should expect from you, so it should clearly explain the protocol for late payments, repairs, and other expectations. Remember that just as your tenant is agreeing to the stipulations, this contract goes both ways, so you need to uphold your end of the deal as well. Consider going over the agreement in-person or on the phone to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings later. That way, when your tenant’s son inevitably sticks a Lego piece in the toilet, your tenants won’t be upset because they expected you to pay for that repair.

Address repairs, issues, and problems quickly

This one probably doesn’t need a lot of explaining—if your tenant has to spend several days dealing with a leaking pipe, a clogged sink, or a frequently loud and disruptive neighbor, they’re not going to be happy, and they’re not going to want to stay in the property. Would you? It helps to put yourself in your resident’s shoes. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable living in your home with that problem unresolved, then they won’t either! Responding to issues quickly and efficiently will demonstrate that you respect and emphasize with the tenant, and that you want to ensure they’re comfortable and happy in their home. Keep in mind, though, that you don’t have to drop everything and run if your tenant calls you at 3 am on a Friday because their fridge is making a weird noise. We’re pretty sure your wife won’t appreciate being woken up from her sleep because of that—but you can keep your good tenant relationship (and your marriage) by just letting your tenant know when you will be able to fix it, and sticking to that promise!.

Offer tokens of appreciation, rewards, or promotions

You know what people like? Presents. A great way to show a tenant how much you value them is by offering some sort of gesture. Maybe it’s an incentive, offer, or promotion for a local business or cleaning service in the area. Some landlords incentivize tenants by offering them a month off rent or a discounted rate if they renew their lease. You might also consider hosting community events for your tenants semi-regularly, to show them that you care about their home being a friendly, welcoming, fun space. And you definitely don’t need to break the bank—even slipping a note under their door on their birthday or on a holiday can go a long way! Whatever you choose to do, just make an effort to show tenants you’re trying to give back, and that you’re grateful they’re here. You’ll get to feel like Santa, and they’ll be happy: it’s a win-win!

Inspect the property regularly

You know how they say “you gotta spend money to make money”? You’ll hate us for saying it, but that’s a real thing. One of the best ways to keep residents comfortable and content with your management is by making an effort to keep the property in great condition. Inspect the property regularly, and make small improvements, repairs, and changes whenever necessary. We know, we know, you’re thinking “I’m not made of money! I can’t be spending on repairs left and right just to keep tenants happy!” but we’d urge you to think about it another way. Not only will making regular inspections and repairs demonstrate to tenants that you care about the quality of their living environment and their safety, but it may actually save you money: if you’re aware of items that need to be addressed, this can help keep smaller issues from turning into larger (and more expensive and time-consuming!) problems.

Treat them like you’d treat family

Ultimately, the key to keeping your tenants around is simpler than you might think: just treat them like you’d treat family. You wouldn’t want to unnecessarily raise the rent on your cousin if you didn’t have to, and if you did, you’d do your best to accommodate a payment plan that was convenient, right? You should apply that same courtesy to your tenants. Be respectful, friendly, and cooperative. Give them proper notice if you’re going to be making big changes to your property, or starting a loud construction project, and factor in their comfort (for example, can the construction start later in the day so their sleep isn’t disturbed?). Most of all, respect their privacy—it’s your property, but it’s their home, and they deserve to feel that way. We know that even family can be frustrating sometimes (let’s be real, most of the time), but the happier your tenants are, the better quality your property is—so push through and make an effort to be kind, appreciative, and considerate. The pay-off will be worth it in the end.

Ready to be the best landlord ever? We can help you rent out your property in a whole new way. List with Urban today.