Losing a tenant, especially a good one, is always an unpleasant experience, but you can still use the situation to your advantage. Tenants who leave have very specific reasons for doing so, and discovering these reasons can be very enlightening.

By making use of tenant exit interviews and surveys, you can pinpoint what it is that causes tenants to move out, which enables you to address these issues.

In many cases, the reasons for tenants leaving are completely preventable and by discovering the underlying cause, you will be better prepared to prevent it from happening again in the future. Although it might be too late to prevent a tenant from moving out, you will still be able to gain valuable insights from them.

What to ask during a tenant exit interview

The most obvious thing to ask during an tenant exit interview is why exactly the tenant has decided to move. This will let you know whether it is something that you could have prevented or if there is another reason for their departure.

It is also important to ask them what they thought about the rental cost of the property. If you are losing tenants and they are all complaining about the high rental cost, you might be charging more than the market can bear.

Inquire about the maintenance routine of the property and whether they feel it was adequate. You should also discuss safety with tenants who are leaving. If they ever felt unsafe on the property, there might be a need for additional security measures. Find out if the concerns and requests of the tenants were addressed in a proper and timely manner by management.

Golden opportunity

When conducting a tenant exit interview or tenant exit survey with tenants who are leaving, you can expect them to be brutally honest, especially if they were very unhappy about something. Don’t take their criticism personally or turn a deaf ear to it, but take note of what you can do differently in the future.

Tenants often hold back on criticism while still renting because they don’t want to offend anyone, but those who are leaving will have no such reservations.

Some of the things tenants will complain about can be changed, while others might be factors that are out of your control. The important thing is to get good feedback and then use this information to improve your rental property so you can prevent other good tenants from leaving.

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Theresa Bradley-Banta writes about investing in real estate while avoiding the pitfalls that plague many new investors. She is a 2017 PropTech Top 100 Influencer and winner of 14 American and International real estate awards for her website and real estate investing programs. As featured on: The Equifax Finance Blog, AOL’s Daily Finance, Scotsman Guide, The Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Show, Stevie Awards Blog, Rental Housing Journal, and Investors Beat among others.