10 Common Reasons Renters Move

And How to Get Them to Stay

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Common Reasons Renters Move. Photo: Gary Burchell/Taxi/Getty Images

Tenants move out of their current rental for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons are out of their control, while others are a matter of preference. Here are ten of the most common reasons renters leave, as well as tips to avoid a vacancy at your rental property.

1. Cannot Afford the Rent

A renter may move out because the apartment has become too expensive for them. Their income may have gone down through a job loss or their expenses may have gone up from a large medical bill.

  • Offer Relocation:
    • If you have another vacant unit available that is cheaper than the tenant's current unit, you can offer them the chance to move into that unit.
  • Reduce Rent:
    • Another option may be to to reduce the tenant's monthly rent. If reducing rent by $50 dollars a month will get the tenant to stay, it may be worth it because you may spend more trying to fill the vacancy.

2. Apartment Too Small

A renter may move because they need more space. Marriage, childbirth, pet adoption or starting a home business are all reasons a tenant may need an extra bedroom, an extra bathroom, a larger kitchen, more storage space or a backyard.

  • Offer Larger Unit:
    • if you have larger apartments available let the tenant know they have the option of moving into one of them.
  • Offer Upgrade:
    • Even if the unit is smaller than the tenant would like, you may be able to get them to stay by offering to upgrade their apartment. Swapping out carpet, retiling a shower or adding stainless steel appliance may be enough to get the tenant to overlook the tighter space for a while longer.

3. Apartment Too Large

A tenant may move because they want something smaller. Empty nesters or the newly single may not want the responsibility of maintaining a larger unit.

  • Offer Smaller Unit:
    • If a smaller unit is available which might fit the tenant's needs, let your tenant know.
  • Offer Incentive:
    • You can offer the tenant an incentive, such as reduced rent, a free parking space or a new kitchen backsplash to try and convince them to stay. 

4. Job Change/Relocation

Some tenants move because of a job change. This new job may come with a higher or lower income and they want to find a suitable rental.

Job relocation can force a tenant to move. This is a good thing if the relocated tenant is looking to rent from you, but a bad thing if it is one of your current tenants who must relocate quickly.

  • Job Relocation:
    Unfortunately, there is little you can do if a tenant is moving due to a job relocation. In this case, you must work to find a new tenant to fill the vacancy.
  • Job Change- Higher Salary:
    If a tenant gets a raise, and is looking for a nicer rental, you can offer to make upgrades to their apartment in exchange for a slight increase in rent. 
  • Job Change-Lower Salary:
    For tenants who have changed jobs, causing their income to drop, you can offer to reduce the tenant's rent or you can offer to let them move into a cheaper apartment if you have another vacancy available.

5. Maintenance Issues

Maintenance issues can cause a tenant to move. They may be tired of dealing with clogged drains, leaky roofs, or pest problems. The good news is, if you stay on top of the maintenance at your property, you will not have to deal with this issue.

  • Regular Maintenance:
    • Periodic maintenance can help prevent problems from occurring.
  • Fix Problems Quickly:
    • If an issue does come up, addressing and resolving the issue quickly will usually be enough to keep the tenant happy. You should also have an easy way for tenants to contact you to make repair requests, whether it is email or a dedicated phone line.

6. Problems With Neighbors

Some tenants will move due to issues with neighbors or other tenants. They may have noise complaints, feel unsafe around a neighbor or constantly butt heads with another individual. A tenant wants to be able to enjoy their home in peace so will leave if they are uncomfortable

  • Tenant Screening:
    • While you cannot control the next-door neighbors, you can control the type of tenant you put into your property. It is so important to put quality tenants in your rentals. One bad tenant could quickly cause good tenants to move out of your property.
  • Quiet Hours Policy:
    • You should also have a quiet hours policy in place. If a tenant continues to violate this policy, they will be faced with eviction. 

7. Want to Change Neighborhood

A tenant may want to move to a different neighborhood. They may feel that their current neighborhood has become unsafe, they may want to experience anew location or they may want to switch school districts.

  • Offer Incentives:
    • If a tenant wants to leave the area, it can be hard to convince them to stay. You can offer incentives to see if that will change their mind.
  • Offer Different Location:
    • If you are lucky enough to have a rental in their desired new neighborhood or even a different location than your current property, you can see if the tenant might be willing to move there instead.

8. Separation/Divorce/Marriage

Some tenants will move due to changes in their relationship status. A separation or marriage might have changed their financial status or they may simply want to start fresh. Those undergoing a separation or divorce may be looking to downsize, while those getting married may be looking to move to a larger place.

  • Avoid a Vacancy:
    • Offer any available rentals you may have. Offer incentives such as a free parking space.

9. Renter's Market

Many renters relocate when the market becomes a renter’s market, meaning there are more units available than there is demand for units, so the tenant may be able to get a larger apartment or one with better amenities, for a cheaper price.

  • Reduce Rent:
    • You can try to avoid a vacancy by reducing a current tenant's rent.
  • Offer Upgrades:
    • Instead of reducing rent, you can offer upgrades to the apartment such as granite countertops, new carpeting or appliances, in the hopes that they will renew their lease.

10.Change in Voucher Status

A tenant who is on a government voucher may see their voucher amount increase or decrease, meaning they will be looking for a larger or smaller unit.

  • Offer Available Units:
    • Let the tenant know immediately if you have any other vacancies available.
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