In today’s ultra-competitive multifamily industry, it’s impossible to keep every resident living in an apartment community forever. Some move out of the area, some decide it’s time to buy a home, and others just have their circumstances change. But, even with all of those variables, apartment resident retention is still a critical part of property management because there are still people looking for a place to call home long-term. And it’s typically the people that are most informed, most comfortable, and feel most at home that do end up renewing and staying for more than just one lease term.

The definition of resident retention is an effort made by the apartment property management group or company to reduce resident turnover. It involves keeping current residents happy, satisfied that they are getting what they desire and need from the property, and feeling that they have been treated right by the management company and staff. When done well, a resident retention program can increase apartment resident retention by improving the overall resident satisfaction and bringing the community together in important ways.

Even with the best property management groups, looking at new, better ways to increase resident retention will only pay dividends in the long run. Here are four apartment resident retention ideas that multifamily managers can use to lessen resident turnover and increase their overall retention rates in the future.

1. Superior Property Maintenance

No list of resident retention tips would be complete without mentioning the most basic thing – keep the property well maintained. A clean and functional property keeps residents happy and wanting to continue living there. It may seem obvious, but nothing will make a valued resident start looking for a new community faster than letting simple maintenance slide. A property management company can easily show they value resident retention by working to ensure residents can trust they live a clean, safe, and comfortable apartment community. Create a feedback loop by asking residents if there are property issues they have or changes they’d like to see. Then, listen to them! Plus, if there are other issues, the trust that basic maintenance builds can allow them to be worked through easier. When looking for a resident retention strategy, keeping the property up to the standard the residents expect should be top of the list.

2. Build a Sense of Community

Apartment resident retention starts on move-in day with creating a sense of community for the resident – a sense of belonging. One of the best ways to do that is through creative apartment resident activity ideas and resident appreciation events. If residents have a real sense of community, feel like they are friends with the other residents, and even staff, they’ll likely stay around. Consider hosting meet and greets for newer residents, get-togethers around holidays, occasional coffee and donuts with the property team, or even bring in local businesses to share their wares or teach classes. There are plenty of fun community event ideas out there to increase opportunities for residents to interact and get to know their neighbors. It’s about creating a community that the residents love – and would find hard to leave.

3. Show Genuine Appreciation

Showing residents how much they mean to the property and the management team with genuine expressions of gratitude can be a great, and meaningful, apartment resident retention tactic. One way to do this is through thoughtful gifts for apartment residents and special renewal gifts for residents. Gift cards to local shops or restaurants are always a great idea. Also, think outside the box with special offers like a fresh coat of paint or a deep clean of a resident’s apartment. When it comes to apartment resident gift ideas, think about who the residents of the community are and what they’d like- some may think a donation to a local charity in their name is a more worthwhile gift, while others may appreciate an upgraded appliance or freshly cleaned carpet. Make sure it will mean something to the resident, showing them how much their continued loyalty means to the community.

4. Embrace Technology

Finding ways to make resident’s lives easier is an easy, but immensely effective resident retention idea for apartment communities. By allowing residents to use technology and text things like maintenance requests, or have a well-run online portal to manage communications, payments or other processes, means allowing residents to reach out and get help on their terms and on their time. What better resident retention gift is there than giving them some time back? That also means optimizing the website and digital channels for mobile use and finding creative ways to share information, like through video. Showing residents that they live in a community that understands how they like to consume and share information is one of the best ways to show residents they are appreciated and keep them renewing their lease moving forward.

These four ideas are a great starting point for apartment resident retention, but they certainly aren’t the only ways! Is there anything your teams have done in the past that you’ve seen work really well for increasing your resident retention? Whatever works to make an apartment community a home and create a sense of community is of the utmost importance when it comes to getting your residents to stick around.

Until next time…keep it real!