Tenants staying longer a win-win with Brisbane landlords
The past five years have been a time of huge change for inner-Brisbane’s rental market, with an extra 16,000 homes added to our supply. It’s been a 50% jump in the available rentals and many observers are still wondering how tenant demand absorbed so many. But it has, the vacancy rates are back to balanced levels and rents are slowly starting to lift again.
What’s perhaps even more surprising is throughout this tsunami of supply, with options aplenty, tenants have stayed longer in their rental homes. The state-wide stats show unit dwellers now spend 13.1 months in their homes, compared with 12.4 months just 5 years ago. The increase has been even greater in houses, with an average tenancy now 17.5 months, up from 14.9 months.
Across the rental homes the Bees Nees team manage, tenants stay an average of 22 months. And Brisbane landlords wanting longer tenancies can improve their odds by taking a few simple steps.
Moving home isn’t fun and this stay-longer trend shows it takes more than a $20 saving on the vacant apartment downstairs to tempt a tenant to pack up again. Parts of our market are still fairly price sensitive, but feedback from tenants shows it’s often the non-financial issues that prompt them to leave. Our recent bi-annual tenant survey asked inner-Brisbane’s renters about the service they receive from property managers, and there’s some simple but essential reminders for landlords and their agents in the replies about other agencies.
“Follow up more efficiently with maintenance items. If the work isn’t done on time or properly this affects peoples’ lives and disrupts their day.” Tenants’ expectations of service are rising all the time and property managers need to keep up. Most landlords appreciate the need to sort repair items quickly but this is becoming more and more important.
Unsurprisingly, poor communication from other agencies is still irritating many tenants: “I don’t think they are looking after the property well enough. They don’t seem to care and are not friendly.” “Our property manager left and no one told us so we went a little while without responses and weren’t sure who to contact.” Landlords and agents who see tenants as their customers, understand they’re in a competitive market for their business, and work to improve their experience, will easily overcome these concerns and often benefit from a longer tenancy.
We’d argue a tenant who gets looked after, their home maintained and their rent kept in a fair market range, will usually want to stay far longer than those Queensland averages. Moving is expensive, there’s cleaning and internet connections and pet approvals and then those apartment buildings have loading docks and lifts and carrying everything isn’t easy. Exhausting stuff. What can be better than settling in and making your home feel like home? Even in our agency’s patch of inner-Brisbane, with a fairly mobile workforce and large student market, Bees Nees tenants stay an average 22 months. And we’d argue it’s because we provide a high level of service to tenants (while also ensuring they’re doing their part in paying the rent and looking after the property.)
And there’s no question Brisbane landlords want longer tenancies. The cost of advertising and finding the next tenant, the potential for vacancy, the risks in an unknown new tenant – there’s a simple financial reward to having a good tenant stay longer. Ironically the Qld Housing Minister is reportedly still proposing reforms that would force landlords to keep tenants in their properties, even when they’re unhappy with them. It’s a bit like outlawing divorce to make marriages happier…
For those who mistakenly think agents like tenant turnover so we can collect a letting fee (yes Qld Tenant’s Union, we’re talking about you!), this amount rarely covers the work we do, and we don’t earn a management income when a property’s vacant. We also enjoy getting to know our tenants, learning what they need from us. There’s lots of benefits for agents in a happy tenant staying put too. It’s a win-win-win!
With the oversupply behind us, the market re-balanced and rents firming, we’d expect the average tenancy length to grow further. Brisbane landlords and property managers who continue to look after their tenants will be the big beneficiaries of this trend.
Our Brisbane tenant survey makes good reading for landlords wanting to improve their investment returns. And if you’d like a Brisbane property management service that works hard to get you longer tenancies, please give our team a shout on 07 3214 6899 or firstname.lastname@example.org We’d love to work for you!