Conducting a tenant survey is a great way to receive feedback on tenants’ experience and enjoyment of the property, community, amenities, customer service, maintenance, and management. You can learn a lot from your tenants’ opinions of the property, and in turn, improve your relationship with tenants and the efficiency of your rental business.
What to Ask
Tenant surveys give tenants the chance to anonymously comment on their experiences renting with you. You’ll be able to learn what your tenants really think about the property and your management style. Through a survey, you can discover the best aspects of your rental business, as well as what you can improve on. This information will be vital in increasing occupancy rates and tenant retention. You’ll also be able to build your reputation in the community and building a great relationship with tenants. Here’s what you should consider asking about in your tenant satisfaction survey;
The Leasing Experience
First impressions are everything. The process of acquiring a tenant and signing the lease is one of the most important steps in establishing a good landlord-tenant relationship. Seeing how your current tenants felt about the leasing experience will help you make a better first impression in the future. Here are some questions to consider:
- How did you find the property?
- Was the staff helpful in explaining lease terms and conditions?
- Were all of your questions and concerns addressed?
- Did you feel like your personal information and money was handled securely?
- How did the move-in process go? Were you provided with all necessary information?
- How could the leasing process be improved?
The property itself is also an important factor of a tenant’s satisfaction. The conditions of the property, as well as its amenities, are central to a tenant’s overall enjoyment. Try asking:
- How do you feel about the condition and appearance of the rental property’s:
- Interior rooms
- Common areas and facilities
- Safety and security
- Community features
- Is there anything that you feel the property is missing? If so, would you accept an increase in rent for this feature to be added?
You are going to want to know how your tenants feel about the management of your property. Receiving some constructive criticism can be extremely helpful in the future. The feedback your tenants give you will aid you in discovering what improvements you can make to increase their satisfaction.
- Do you feel that management makes themselves available to help you and answer questions?
- How responsive is management when you have a problem or question?
- What is your perception of management’s efficiency in problem resolution?
- Do you feel that there is a good line of communication between you and management?
- What is your perception of management’s service? Is management polite, friendly, and helpful?
- How can management be improved?
When it comes to maintenance, you want to make sure that work orders are being completed in a timely manner and that tenants aren’t experiencing any issues. Tenants are entitled to a habitable home that they can enjoy without any nuisances. Ensuring that work orders are being handled properly is essential to maintaining the conditions of your property as well as your tenants’ satisfaction.
- Are you able to submit maintenance requests with ease?
- Do you feel like maintenance and work orders are handled well?
- Are maintenance requests and work orders completed in a timely manner?
- Have you ever had any issues with maintenance being completed in your unit?
Format for Tenant Survey
There are a lot of ways that you can format your tenant survey. Rating scales are the most common format, allowing your tenants to express their view on a certain statement by selecting a level of satisfaction. Here’s an example:
Maintenance requests and work orders are completed in a timely manner.
You can also ask yes or no questions; this is the most straightforward format for questions, but it won’t really gauge your tenants’ perceptions of the property. Yes or no questions don’t leave enough room for tenants to give their real opinions and help you improve.
Open-ended questions are the best way to get tenants’ true perceptions of the property, but they are also very time-consuming. tenants may not want to spend the time writing/typing out in-depth answers. If you want to include open-ended questions in your survey, try to restrict them to your most important topics. Make sure you are specific with your questions, too.
Overall, the best format for a survey is a good mix of different kinds of questions. You can tailor your survey so that it allows tenants to give you more information on the areas you are most interested in.
How to Conduct the Survey
You may compile the survey questions into a document and print copies to hand out to tenants, or you could use an online platform, like SurveyMonkey, and send a link to your tenants. An online survey will probably be much easier to conduct since they have great resources to help you come up with questions and analyze responses. Online surveys will also allow you to reach more tenants at once and receive the data in an efficient, organized manner.
When to Conduct the Survey
Tenant surveys should be conducted annually, usually at the beginning of the year when the holidays are over. Conducting a survey at the beginning of the lease term will not give you much information, and conducting one at the end of the lease term may not get many participants. Also keep in mind that tenants may be too busy to take the survey at the beginning and end of a lease term since they will be getting everything in order. If you conduct the survey at the beginning of the year, you will be able to administer multiple surveys and compile all of the data at once.
How to Get Tenants to Participate
In order for a satisfaction survey to benefit you, tenants need to participate. Besides deciding the right time to conduct the survey, you also need to find ways to encourage tenants to take it.
A reward is a great incentive for tenants to participate in the survey. You can propose that tenants who take the survey will be entered in a raffle to win a reward, such as a rent discount, gift card, or new tablet.
It’s also important that you promote the survey as much as possible and make it easy for tenants to take it. Have a poster or graphic made that gives instructions for the survey and shows off the reward. Consider sending an email to all of your tenants announcing the survey; you may even attach a poster/graphic to catch your tenants’ eyes. You could also put it in your tenant newsletter or post it on your property’s social media, if applicable.
Making the survey anonymous isn’t necessary, but you will get a lot more participants if you do. No matter what survey format you choose, you should be able to get anonymous participation. You can provide with a code after taking the survey that lets them confirm involvement without revealing their specific answers so they can be entered in the raffle.
What to Do With Tenants’ Responses
The information gathered in your tenant satisfaction survey will only be useful if you know what to do with it. When you receive your tenants’ responses, read through them carefully and be open to constructive criticism. Take note of any similarities in your tenants’ answers; if more than one tenant mentions something in particular, then you need to pay close attention to it. The tenant survey will help you evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and become a better, more successful landlord.