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Increasing Resident Retention and Managing Vacancies

Whether you own or manage properties, vacancy can be a dirty word. Rental vacancies don’t just lead to lower income. They can result in the costs associated with finding and welcoming a new tenant. According to the most recent US Census data, rental vacancies rose to 6.6% in the third quarter of 2023. There are several possible causes, including the loss of pandemic protections, housing oversupply, economic issues, and more. These issues can’t be solved by property management, but steps can be taken to counteract vacancies and ensure better resident retention.

Here are some great property management tips approved by our best and brightest!

Preparation and Screening

Some vacancy is unavoidable, and even if your vacancy rate is above the national average, it may not be above average in your area. The most important step in dealing with vacancies is to prepare for them. Do research on your area’s rental vacancy rates for residences (or your type of property), and make sure to account for the proper vacancy factor when planning your budget.

The US Census data site, while a very accurate and reliable source, is currently limited to 2022 data for state-level vacancy rates. Still, this can give you a good idea of how your state varies from the rest of the country and the vacancy trends.

Select your state, choose “Housing”, and once it loads, scroll down to “Vacancy”.


Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California,
Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia,
Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas,
Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts,
Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri,
Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire,
New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina,
North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania,
Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota,
Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia,
Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming


More recent and more area-specific data may be available from other sources via your search engine of choice. Just make sure to check the validity of your chosen source.

You should also be cautious in choosing your next tenant. Yes, every day of vacancy is money lost, but a bad tenant can do far more damage to both your funds and peace of mind. Exercise patience in the search for your next tenant.

Proper Communication

Proper communication doesn’t mean more. In fact, it might mean less. Always keep the lines of communication open with your existing occupants, and give them multiple methods to reach you with emergency options as well. Even if the results are not always what you want to hear, providing tenants with a means to submit anonymous feedback helps them feel heard and valued.

The only time you should contact them is when it is beneficial to the occupant (e.g. the below-mentioned community events) or when it is absolutely necessary (e.g. late payments, scheduled maintenance, etc.) For these times, it is best to know their preferred method of communication. Some may prefer phone calls and snail mail, while others may prefer texts or emails.


A phone receiving a call, a mail box with mail sticking out, a phone with a SMS conversation, and a laptop sending email.

Proper Maintenance

Being open to communication means nothing if you never act on it. Take tenants’ requests and reports seriously, and respond quickly. Cutting corners with maintenance requests is a great way to get your residents to start looking for their housing elsewhere, so spend the extra dime to do the job right.

Don’t just wait to hear from tenants. Think ahead about their needs. Taking actions to ensure the indoor air quality is always clean shows that you care for their well-being. A well-noise-mitigated space will make for happier, more rested residents and will save the headache of noise complaints.

Incentives and Optional Benefits

Adding value to your space makes it much easier for your residents to pay the rent every month, and you can add to their perceived value by offering incentives. Offering gift cards and other rewards for consecutive on-time rent payments encourages timely payment and provides one more reason to stay. Our blog post on remote-work amenities provides some great amenity ideas for residents, regardless of their work situation.

Stay up with the latest design trends and offer affordable revamp options. New flooring can often be installed in hours, possibly while a tenant is at work.

Allowing your renters to have pets gives you a leg up on the competition, and there are some great ways to make it viable. Our LVT flooring with FloorSilencer underlayment is the best way.

Encouraging lease renewal is critical to retention. Offering incentives, such as temporarily reduced rent, can lessen the risk of a tenant leaving for lower rent. However, with this and all incentives, you should always weigh the costs versus the benefits.

Create A Community

While it’s good to give residents their space and avoid the complications that come from befriending tenants, it doesn’t hurt to give a smile and greet them by name when passing by. This lets them know they are more than just another rent payment. Even if conflicts should arise, keep calm and civil. Let your occupants know you have their best interests in mind.

Schedule and organize regular community events, such as barbeques and game nights, and invite all of your residents. A sense of community can foster friendships and relationships, leading to an increase in patience between residents with benefits such as fewer noise complaints.


Left: a cartoon of 4 friends playing a game at a table. Right: Cartoon of 4 different friends at a BBQ.

When All Else Fails

Ultimately, some vacancy is an inevitability, but you can take it as an opportunity to make some much-needed changes. It’s your chance to increase rent without any drama and renovate without complications.


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