7 Reasons Your Rental Is Still Vacant

Top Reasons You Cannot Find a Tenant

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It can be discouraging when you are having difficulty finding a tenant for your rental. You may be attracting the wrong type of tenants or you may not be attracting any tenants at all. Here are seven reasons your rental property is still vacant and what you can do about it.

Rent Is Too High

If your unit is priced correctly, it will rent. An overpriced unit may be discouraging prospective tenants from coming to view the property at all or the prospective tenants that have seen it may feel there are cheaper, comparable apartments on the market.

  • Do Nothing: You can leave the price where it is, but think of the big picture. If you are asking $1,000 for the unit, you will be losing $1,000 each month the unit sits vacant without a paying tenant. Despite the vacancy, you will still have to pay the property taxes, insurance and the mortgage, if you have one.
  • Lower the Price: Your next option will be to lower the price. If you lower the price by $100, and it gets you a tenant immediately, yes, it is potentially $1,200 less per year, but you will lose $1,000 every month the apartment sits vacant, so you may break even or even make more money in the long run by lowering the price.
  • Add an Amenity: You could decide to do nothing to the price, but fix up something in the apartment. For example, you could replace all the black appliances with newer stainless steel appliances. This may make your apartment more desirable in the long run, making it easier for you to rent out the unit and leaving you with fewer vacancies.

Security Deposit Is Too High

Prospective tenants may have no problem with the monthly rent you are charging, but they may be turned off by a security deposit that is too high. Many states will put a limit on the amount you can charge a tenant, but other states do not.

Consider the amount of deposit you are requiring from tenants. Three months’ rent is probably too much, especially if all the other landlords in the are only collecting one month’s rent as security.

Inefficient Marketing

If you cannot get your property rented, you should take a look at your marketing strategy. You could have one of two problems:

  • Attracting the Wrong Type of Tenant: If the tenants who are inquiring about your property are not meeting your qualifying standards, then you need to reassess your marketing strategy. Include renter requirements in your ads so you are not wasting the renter’s time and they are not wasting yours. Make sure to include:
    • Income requirements.
    • How much you require as a security deposit.
    • Whether or not you allow pets.
    • The length of the lease agreement that must be signed.
  • Not Receiving Any Interest in Your Property: Are you advertising the vacancies on multiple websites such as Zillow and Craigslist? Does your ad contain high quality color images? Does the title of the ad describe the property concisely, stating the location, the number of beds and baths, as well as a pleasing adjective, such as spacious, sunny, quaint, quiet, cozy or renovated?

Current Tenants

Something else to consider is how your current tenants can influence the way a prospective tenant views your property. The two biggest culprits are noise and dirt.

  • Noise: If the prospective tenant is met with loud music, barking dogs or other tenants screaming when they come visit your property, it is very unlikely they are going to want to sign a lease to live there. People want to be able to enjoy their home in peace and quiet.
  • Dirt: In addition, if the prospective tenant questions the cleanliness of the other tenants, they are unlikely to want to rent your property. They will have concerns about bugs and vermin in the property.
  • Enforce the Rules: Make sure you enforce a quiet hours’ policy with your current tenants. In addition, make sure to maintain the cleanliness of the exterior and all common areas of the property. Tenants are also responsible for maintaining their rental unit to meet certain health and safety codes, so if you have a concern about their cleanliness, you can need to send the tenant a notice to quit the behavior.

Current Superintendent or Property Manager

The person who is responsible for finding tenants could actually be the reason you cannot find one. Your super may have an unpleasant manner, but still gets his job done, or the property manager may ask too many probing questions up front. Since the tenant will be interacting with this person on a daily basis, they may move on if the tenant feels they will not get along with the individual.

Tough Tenant Screening Process

While a thorough tenant screening process is good for you as a landlord, it can be off-putting for a tenant. Consenting to background checks and credit checks and getting referrals from former employers can all seem like too much to rent an apartment for $1,000 a month.The tenant will move on to a rental that does not have such strict requirements.

Undesirable Feature

You may be having difficulty getting your property rented because of an undesirable feature of the rental unit or of the property in general. This could include:

  • Too Many Stairs: If the unit you are trying to rent is on a higher floor, such as a third floor walk-up, you may have a difficult time renting it because of the number of stairs tenants will have to go up and down.
  • Small Room Size: The size of the rooms in your property could be turning off some tenants as well. The rooms may be too small to fit their current furniture. For example, they may have a king size bed, but the bedroom in your property may only be able to accommodate a queen.
  • Not Enough Bathrooms: Another problem you could be experiencing is that the tenants are looking for more bathrooms than there are in your property. They may be looking for a three bedroom with two baths, but your property is a three bedroom with only one bathroom.
  • Location: You may be having trouble finding tenants because of the location of your property. Tenants in the area may value properties that are close to public transportation, but your property requires a car. Your property could be located on a busy street, which could put off some tenants or it could be isolated, in the middle of nowhere, which could also be unappealing.
  • No Washer and Dryer: Some tenants do not want to go to a laundry mat to wash their clothes. They will only look for a property that has on site laundry, either accessible in the common area or in the unit itself.
  • Not Updated: Another reason your property may not be renting is that it is outdated. Tenants may be looking for apartments that have newer kitchens, baths or hardwood floors.
  • Exterior Is Unappealing: The exterior of your property could be keeping tenants from even coming inside to see the property. Problems could include the property looking rundown from the outside or a tenant not feeling safe due to a lack or lighting or secure entry into the property.