Top 9 Reasons Tenants Move Out of a Rental

Learn Why Good Tenants Leave

Picture of Reasons Tenants Move Out of a Rental
••• Reasons Tenants Move Out of a Rental. Gary Burchell/Taxi/Getty Images

Landlords do not want good tenants to move out of their rental property. There are many reasons tenants may decide to relocate. Here are the top nine reasons a tenant may leave and tips to avoid a vacancy at your property.

1. Too Expensive

A tenant may decide to move because their current apartment has become too expensive for them.Their income may have dropped due to a job loss or their expenses could have gone up due to adding a family member.

They may also just have a desire to start saving more. 

Avoid a Vacancy-

  • Offer Relocation:

If you manage multiple rental units, you can offer to let the tenant move into a cheaper apartment if you have another vacancy available. This way, you can still keep a good tenant and will only have to fill one vacancy instead of two.

  • Reduce Rent:

Another option, is to offer to reduce the tenant's monthly rent. If reducing their rent by $50 dollars a month will get the tenant to stay, it may be worth it, because you will probably spend more trying to fill the vacancy.

2. Need More Space

A tenant may choose to relocate because they are looking for a rental with more space. They may have gotten married, had a child, adopted a dog, started a home business or any other number of life events. They may want an extra bedroom, an extra bathroom, a larger kitchen, more storage space or a backyard.

Avoid a Vacancy-

  • Offer Larger Unit:

    It is clear that the tenant's current unit is no longer meeting their needs.If you have larger rental units available, you should let the tenant know, as it could be exactly what they are looking for.

    • Offer Upgrade:

    You may be able to entice a tenant to stay by offering an upgrade to their current unit.

    Swapping out carpet, retiling a shower or an addition of a stainless steel appliance may be enough to get the tenant to overlook the tighter space.

    3. Need Less Space- Downsize

    A tenant may wish to move because their current unit is too large for them. They may have had children go off to college, separated from their significant other or gotten tired of maintaining a larger space.

    Avoid a Vacancy-

    • Offer Smaller Unit:

    If you have a smaller unit available that might fit the tenants needs, you should always make them aware of this.

    • Offer Incentive:

    You can also offer them an incentive, such as reduced rent, a free parking space or a new kitchen backsplash to try and convince them to stay. 

    4. Job Change/Relocation

    Some tenants move because their hands are forced in the matter. They may have changed jobs and their new job might pay less or more than their former one. For this reason, they may be seeking a rental that is less or more expensive than their current rental.

    The tenant might have to move because they are dealing with a job relocation. In these instances, the tenant must usually make the move quickly. This is a good thing if the relocated tenant is looking to rent one of your vacant units.

    It is not such a good if it is one of your current tenants who must relocate quickly.

    Avoid a Vacancy-

    • Job Relocation:

    Unfortunately, there is little you can do if a tenant is moving due to a job relocation. In this case, you must work of finding a new tenant to fill the vacancy.

    • Job Change- Higher Salary:

    For tenants who have changed jobs, and have an increase in income, you can offer to make upgrades to their apartment to entice them to stay. 

    • Job Change-Lower Salary:

    For tenants who have changed jobs, and have a decrease in income, you can offer to reduce the tenants rent to entice them to stay or you can offer to let them move into a cheaper apartment if you have another vacancy available.

    5. Maintenance Issues

    Maintenance issues can cause a tenant to move. They may be tired of dealing with clogged drains, leaky roofs, or pest problems.

    The good news is, if you stay on top of the maintenance at your property, you will not have to deal with this issue.

    Avoid a Vacancy-

    • Regular Maintenance:

    Periodic maintenance can help prevent problems from occurring.

    • Fix Problems Quickly:

    If an issue does come up, addressing and resolving the issue quickly will usually be enough to keep the tenant happy. You should also have an easy way for tenants to contact you to make repair requests, whether it is email or a dedicated phone line.

    6. Problems With Neighbors

    Some tenants will move due to issues with neighbors or other tenants. They may have noise complaints, feel unsafe around a neighbor or constantly butt heads with another individual for whatever reason. A tenant wants to be able to enjoy their home in peace. If they don’t feel their home is a sanctuary, they are more likely to leave.

    Avoid a Vacancy-

    • Tenant Screening:

    While you cannot control the next-door neighbors, you can control the type of tenant you put into your property. It is so important to put quality tenants in your rentals. One bad apple could quickly cause good tenants to move out of your property.

    • Quiet Hours Policy:

    You should also have a quiet hours policy in place. If a tenant continues to violate this policy, they will be faced with eviction

    7. Want to Change Neighborhood

    Another reason tenants leave is that they want to move to a different neighborhood. They may feel that their current neighborhood has become unsafe, they may want to experience a new location or they may want to switch school districts.

    For example, a couple who has lived in the city for 10 years may want to relocate to the suburbs. A mother whose son is about to enter first grade may want to relocate to a better school district. A retiree may be sick of harsh northern winters and wishes to relocate to the south.

    Avoid a Vacancy-

    • Offer Incentives:

    If a tenant wants to leave the area, it can be hard to convince them to stay. You can offer incentives to see if that will change their mind.

    • Offer Different Location:

    If you are lucky enough to have a rental in their desired new neighborhood or even a different location than your current property, you can see if the tenant might be willing to move there instead.

    8. Separation/Divorce/Marriage

    Some tenants will move due to changes in their relationship status.  A separation or marriage might have changed their financial status or they may simply want to start fresh. Those undergoing a separation or divorce may be looking to downsize, while those getting married may be looking to move to a larger place.

    Avoid a Vacancy-

    Offer any available rentals you may have. Offer incentives such as a free parking space.

    9. Renter's Market

    Many renters will choose to relocate when the market becomes a renter’s market. This means that there is more supply than demand for units and the tenant may be able to get a larger apartment, or one with better amenities, for a cheaper price. Tenants have the upper hand in a renter's market, so it can be very difficult to convince them to stay.

    This will affect you in two ways:

    1. You will lose your current tenant and have a vacancy.

    2. Because it is a renter’s market, you may not be able to charge as much for the unit as you had previously.

    Avoid a Vacancy-

    • Reduce Rent:

    You can try to avoid a vacancy by reducing the current tenant's rent.

    • Offer Upgrades:

    Instead of reducing rent, you can offer the tenant an upgrade to the apartment, such as a granite counter in the kitchen, in the hopes that they will renew their lease.