9 Reasons Why Tenants Leave a Rental

Why Good Tenants Move Out

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Reasons Tenants Leave Rental. Gary Burchell/Taxi/Getty Images

No landlord wants to deal with constant vacancies at their rental property. Tenants leave an apartment for many different reasons. Understanding the most common reasons why tenants move may help you avoid a vacancy by convincing them to stay. Learn nine times a tenant may try to relocate.

Reason #1 Tenants Leave- Too Expensive

A tenant may decide to move because their current apartment has become too expensive for them.

They could have lost their job, added a family member or may simply want to start saving more.

Convince Them to Stay: If you manage multiple rental units, you can offer them a cheaper alternative if you have another vacancy available. This way you can still keep the tenant and will only have one vacancy to fill instead of two.

You can also offer to reduce their monthly rent. If reducing their rent by $50 dollars a month gets the tenant to stay, it may be worth it because you will probably spend more trying to fill the vacancy.

Reason #2 Tenants Leave- 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.

Convince Them to Stay: Whatever their reason, the clear point is that their current unit is no longer meeting their needs.

If you have any larger rentals available, you should let the tenant know as it could be exactly what they are looking for.

Reason #3 Tenants Leave- 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.

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

Reason #4 Tenants Leave- 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.

Convince Them to Stay: If a tenant is relocating for a job, there is nothing you can do to keep them from moving out. If a tenant is still in the area, but has changed jobs, you can try and work with the tenant by offering reduced rent or upgrades to their apartment, depending on their new salary, if they stay.

Reason #5 Tenants Leave- Maintenance Problems

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.

Convince Them to Stay: Periodic maintenance can help prevent larger problems, but even in the event that an issue comes 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.

Reason #6 Tenants Leave- Neighbor Problems

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.

Convince Them to Stay: While you cannot control the next-door neighbors, you can control the caliber of tenant you put into your property. It is so important to put quality tenants in your rentals. One bad apple could cause an exodus of good tenants at your property.

You should also have a quiet hours policy in place, where repeated violations will lead to an eviction

Reason #7 Tenants Leave- Change of Neighborhood

Another reason tenants move 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.

Convince Them to Stay: 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, or, 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 they might be willing to move there instead.

Reason #8 Tenants Leave- 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.

Convince Them to Stay: Offer any available rentals you may have. Offer incentives such as a free parking space.

Reason #9 Tenants Leave- Market Change

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.