Calendar icon October 10, 2023

How to Calculate Tenant Turnover and Tips to Reduce It

Tenant turnover is the process that occurs when a current tenant vacates a rental property, and a new tenant moves in. It’s just the natural process of residents moving in and moving out. Sometimes, it’s a sign of a challenging property, but often, it’s just a natural part of the renting journey.

While tenant turnover is a standard part of the rental business, the downside is that it often comes with associated costs and potential revenue loss due to vacancy periods. Tenant turnover costs can exceed thousands of dollars per month and hurt your cash flow.

Understanding the ins and outs of tenant turnover meaning is essential for effective property management and profitability. It’s key to reduce the time of a turnover and to know the average tenant turnover rate in your area.

Second Nature's Outlook: 

"Tenant turnover” is an industry term used from time to time. But we here at Second Nature are trying to evolve the word "tenant." We’ve seen the incredible work property managers do day in and day out to make renters feel like they’re so much more than just a tenant – they’re residents. Making renters feel like residents isn’t just philosophical, it also encourages them to invest in care for their home and add value to the property. This is why, at Second Nature, we prefer to call renters “residents.” Like you, we think of them as people first – making your property their home.


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How to Calculate Tenant Turnover Rate

Getting the tenant turnover rate calculation correct is essential for property managers and landlords to understand their property's performance and the effectiveness of their management strategies. 

The good news? The math isn’t complicated!

Go through these three simple steps in our tenant turnover formula to get your rate:

  1. Determine the number of move-outs in a year: First, identify the total number of tenants who moved out of your property during a specific period, usually a year.
  2. Identify your average number of total units: Calculate the average number of rental units you have available for that same period. For example, if you started the year with 10 units and ended with 12, your average would be 11 units for the year.
  3. Calculate the turnover rate: Divide the number of move-outs by the number of total units and multiply by 100 (to get a percentage). 

Tenant Turnover Rate = (Number of Move-outs) / (Number of Units) X 100

For instance, if you had three move-outs in a year and an average of 11 units, your tenant turnover rate would be: (3/11) X 100 = 27.27%.

This means that 27.27% of your units experienced tenant turnover that year. Understanding this rate can help you set targets and measure the success of your retention initiatives.

Understanding Tenant Turnover Costs

Vacancies create disruption to your income stream and your investors' cash flow. The longer the vacancy, the more you're spending on marketing and management to find a new tenant. Here are four ways tenant turnover costs property managers.

1. Maintenance & Repair

After a tenant leaves a property, you have to restore it to a marketable condition. Ideally the tenant leaves it in excellent condition. But you'll still likely need to pay for deep cleanings, some light repairs, and some updates like fresh paint, patching holes, etc. Additionally, as a property sits vacant, it will slowly deteriorate to some degree. The longer the vacancy, the more need for maintenance, upkeep, or repair. 

2. Showings

Whether you do in-person showings or virtual/remote showings, there is a cost to prepping and opening the property to prospective tenants. You may need team members on site, or to make time to set up virtual showings. 

3. Marketing

A vacant property is a property that needs to be filled. You may primarily use services like Craigslist or Zillow, which require time and cost within your own team to build and maintain listings. Or, you may also pay for ads to get more viewings. And, of course, in some cases you'll need to include real estate agent commissions in your budget. 

4. Overhead

The whole process of turning a property involves hands-on effort from yourself and your team (if you have one). The cost in time and team member's salaries can add up. 

How to Reduce Tenant Turnover

We don’t have to tell you that high tenant turnover is a property manager's nightmare. It incurs significant costs, from marketing the property and screening new tenants to potential lost income during vacancies. Tenant turnover costs can add up to thousands for each unit each month. 

However, with the right strategies in place, reducing tenant turnover is more than achievable. Let’s explore these tenant retention strategies that not only enhance the resident’s living experience but also boost the value of your client-investor’s assets and your business’s reputation.

1. Offer Competitive Rent Prices

Ensure your rent prices are in line with the local market. Overcharging can lead to tenants seeking more affordable options elsewhere. Fortunately, with the interconnectedness of the real estate market, and a proliferation of software and apps that help track it, property managers can easily stay on top of the latest market trends.

2. Foster a Strong Property Manager-Tenant Relationship

Regular communication and a respectful attitude can go a long way. Make tenants feel valued and heard. Address their concerns promptly and maintain transparency in all interactions. Clear and consistent communication goes a long way to protect this relationship.

A Resident Benefits Package is an excellent way to prioritize the PM-resident relationship. It shows them you really care about their lived experience and offers solutions to their most common pain points. 

3. Address Maintenance Requests Promptly

Swiftly responding to and resolving maintenance issues demonstrates that you care about the tenant's comfort and safety. Regular maintenance checks ensure small issues don't become major problems. When tenants see that the property is well cared for, they’re more likely to stay – and to take care of it themselves. 

Another important factor is offering on-demand pest control, not just preventive care. Residents will rest easy knowing that, should any issues arise, they know exactly who to turn to and that it will be dealt with promptly. 

4. Update and Renovate

Modernizing appliances or adding new amenities can make the property more attractive and encourage tenants to stay longer. Modern, functional amenities can be a significant draw. 

Periodically update or add amenities like a dishwasher, laundry units, or improved outdoor spaces to enhance the property's appeal.

5. Offer Lease Renewal Incentives

Consider providing discounts or other benefits for those who renew their lease, making the option more enticing. A resident rewards program can accomplish this along with incentivizing on-time rent payments and extra TLC for the property.


download rental inspection checklist template


6. Ensure Security

One of the top priorities for any resident is feeling safe in their home. This extends beyond just locking doors; it involves well-lit outdoor areas, potentially installing security cameras, etc.

But did you know that identity theft has actually surpassed home burglaries as a risk to renters in the past two years? That’s why our Resident Benefits Package includes identity protection and renter’s insurance. Insurance protects your property, and identity protection preserves the resident’s financial stability – and, therefore, their ability to continue making rent. 

By proactively ensuring that security measures and insurance are up-to-date and effective, property managers can instill trust and peace of mind in their tenants, encouraging them to stay longer. And by providing identity protection, you can ensure that payments are safe, too.

7. Conduct Regular Inspections

Routine inspections aren't just about ensuring that tenants are treating the property well; they're also an opportunity to identify and address minor issues before they escalate. 

By regularly checking in and maintaining open communication, property managers demonstrate commitment to the property's upkeep and the tenant's well-being. 

These inspections also give residents the confidence that they're in a proactive environment. They know you’re looking out for them and likely won’t feel the need to look for alternatives that might be less proactive. 

8. Implement a Rewards System

Resident rewards are an integral part of an RBP for good reason. Recognizing and rewarding responsible behavior can play a significant role in fostering loyalty among residents. 

By introducing a rewards system, property managers can incentivize timely rent payments, property care, and long-term leases. Whether it's a discount on a month's rent, a gift card to a local establishment, or points that can be redeemed for various perks, rewards make tenants feel appreciated. 

Over time, this builds a positive relationship, encouraging them to renew their leases and view their rental as more than just a temporary dwelling.

9. Vet Tenants Thoroughly

One of the best proactive steps in ensuring long-term tenancy is by meticulously vetting potential tenants. 

The process of screening new tenants, with background checks, evaluates a tenant's rental history, financial stability, and overall fit for the property. By identifying individuals with a history of timely payments, respect for previous rental properties, and stable employment, property managers increase the likelihood of having residents who will care for the property, abide by lease terms, and remain for extended periods. 

This approach not only minimizes potential conflicts and evictions but also fosters trustworthy and transparent relationships with your residents.

10. Seek Feedback and Act on It

Actively seeking feedback from tenants provides invaluable insights into areas of improvement and showcases a genuine commitment to enhancing their living experience

Whether it's through regular surveys, suggestion boxes, or casual conversations, understanding tenant concerns and promptly addressing them helps build trust and rapport. 

When residents see that their opinions matter and lead to tangible changes, they feel valued and heard. This proactive communication strengthens your relationship and often encourages longer stays as residents recognize the effort made to optimize their living environment.

Tenant Turnover Checklist for Property Managers

Here’s a checklist template for managing tenant turnover at your properties. 

1. Pre-notice Period

  • Review lease expiry dates.
  • Initiate renewal conversations with tenants.
  • Survey tenants on reasons for move-out if they choose not to renew.

2. Once Notice is Given

  • Provide move-out instructions to tenants.
  • Schedule a pre-move-out inspection.
  • Inform maintenance team of upcoming vacancy.

3. Inspection and Repairs

  • Conduct thorough move-out inspection.
  • Document and photograph any damages beyond normal wear and tear.
  • Get estimates and schedule repairs and upgrades. 
  • Clean or replace carpets if necessary.
  • Paint walls where required.

4. Marketing the Property

  • Update online listings with current photos and features.
  • Set competitive rent based on market research.
  • Host open houses or private viewings.

5. Tenant Application and Screening

  • Collect applications from prospective tenants.
  • Conduct thorough background and credit checks.
  • Check references from previous landlords.

6. New Tenant Onboarding

  • Prepare and sign a new lease agreement.
  • Offer a welcome packet, gift, and orientation for new tenants.
  • Hand over keys and ensure they understand property rules.

7. Post-move-in

  • Seek feedback on the move-in process.
  • Provide information on reward programs or other incentives.
  • Remind new tenants of maintenance request procedures.

8. Financial Matters

  • Finalize any previous tenant's security deposit returns, accounting for any deductions.
  • Set up new rent collection methods with the incoming tenant.

9. Continuous Improvement

  • Analyze reasons for turnovers.
  • Update property features based on tenant feedback.
  • Consider conducting a yearly review to address potential concerns before they lead to turnover.

Print or save this checklist to ensure a smooth tenant turnover process and mitigate potential challenges. By following these steps, property managers can streamline the transition period and maintain a high standard of service for all residents.


Related: Step by-Step Tenant Onboarding Process

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Chambers Theory Endorses Second Nature’s Resident Benefits Package

Chambers Theory is a world-renowned property management team with clients in more than 30 countries worldwide. They specialize in serving the U.S. military, State Department, and Foreign Services families. Their motto “Real Estate With Intelligence” is more than just a saying. It’s on full display through the introductory videos for landlords and residents on their website in seven languages (Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Vietnamese, French, Croatian, and English) - all spoken fluently by their own property management (PM) team. Since its founding in 2018, Chambers Theory has been achieving extraordinary performance benchmarks. They’ve led the marketplace in delivering the “Golden Triangle of Success” to their clients, which means the lowest vacancy, the highest average rents, and the highest quality of tenants of any property management firm in its same service area. They’ve also donated over $100,000 to local charities and community organizations, while also leading the way in promoting sustainability practices in real estate and property management services. Their outstanding team attributes their success to their ability to develop and utilize their emotional intelligence skills to capacity to care with all their interactions with both landlords and residents. That’s why they fully endorse the Resident Benefits Package at Second Nature! Find out more about what a Resident Benefits Package is, its benefits, and how it can help create a Triple Win for you, as well as your residents and investors. Related: The State of Resident Experience Report

Calendar icon July 18, 2024

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Investor Experience Platform™️ IXP™️

An Investor Experience Platform™️ (IXP) in property management is a suite of products, services, and benefits offered by property management companies to property investors. Just like a resident benefits package is a way to drive value for residents, investors, and property managers, the IBP™️ is an innovative approach to property management that focuses on driving value for an investor's assets and turning that value into profit for the property management company. In this article, we’ll dig into the different features that an Investor Experience Platform™️ can include, and how those benefit not just investors, but property managers and residents, too. What Is an Investor Experience Platform™️ (IXP)? As stated above, an Investor Experience Platform™️ (IXP™️) is a comprehensive suite of services that offer property investors higher quality property management, stability, and profit. An IBP™️ typically includes concierge-level services beyond basic property management – such as property insurance policies, eviction guarantees, rent guarantees, maintenance plans, asset performance reports, etc. These services are aimed at maximizing the investor’s assets, stability and convenience, profitability, and peace of mind in managing their properties. They're commonly managed through an investor experience platform to securely manage and monitor the performance of these assets online, which we'll discuss later. The first step to outlining an IBP™️ is to define what your basic management fee means and covers. If the answer is, it’s collecting rent, handling maintenance, and general communication – does that include maintenance coordination or is that a separate fee? Does it include asset reporting or is that an additional service? In your management agreement, define what the management fee is, what it covers, and how much it is. An IBP™️ can be an effective tool for articulating the new and differentiated things that an investor wouldn’t be able to do on their own and that you are offering beyond basic property management. Articulate your unique and differentiated services (IBP™️) and use that as a tool for positioning and charging for what it’s worth. What’s Included in An Investor Experience Platform™️? An Investor Experience Platform™️ should include a range of solutions to help deliver consistency, insight, and asset protection to a property owner’s portfolio. After all, professional property managers don’t have to be functional managers of a home – they can be strategic partners in the management of financial assets. You might hear services similar to the IBP™️ called an “owner benefit package,” but at Second Nature, we believe that the “investor” term is useful in encouraging a longer-term mindset, and emphasizes the economic value professional property management can bring. According to Eric Wetherington, VP of Strategic Initiatives at PURE Property Management: “As property managers, we need to think more like asset managers. This client made an investment, and we should be guiding that client through managing that investment, not just collecting rent.” To build and manage a winning IBP™️, property managers need an Investor Experience Platform that unlocks scalable product and service customization, digitized onboarding, accounting policy automation, and more. In addition, Investor Experience Platforms provide transparency and convenience for your investors. Here are some of the most valuable services that property managers can offer through an innovative Investor Experience Platform™️. Property insurance program Similar to offering a renters insurance program through an RBP in the lease agreement, property management companies can offer an insurance plan to investors to cut costs and ensure the safety of their assets. Most management agreements will include the requirement that the investor carries insurance on the property and that the property manager is additionally insured. But what if you as the property manager could help manage that for the investor – at scale? Property Insurance for investors should have dynamic pricing based on individual investors’s property portfolio and needs. The benefit beyond flexibility is the savings they’ll see on their premiums while also getting insurance that’s tailored to the needs of their specific property class. At Second Nature, we work primarily with single-family rental properties and small multi-family residences. Property Insurance Programs can bring scale that will drive economic value for the investor over what they could get retail on their own. They’d still have the option to go get their own insurance that meets requirements, but they can pay you a small fee to manage it for them. Rent guarantee An IBP™️ can include a number of financial guarantees to protect property investors and drive ancillary revenue for PMCs. A rent guarantee, or rent protection, ensures a consistent rental income to investors by protecting them against resident defaults or non-payment of rent. If a resident fails to pay rent, the property management company covers the unpaid amount and takes necessary steps for eviction or collection, providing financial security and minimizing the risk for property owners. Rent guarantees work for professional property management companies that have enough properties to balance the loss of rent if a resident doesn’t pay. The risk is low and the additional profit from fees for this guarantee can have a very high ROI, while driving satisfaction and stability for the investor. Plus, if you’re using services in an RBP to help incentivize on-time rent payments, you’ll rarely find yourself out in the cold. Eviction protection guarantee An eviction protection guarantee also goes beyond the normal scope of property management services and can be used as a secondary source of revenue. Eviction Protection is a service provided by property management companies to property investors that offers additional security and financial protection in the event of an eviction. Under this guarantee, the property management company assumes the costs associated with the eviction process, including legal fees and court expenses. It helps alleviate the financial burden on property investors and provides peace of mind by ensuring that they are safeguarded against potential losses resulting from resident evictions. The eviction guarantee helps protect property owners from the complexities and potential costs associated with evictions, ensuring a smooth and efficient resolution to tenant-related issues. Pet guarantees & other guarantees A pet guarantee is a service offered by property management companies to property investors that aims to address any potential issues related to allowing pets in rental properties. It typically involves implementing policies and procedures to ensure responsible pet ownership, such as thorough pet screening, pet agreements, and collecting additional pet deposits or fees. The pet guarantee may also include services like pet damage insurance or assistance with pet-related issues during the lease term. It provides property investors with a framework to accommodate residents with pets while minimizing risks and maintaining the condition of the property. For many residents, finding a pet-friendly apartment increases retention and profitability. They’re willing to stay longer and pay more for a pet-friendly place. And–get this–pet damage is less likely to happen than damage from kids! It’s not a huge risk to the asset, but can provide a big benefit in terms of satisfied, longer-term residents. Maintenance plan Home warranties are a four-letter word for property managers. They’re a massive headache to deal with, and yet there’s high demand for them among property investors. Because of that, most property managers charge a fee for home warranties, for each they have to file. Imagine if there was a world where home warranties weren’t needed. Here’s the thing: Professional property managers already have the vendor network and the know-how to coordinate maintenance jobs. What they don’t usually have is a product that’s priced to give the investor the experience they want. Let’s say right now an investor is paying $50 a month for a cheap home warranty. The warranty only covers 40% of issues and it creates all these extra people and friction in the middle. For anything moderately significant that goes wrong with a property, PMCs generally must contact the investor for permission to get work done. It’s all a massive hassle and loses time in maintenance requests that leave residents frustrated. What if there was a product that costs, say, $150 to $200 a month but it actually covered everything? Instead of having sudden expenses and emergencies, this maintenance plan smooths out the experience and makes it more predictable for the investor. For PMs, it means taking the initiative on fixes without waiting for approval. Imagine a world where you didn’t have to get owner approvals for 95% of maintenance issues – because they’re already budgeted for and already paid for. For residents, it means better maintenance, and faster. Another Triple Win! Asset performance reports Another piece focuses on property managers as asset managers. Think about any investment app, like Robinhood, Acorns, etc. You can log in to these apps any time, 24/7, and see how your stock and investments are performing. In most investment classes, you can see in real time how your assets are performing. Why shouldn’t property investors have that as well? An IBP™️ can include exactly that: a dashboard or online portal that shows investors regular reports on how their property is doing. They could get updates on the value of their home over time, the home price appreciation, rent price over time, and project rent growth, typically maintenance costs and how they’re doing against that, and more. Resident Benefits Package Another piece to include in your IBP™️ is to highlight the benefits of your resident benefits package to your investors. Explain how features like a filter delivery program protect their assets and reduce HVAC repair costs. Show how a renters insurance program can ensure coverage and protection. Give numbers on how credit reporting incentivizes on-time rental payments and helps ensure financially stable renters. Explain how a movie-in concierge saves both time, headache, and money. Each of the pillars of an RBP is critical to encouraging better resident behavior, increasing renter retention and lease renewal rates, reducing vacancies, and more – all primary goals for a property investor. A note about Rent Advance Programs There’s been due buzz about “Rent Advance” offerings, though many advise caution when approaching this financial product. It works in some ways like cash advance programs, which can satisfy urgent needs, but not be more valuable for anyone long term. The way it works is PMs offer to send a year of rent upfront to the investor in a big chunk, and collect monthly from the resident. The investor typically pays a 5-10% premium on the advance, which can be their entire expected return. So the question becomes, where do they put that cash to get a better return instead? Another thing to think about is who would actually use this product. Investors who don’t have enough cash on hand? How does that benefit anyone in the long run? What happens when there’s a big maintenance bill later? Does this encourage better decisions and practices by the investor? To date, there’s been pretty low adoption of this program, which is another sign it may not be hugely beneficial to everyone involved. But plenty of innovations start that way, evolve, and find traction. One case where it might be a value generator is if an investor is looking to take a cash advance and put it toward a down payment for another house. That would benefit the property manager as well, promising more business, and the PM could offer a lower rate for getting more properties to make the financing more attractive than hard money loans or other alternatives. The jury is still out here, it’s an interesting one to track. How Can Investors and Property Managers Benefit From an Investor Experience Platform™️? Investors and property managers can benefit from an Investor Experience Platform™️ in several ways. They’re also great for residents in the sense they build more stability and quality into the renting process. Here are just some of the benefits of an IBP™️. Enhanced investor attraction An Investor Experience Platform™️ provides incentives and advantages that can attract more investors. Financial guarantees and protections against the risks associated with evictions or late payments can increase stability, while services like a maintenance plan can ensure premium care of their property assets without increasing their workload. By offering attractive perks, property managers can differentiate their offerings and generate greater investor interest. Increased investor retention Both IBP™️s and RBPs help build loyalty with residents and investors. By fostering a strong relationship and demonstrating ongoing value, property managers can build trust and loyalty among investors, and retain them over the long term. IBP™️s help establish the stability, transparency, and asset growth for a real estate investment that an investor hopes to achieve. Improved property performance An Investor Experience Platform™️ can also contribute to improved property performance. For example, by offering discounted property management fees or access to professional services at reduced rates, property managers can help investors optimize their returns and reduce costs. Additionally, incentives such as rent guarantees or eviction protection can mitigate risk for investors and attract more capital to the property. Streamlined communication and transparency A well-designed Investor Experience Platform™️ facilitates effective communication and promotes transparency between property managers and investors. This can involve regular reporting on financial performance, property updates, and the sharing of relevant market insights. Transparent and consistent communication builds trust and confidence among investors, fostering a positive and long-lasting relationship. Competitive advantage A comprehensive Investor Experience Platform™️ can give property managers a competitive edge in the market. When investors have access to exclusive benefits and advantages, they are more likely to choose a property managed by a company that offers a compelling package – and to recommend it to others. Say hello to increased investment inflow and a stronger market position for your PMC. Should You Make an Investor Experience Platform™️ Mandatory? The first thing most property managers ask us when we’re talking about an RBP or an IBP™️ is: Should I make this mandatory for all investors or do I make it a flexible opt-in/opt-out program? Unlike RBPs, where best practices are more proven and established, different PMs are taking different approaches with their IBP™️s. Some have a mandatory level of service set at a flat price. Others may say they’re fine offering a base level of service without these differentiated products, giving investors the choice to simply pay a baseline management fee and opt out of the IBP™️ premium service. Some may offer a baseline to all investors and then give them the chance to opt in for premium IBP™️ services. There are a lot of ways to do it. With the RBP, we’ve found that making it mandatory does not generate nearly as much pushback as people expect – and can be a strong value add overall. Final Thoughts About an Investor Experience Platform™️ The Investor Experience Platform™️ is an innovative way to generate ancillary income and create more value for investors and residents. Similar to Second Nature’s premier Resident Benefits Package, the IBP™️ can deliver high-quality service for investor experience – and help create a triple win for investors, residents, and property management companies. The IBP™️ reinforces the value of a professional property management company for investors and helps differentiate you from the crowd. Stay tuned to learn more about the latest in the IBP™️ space, or learn more about how a resident benefits package can launch a whole new level of value for your PMC.

Calendar icon July 17, 2024

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