How to drive renewals at every step of the renter experience

Foster genuine relationships with your renters to incentivize lease renewal

5 min readFeb 17, 2021


Getting renters to renew their lease is a high-stakes game. Vacancies can cost between $2500 and $5000 for some properties, and even the most attractive units can get stuck on the market. Today’s property owners and managers can employ retention strategies at many points throughout the lease term with near-immediate impact.

We’ve provided some tips at three specific moments during the lease term, but you should test out strategies at multiple touchpoints to find what works best for your communities.

1. Move-in: Retention strategies that you can start early

Believe it or not, your retention strategies can begin on the very first day of a lease. Making a good first impression with your renters will be an important jump-start in creating the types of relationships that actually result in renewals. Renters will remember if the process of getting settled was inconvenient and challenging. They’ll also remember if your site teams went above and beyond in making things easier for them. Try some of these tactics out within your communities:

Create an FAQ sheet with answers that apply throughout the lease term

Include everything you can think of, even if it seems insignificant. You can include information like:

  1. What to expect at move-in
  2. How to pay rent
  3. A breakdown of fees
  4. How to submit maintenance requests
  5. Who to call in case of emergencies

If a renter has a question about anything related to move-in, they’ll appreciate being able to find it there. Even if they don’t have a question, they’ll appreciate having this sheet to refer back to throughout their lease.

Offer concessions that actually make a difference for renters

Providing concessions at move-in helps you attract more applicants all while staying in the green. Renters will always respond positively to saving money, so it’s up to you to figure out how to do this in a sustainable way. In the past, owners offered deals on rent, but now there are more sustainable tactics to create the same demand for your homes.

Because upfront costs are one of the main reasons renters hesitate when considering a move, owners now have access to risk-free options to lower move-in costs for renters without harming their leasing process or your leasing performance. Owners who offer Rhino’s security deposit insurance report increased rates of renter satisfaction across the board.

Celebrate resident approval

It may feel procedural for you and your team, but approval is a big deal for renters. Making sure they feel celebrated in this moment can help you connect with renters and build positive sentiment. We’ve seen owners do this in all sorts of ways, including handwritten notes, small gift baskets, free trials of community facilities, and more. Get creative and it just might pay off.

2. Throughout the lease: Checking in regularly and meaningfully

Your renters shouldn’t only hear from you when they move in or when it’s time to pay rent. It’s often beneficial for site teams to use surveys and newsletters to make renters feel informed about what’s happening in their communities. While newsletters are a good way to let renters know you’re communicating with them because you want to and not because you have to, the real opportunity for owners is to use surveys to create enthusiasm around renewal. Try using surveys in the following ways:

1. Learn how to make your communities better: Ask renters what they like and don’t like, or what they’d like to see added to community offerings. When renters feel like their input matters, they’re more likely to stick around.

2. Gauge interest in renewal specifically: Try sending “Renewal Interest” surveys to your renters somewhere between the six and nine-month mark in their lease. You can even combine this survey with a “six-month celebration,” reminding renters that they moved in exactly half a year prior. Use this opportunity to ask renters about their general interest in renewal as well as gather feedback on what might convince them to stay if they’re still unsure.

3. Approaching renewal: Making things as simple as possible

The renewal moment should be as straightforward as possible for your renters. If you can make this moment feel clear, predictable, and low-effort, it will undoubtedly work in your favor. Here are some strategies you can use to ensure clarity and effectiveness at this pivotal point.

The 90-, 60-, 30-day countdown

Remind your renters that their opportunity to renew is quickly approaching. Keeping renewal top of mind helps renters think through the process gradually, as opposed to being rushed into a decision.

Remind renters of all the ways you’ve helped them throughout the year

Send out “year in review” messages to remind your renters of all of the efforts and initiatives you’ve carried out during their time at your communities. Even if they weren’t directly affected by every initiative you include, it still makes them feel as if they’re part of an active community. There’s nothing wrong with callbacks to bright spots of the year, and these could be the difference in persuading a renter not to move out.

Find tangible incentives to renew

Attractive incentives can help you create the motivation to renew, even if it didn’t exist before. Try offering some perks to renters. Examples include a month’s reduced rent, parking spaces, or access to new amenities. Owners can also sign renters up for Rhino at lease renewal and return their cash deposits. Whatever you choose, sweetening the deal can be very effective.

Putting renters first doesn’t have to take large, coordinated efforts. Show renters you care in small, actionable ways and it could make a huge difference on your bottom line. Learn more about how Rhino is the renter friendly security deposit insurance.



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