4 Ways To Stay In Touch With Your New Student Renters

By Julia D on July 31, 2018

The hard part is over. You’ve managed to fill your vacant units with great student renters, and you’re ready to start off on a great foot. Once your new student renters are all settled into their apartments, you might wonder about the best way to stay in touch with them. It’s helpful to stay in regular contact with your student renters so that they feel comfortable reporting problems to you, asking questions about the property and surrounding areas, and most of all, that they feel supported in their living space.

Here are four ways to stay in touch with your new student renters:

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

1. Implement a portal for your property

Some landlords who own apartment complexes or closed communities (such as gated ones) like to use a portal for communicating with residents. ActiveBuilding, for instance, is an online platform that renters can use to send messages to all residents at once. If you’re throwing a summer block party, post it on the portal. If you want residents to file maintenance requests in a single spot, ask them to submit issues on the portal. The interface also allows you to post tenants’ rent and utility bills that they can pay online through the portal. If you’re interested in a one-stop shop-style platform that can manage nearly everything you associate with managing tenants, a portal like ActiveBuilding or others might be the solution.

2. Hold “tenant appreciation” events

If you’re just looking to get to know your student renters a bit better in a more casual setting, consider throwing more community-building events for your residents. This can be as simple as ordering a few pizzas and sending out an invitation to come out to the courtyard for dinner.

You can make these events as casual or elaborate as you like. College students love free food–appealing to their needs can increase the turnout at your events! Emphasizing that your events will be drop-in style will also entice busy students who would otherwise feel pressured to stay for the entire duration of the event. If you make things easy on potential attendees, more of them will actually show up.

3. Make a Facebook group or mass email list

Need a place to send widespread announcements or gather input from tenants? If you’re not using a portal, consider inviting residents to join a closed Facebook group for your community only. You can also just create a mass email list or Google group including all of your tenants, which makes it easy to update the community on the new LED lights you’re hoping to install in the hallways or remind tenants not to overfill the garbage bins. Gmail and Facebook are both easy, no-fuss ways to stay in touch with your new student renters and disseminate information.

4. Hold check-ins with tenants or distribute surveys

Some landlords are especially attuned to residents’ quality of life, and others have room for improvement. To ensure you are a responsive and receptive property manager yourself, consider holding check-ins with your tenants over the phone or in person. These could be 5 minutes long, and you don’t even have to make them mandatory (although you’ll gather much more data this way).

You can even tailor the check-in to certain topics as needed. For instance, if you’re considering major renovations or upgrades to the property, you can focus on gathering feedback for that particular project. Alternatively, if you simply want to know whether you are doing a solid job managing your tenants’ needs, hold the check-in as an open space for tenants to raise their own concerns or volunteer miscellaneous feedback on their experience.

You may want to come up with a list of points or questions you want to ask your student tenants. Share these questions with tenants ahead of the check-in if you want them to think over their answers. Consider the following:

  • “On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you living here?”

  • “What is your favorite/least favorite part of living here?”

  • “Do you feel satisfied with the amount of time it takes our management to respond to maintenance requests?”

  • “What is working especially well for you in your apartment/in our living community? What isn’t working well?

  • “Are there any other issues you would like to share?”

If you don’t have time to hold in-person check-ins, you might convert these questions into a survey that your student renters can fill out. Give them a fairly open time frame in which to complete them, such as three weeks, and allow for the surveys to be optionally anonymous; some people may want to be identified with their feedback, while others might feel more comfortable delivering honest feedback anonymously.

Staying in touch with your student renters doesn’t have to require a lot of energy or time. Try out different methods to see which works for you, your tenants, and your lifestyle.

By Julia Dunn

Uloop Writer
UC Santa Cruz
A writer, editor and educator based in Northern California.

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