Dealing with Tenant Turnover: Navigating the Rental Landlord’s Challenges

Have you ever found yourself suddenly saying goodbye to a tenant and then wondering what comes next? Due to fluctuating demand, sometimes a rental property can experience rapid change with tenants coming and going. Whether you are a newcomer to landlord life or a seasoned veteran, tenant turnover can present a number of unique challenges. This article explores the steps for successfully navigating tenant turnover as a rental landlord.

What is Tenant Turnover?

Tenant turnover, also known as tenant churn, refers to the rate at which tenants move out of a rental property or portfolio of properties. This rate is calculated by dividing the number of tenants leaving each month or quarter by the total number of tenants in the portfolio at the start of the period. Turnover rates can be used to study a variety of factors, such as how long it takes to fill a vacancy, as well as why tenants may be leaving in the first place.

Why Tenant Turnover Matters for Landlord

Tenant turnover can have serious financial implications for rental landlords. When a tenant moves out, it can take time and money to find a new tenant and re-fill the vacancy. Additionally, vacancy periods can lead to loss of rental income, and rents need to be set high enough to cover that loss. Tenant turnover can also negatively impact a rental property’s reputation, making it more difficult to attract and maintain tenants, as well as increase maintenance costs. As such, tenant turnover should be monitored closely and landlords should be prepared to respond to high turnover rates when they arise.

What Causes Tenant Turnover?

There are several potential reasons why tenants may decide to leave a rental property. Common reasons include:

  • Relocation for work or family reasons
  • Lack of amenities or features
  • High rental costs
  • Unsatisfactory quality of property
  • Poor management or maintenance
  • The landlord-tenant relationship

When tenant turnover is higher than anticipated, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause. However, conducting surveys and gathering feedback from tenants can help landlords to better understand why tenants may be leaving and take steps to create a more tenant-centric rental property.

Tips for Dealing with Tenant Turnover

Although tenant turnover can pose a challenge, there are a number of strategies landlords can use to make the turnover process as smooth as possible. Here are some tips for dealing with tenant turnover:

1. Keep Open Lines of Communication

Renting property is an interpersonal relationship and communication is key. To build a good rapport with tenants, landlords should make an effort to stay in contact and let tenants know they are available to address any issues they may have. Keeping open lines of communication can also help to build trust and encourage tenants to stay longer.

2. Implement a Tenant Retention Strategy

One of the best ways to reduce tenant turnover is to have a tenant retention strategy in place. This includes offering incentives and rewards to tenants in order to encourage them to stay longer, such as discounts on rent or offering complimentary services. Additionally, landlords should also regularly review their rental policies and make sure they are up-to-date and fair to all parties involved.

3. Make Use of Online Resources

Making use of online resources can also help landlords to manage tenant turnover. These include tenant screening services that allow landlords to quickly and easily find out more about potential tenants, as well as rental listing websites that can help landlords to easily find new tenants to fill vacancies.

4. Have a Contingency Plan

Having a contingency plan in place can help landlords to more effectively manage tenant turnover. This involves anticipating potential problems and having a strategy in place on how to handle them should they arise. For instance, landlords should have a procedure in place for conducting property inspections when tenants move out, as well as a plan to quickly re-market the rental should a vacancy occur.

5. Stay Up-to-Date with the Law

Finally, landlords should also make sure they are familiar with state and federal rental laws in order to remain compliant. This ensures landlords are up-to-date with their responsibilities when it comes to tenant turnover and can more easily navigate any issues that may arise.


Tenant turnover can be a challenge for rental landlords, but with the right strategies in place, it can be managed effectively. By staying in contact with tenants, implementing a tenant retention strategy, taking advantage of online resources, having a well-thought-out contingency plan, and staying informed on the law, landlords can overcome any tenant turnover challenges and maintain a successful rental business.

This article provides an informative overview of what tenant turnover is and why it’s important for landlords to be prepared to deal with it. With these tips, you’ll have the knowledge and resources to successfully navigate tenant turnover and ensure a smooth transition for all parties involved.

How long does tenant turnover take?

Tenant turnover time can vary greatly depending on the size and condition of the rental property, as well as the readiness of both the tenant and the landlord. On average, most tenant turnover processes can take anywhere from two weeks to six weeks, or even longer.

What is the average time it takes to turnover an apartment unit?

The average time it takes to complete a unit turnover is between 3 and 5 days, with additional time needed for any major maintenance or painting. Factors such as the condition of the unit, number of occupants, and number of items to be removed can affect the turnover time.

What is included in apartment turnover?

Apartment turnovers usually involve a thorough cleaning of the entire unit, along with completing any necessary repairs or maintenance work. Sometimes this may include repainting, minor electrical repairs, replacing broken fixtures, and deep cleaning of the carpets, floors, and walls. Additionally, apartments may be “staged” with new furniture, electronics, or appliances to make them attractive and appealing to potential new renters.

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