Consider an Exit Interview for Ex-Tenants

Posted by Teresa on September 28, 2010 under Landlord Tips | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

tenant screening, tenant screening blog, tenant background checkMany human resources managers are fans of the exit interview, where a soon-to-be ex-employee is asked a series of questions about his or her time with the company. They generally use the employee’s feedback to monitor procedures and gain insight into problem areas. Presumably, they will take the information gathered and make improvements.

Some employees use the exit interview as an excuse to unload every frustration about the company, the boss and the co-workers they were doomed to work beside. But most HR folks know that they can be a source of good, honest feedback—after all, with no chance of repercussion, an employee who’s already resigned can be completely honest.

Haven’t you often wondered why your good tenants leave your rental property? Perhaps you routinely ask, but have you considered expanding on the simple “why are you moving?” into your own version of the exit interview? It’s good to know what went wrong and why a good tenant is moving. They are your perfect focus group—they are your target market, passed your screening process and apparently liked your rental property enough to live there. But something made them move. As a landlord, it’s your job to find out why they’re leaving—and how to prevent it next time.

Here are some questions you can ask tenants who are moving out:

  1. Why are you moving? (Obvious, but necessary.)
  2. Where are you going? This question is not intended to elicit an address—remember, you’re not interested in stalking the tenant! You want to know generally where they’re going—across town? Leaving the state?
  3. What do you think about the rent for this unit? Is it fair? Too high? Too low? These answers can tell you what the market will actually bear.
  4. How did you find your new place? This can help you determine where to advertise your new vacancy!
  5. How would you describe your experience renting here? This is an open-ended question that can result in all types of answers.

You may hear an earful about the other tenants. You may hear some unpleasant things about yourself as a landlord. Most likely, it will be a mix of things you can do something about and things you can’t. The goal is to get good feedback on how to improve your rental property to keep good tenants from moving away.