The Ultimate Guide to Tenant Satisfaction Surveys

By: on January 27, 2020

The biggest hurdle to overcome when conducting a tenant satisfaction survey is designing it, so we’ve come up with several question examples that cover some of the most important aspects of your property as a starting point.

We surveyed 144 renters and 74 property managers about their experiences with tenant satisfaction surveys so that you can use what other landlords and property managers like yourself have thought were important to create the most useful survey possible.

What is a tenant satisfaction survey?

A tenant satisfaction survey is conducted to help property managers and landlords get feedback from their residents to improve their property and ultimately increase tenant satisfaction and retention.

You should aim to run at least one near the beginning of the year. Try to avoid surveying tenants as soon as they sign their lease or when they’re in the process of leaving because they have a lot of things happening and are less likely to actually fill out the survey.

One of the most effective ways to get your tenants to provide feedback is to offer an incentive. By offering some sort of prize for completing the survey, you’re much more likely to get feedback which will lead to a more complete picture of where your property can improve.

Something as small as movie tickets or as large as a TV are good options, and all it takes is for one tenant to re-sign their lease based on the property improvements to make that investment worth it.

What questions to ask on your tenant satisfaction survey

We asked your fellow property managers what types of questions they asked on their tenant surveys, and maintenance was the primary concern for property managers, with rent pricing being a distant second:

Common tenant satisfaction survey questions

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that maintenance request resolution is and will continue to be one of the main contributing factors to tenant satisfaction; one bad maintenance issue could be all it takes for a tenant to decide to move on from your property. But what exactly should you be asking to ensure tenant satisfaction—with maintenance requests and beyond?

We’ve broken down the questions you should ask into three categories:

1. Maintenance

Completing maintenance requests in a timely manner is one of the most crucial aspects of keeping good tenants around longer because, as you know, all it takes is one negative experience for a tenant to begin thinking about finding a new place to live. Survey results are a great place to start improving your maintenance request system.

  • I’m able to submit maintenance requests with ease
  • Maintenance and work orders are handled completely with great quality
  • Maintenance requests and work orders are completed in a timely manner
  • I’ve never had any issues with maintenance being completed in your unit

2. Property conditions

Asking tenants about how they feel about communal spaces (pools, fitness centers, smart lockers, etc.) and their lodging is a great way to get a more holistic view about what features are most important for your them.

  • I’m satisfied with the overall condition of the property
  • The interior rooms are comfortable and updated
  • The appliances are well-maintained and functional
  • The exterior is kept clean and well landscaped
  • The common areas and facilities are clean and open
  • I feel safe and secure on the property
  • The community features (insert your features) are valuable and improve my living situation
  • Parking is not an issue for me or guests

3. Customer service

Having a friendly staff goes a long way in keeping around the tenants you want. Asking for feedback about how your staff is perceived is an excellent way to either improve your customer experience or to understand what’s being done right so you can keep your tenants happy.

  • I feel that management makes themselves available to help you and answer questions
  • Management is responsive when I have a problem or question
  • What is your perception of management’s efficiency in problem resolution?
  • There’s a good line of communication between you and managements
  • Management is polite, friendly, and helpful
  • How can management be improved?

Remember—these ideas are only meant as a jumping-off point. Overloading your tenants with questions reduces the chance they will actually complete the survey. You know your property best, so include only the most pressing issues you want feedback on.

Pro tip: When forming your survey, avoid yes or no questions. Don’t ask “Are maintenance requests performed quickly?” Instead, model your questions like this:

Tenant satisfaction survey question example

By asking more open-ended questions, you’ll receive more honest, helpful opinions on which to base your decisions.

Why you should run a tenant satisfaction survey

Overall, renters seemed receptive to taking tenant satisfaction surveys. Even though only 29% of those asked had ever taken a survey, those who did had more confidence in their property managers.

Tenant satisfaction survey result

As you can see, a majority of those surveyed were confident their survey responses would lead to positive change in the property. As long as you follow up on the feedback provided, you should gain a nice boost in tenant confidence which, ultimately, leads to higher tenant satisfaction and retention.

Additionally, the landlords and property managers who conducted surveys used them to great success to improve their property.

Impact of tenant satisfaction surveys

It’s not surprising to see that better communication surrounding maintenance requests and maintenance staff is the top improvement. If you’ve found that maintenance issues plague your property, you might want to think about getting better property management software with improved maintenance ticketing functionality.

That way, you’ll provide your tenants with greater transparency surrounding each of their maintenance requests. From submitting the ticket to having their problem solved, they’ll be able to get updates each step of the way.

Using your tenant satisfaction survey results

When you get your survey results back, take them seriously and keep an open mind. You may find out that certain aspects of your property aren’t nearly as successful as you thought they were, and you might even find out that your tenants’ perception of you is more negative than you imagined.

That’s okay though! The point of running a survey is to make small improvements to ensure your current tenants feel heard and decide to resign. It also makes it so every new tenant you sign is treated to your new and improved property.

There’s more great news: most of the communication and maintenance issues that pop up around a property can be solved by property management software.

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