Reasons for Leaving an Apartment

Dec 30th 2023
One of the most challenging aspects of owning a rental property is dealing with vacancies. Tenants may decide to leave an apartment for many reasons that may be financial, practical, or just a matter of preference. Here are a few common reasons tenants decide to leave and what you can do as a landlord.

hash-mark10 Reasons Tenants Leave Apartments

The Rent is Increasing

You may be planning on increasing the rent at the end of the lease term to keep up with inflation. However, always remember that rent increases may cause a tenant to leave if they believe the new rent is unreasonable or they can’t afford it. While raising the rent may be unavoidable, you should carefully consider how much you plan to raise it and maybe have a conversation with your tenants before the increase to see if you can find a middle ground.

The Financial Situation Changed

Even if you don’t raise the rent, a tenant may be forced to downgrade if their financial situation suddenly takes a turn for the worse. Maybe they lost their job or took on an unexpected debt like a large medical bill and can no longer afford the rent. If they’ve otherwise been a good tenant, you could offer to reduce the rent until they get back on their feet if you think it would be easier than finding a new renter. Or if you own any other units with a cheaper rent, you could offer them a new place to stay.

There's Been a Change of Life

Changes in a person’s housing situation often accompany a change of life. Perhaps they recently got married and want to move in with their spouse, or they just had a baby and want to move to the suburbs. Depending on the circumstances, there may not be much you can do as a landlord. But you can always try to negotiate or offer an upgrade to get them to stay. You could also offer them a larger apartment if you happen to have another vacancy, and it will accommodate their new situation.

New Job

Changes in employment are another common reason tenants decide to relocate. Maybe they got a job at a new company across town and want to move somewhere with a shorter commute. Perhaps they got a promotion at their current job and want to upgrade their lifestyle. If the move is location-related, you may be out of luck unless you happen to own another building in the perfect spot. But you could always offer to throw in an upgrade, such as new appliances or an in-unit washer and dryer, if the tenant is looking for a nicer space.

Lost a Roommate

Some tenants are forced to move because they lost a roommate. This could be due to the ending of a romantic relationship if they lived with their partner but recently broke up. It could also be a situation of friends or random strangers where one roommate decides they want to move, and the others can’t afford the rent without them. In this situation, you have a few options. You could help them find a new roommate who will be willing to take care of the missing portion of the rent. You could also offer to reduce the rent temporarily until they are able to find a new roommate if you’d rather keep the existing tenants than try to fill the entire apartment.

Need a Bigger Space

Tenants often move because they want more square footage, either because they recently welcomed a new addition to their family or because they started making more money and want the opportunity to move around. In this case, you could offer them a larger apartment if you have one in your portfolio. You could also offer upgrades such as new carpeting or a fresh paint job that may convince them to stay put a while longer.

Want to Live in a New Location

It’s common for tenants to move simply because they want to live in a new neighborhood to experience the culture or escape crime. Depending on where they’re planning on moving, you may just need to look for a new tenant. But if you own another building across town, you could offer them a change of scenery at a new price.

Bought a New Pet

Pet lovers are often forced to move if they decide to adopt a new animal, which goes against the policies of the building. Even if the pet is allowed, they may choose to move if they need more space or access to a yard. If you don’t think the pet will be a nuisance, you could offer to change your pet policies if you’d prefer to keep the tenant. You could also offer them access to an outdoor space if you have the ability and think it might convince them to stay.

Don’t Get Along with the Neighbors

Many tenants decide to move simply because they can’t get along with the neighbors. Some tenants can be inconsiderate of the other residents of the building and may play loud music or have parties late at night. Sometimes, personalities just clash, and neighbors just don’t get along. As a landlord, you should address any behavior that is disturbing other tenants, especially if it’s causing other paying renters to leave. However, if it’s more of a personal disagreement, you can try to mitigate it as best you can, but there may be only so much you can do.

There are Maintenance Issues

Tenants will often choose to leave an apartment due to deferred maintenance. If there is a leaky roof or a pest infestation in the building, tenants will likely start to leave until the issue is addressed. It’s your responsibility as a landlord to perform routine maintenance and respond to any requests from tenants. If the tenant is upset over a brand-new issue, try to address it as quickly as possible and maybe offer them an incentive to stay if needed, such as a free month’s rent.

hash-markReasons for Leaving an Apartment Bottom Line

Tenants choose to relocate for a range of different reasons. As a landlord, there are some you can respond to and others that may be out of your control. When in doubt, you can always negotiate or throw in an upgrade to convince them to stay. But ultimately, vacancies are inevitable when you own a rental property, so always prepare accordingly.