It’s amazing what people will tell you when they’re leaving. Whether it’s a girlfriend, boyfriend or ex-employee, the act of walking away often brings out what a person really thinks.

Employers use exit interviews to find out how employees really feel about their jobs, the company and their supervisors. Landlords and property managers can also use an exit interview of sorts to gather feedback on how they’re doing.

The advantages of performing an exit interview with tenants are numerous:

  • You’ll know how your property stacks up against the competition.
  • You’ll gain valuable marketing information from your target market. Your ex-tenant is in the income range you’re seeking, passed your tenant screening process, and liked your property enough to move in.
  • You can learn about problems you didn’t know you had.
  • Tenants are likely to be more honest at the end of the tenancy.

The first step is to figure out what you want to learn from your tenants. Beyond “why are you leaving?” you might want to know:

  • Was the maintenance routine adequate?
  • Did repair personnel arrive on time? Were they neat in appearance and polite? Did they clean up properly and respect your belongings?
  • Was safety ever an issue?
  • How do you feel about the rent?
  • Would you recommend your house/apartment to a friend of family member?
  • Did management address your concerns and requests in a timely manner?
  • Did you enjoy your tenancy? Why or why not?
  • What did you most enjoy about the neighborhood/building/complex?
  • What excites you the most about your new place?

Keep in mind, you may hear unpleasant answers to your questions. Remember that your relationship with your tenants is strictly business, not personal. The important thing is to find out what you can do to improve your property, your management practices and your tenants’ experience. Your goal is to keep good tenants longer!