Resident and Tenant Retention Strategies for 2020

With the arrival of the new decade comes new possibilities—and new concerns. For managers of commercial and residential buildings, retaining tenants and residents is a perennial item on the to-do list. Whether it’s adding new high-tech features or fine-tuning procedures, the time is right to take a hard look at retention strategies for 2020.

Despite some unevenness in performance among the major categories, real estate fundamentals are largely stable. Multifamily is thriving and office leasing remains steady. Yet owners and property managers must continuously ask themselves a crucial question: What’s the plan for keeping residents at a community and tenants at an office building? And what factors are informing their decisions?


On the multifamily side of the coin, one big theme runs counter to the much-hyped tech and service features that have emerged in recent years: getting back to basics. It’s the idea that behind flashy fitness centers and voice-activated lights are residents’ fundamental expectations of feeling safe, secure and valued.

The idea is what Mike Gomes, chief experience officer at Cortland, calls the “hierarchy of needs.” His company started a new strategy in 2019 focusing on a resident’s basic requirements.  “If you somehow under-deliver on base expectations, you’ll find that they leave,” he said. Those expectations include such elements as friendly customer service, a functioning security gate, well-lit parking lots and fast turnarounds on maintenance requests.