Tenant Surveys: What To Ask and Why

Tenant surveys can be used to evaluate your tenants’ perception and experience with their rental property, the community and neighborhood, amenities, customer service, maintenance, and management.

By asking and listening to your tenants feedback you will be able to increase occupancy, enhance your competitive position, evaluate personnel performance, and improve tenant retention.

What To Ask

Tenant surveys give your residents the opportunity to provide anonymous feedback about what it is like to rent from you.  As a property manager or landlord you will have the chance to examine and change or maintain your behavior to improve your tenants’ rental experience based on their feedback.

Consider asking asking questions about the following topics:

The leasing experience:

  • Ease and convenience of the leasing process
  • Staff was helpful with explaining lease terms and conditions
  • Personal information and moneys were handled securely

The property – interior and exterior:

  • Appearance and condition of the property
  • Common areas
  • Safety
  • Amenities
  • Community features
  • Parking

Staff – management and maintenance:

  • Availability
  • Responsiveness
  • Problem resolution
  • Communication
  • Friendliness


  • Ease of submitting work orders
  • Maintenance requests were handled in a timely and appropriate manner

These are just some ideas for topics to consider when creating your own tenant satisfaction survey.  Each property, tenant and management is unique and will benefit from asking different types of questions.

Remember to consider the length of your survey.  The less time it takes to respond and the easier it is it fill out, usually means you will get more input from respondents.  It might be tempting to ask every question you have ever wanted to know in regards to your property and management but it could be more effective to keep it simple.

Survey Format: Types of Questions and Responses

While yes and no questions are the easiest to answer, they are also not very revealing about what areas need improvement and why.  Open ended questions can expose the most detail on a topic but sometimes respondents won’t take the time to give in-depth feedback.  The other problem with open ended questions involves the time consuming process of compiling actionable data. Try to limit open ended questions to your most important topics and be specific with your questions.

A rating scale gives your tenants the option to select a single rating along an equally spaced continuum of possible choices, in fact, a lot of customer satisfaction surveys use this type of rating scale to evaluate customer experience and opinions.

When To Ask

Tenant surveys can be conducted annually for all current residents or during the exit process when a tenant is vacating the property.

There are a couple things to consider when asking at the end of lease term :

  1. Tenants might not provide feedback because they are too busy during the move out process.
  2. Tenants might not provide feedback because they have nothing to gain from changes that you will make in the future.

Conducting an annual tenant survey, gives you an opportunity to administer multiple forms at once and compile all the data at one time.

How To Get Tenants To Participate

While it can be frowned upon to provide incentives for getting reviews on external websites, offering an incentive or reward to tenants who anonymously participate in the survey is a good way to get your tenants to give you feedback.  Types of survey incentives could be rent discounts, gift cards, or raffle drawing for a new TV or tablet.  You also need to properly promote the survey and your incentive to get the best return on responses.

The trick is to keep responses anonymous so you still get honest feedback from your tenants.  Whether you have a physical form that tenants fill out or use an online platform, you should be able to get anonymous participation.  You can provide participants with a code after participating that lets them confirm involvement without revealing their specific answers so they can be included in the reward

How To Conduct Surveys

Online software provides easy ways to conduct inexpensive surveys that have powerful reporting features to better analyze responses and take action.  Companies like Survey Monkey give great advice on types of questions to ask, which responses are the most useful for your industry, and even have a free version to create and administer online surveys. Online surveys let you reach multiple tenants at once and are great for annual surveys at multifamily properties. Other options include paper surveys that are returned to you via mail in or drop off.

What To Do With The Information

Surveys will only be as valuable as how you handle the information you receive.  Surveys can help you evaluate your performance as a manager, landlord and property in order to stay competitive and keep occupancy high.



About the Author: Kaycee manages marketing and media relations for Rentec Direct, bringing a unique perspective to the world of property management and proudly shares industry news, products, and trends within the community