In his recent Multifamily Insider's blog post, Brent Williams poses the question, "How do we treat residents who have turned in their notice to vacate?" This raises some excellent questions and suggests opportunities to make good connections with the housing industry that could provide a monetary incentive for referrals. Makes sense. In my opinion it makes sense in lots of ways. I haven't lived in an apartment for a number of years, but I do remember how I was treated when I was there. I would never recommend my former community to someone I liked.
Residents are a strong source of referrals and if you suddenly ignore them after they turn in their notice, that bad taste can sour any chance of future referrals. In my network of relationships, there is frequently someone looking for an apartment to rent. And they're asking for suggestions. Just last week, I got an email from friends who've been living in Thailand for a few years. They're moving back and want my suggestions on apartment communities in their new location. I care about them. I want them to live in a place where they'll be well cared for and able to connect to the community.
No resident wants to feel like a means to your end. Most understand that you're running a business, but it's also their home. If you've been successful at creating a sense of community for your residents, they'll be disappointed to discover you really only liked them for their rent revenue. And word spreads quickly.