For many people, home is synonymous with comfort, warmth and family; it’s a place you want to stay in for a while.

That’s why smaller apartment communities are special. While they may lack the suite of amenities offered by large multifamily corporate housing, they can provide a familiar, more intimate setting for people. After all, not all tenants want to feel like they’re just another renter.

On the other hand, simply having a small multifamily property isn’t enough. You need to create a sense of community if you want quality renters to renew their leases every year.

So how do you turn a perceived limitation into your biggest strength? Read on…

Use the right tech

You don’t have the resources of a big corporate community, so why act like it? Don’t worry about extravagant amenities. As a small property, all you need is technology to make the business of renting easier and family-like.

Whether it’s paying rent online or streamlining the renewal process, remove the cumbersome red tape of submitting a check or filing excessive paperwork—those are the kinds of things you might expect from a large community with bloated infrastructure. Instead, use a reliable platform like On-Site’s Resident Passport so renters can reach you quickly on their phones or with their favorite device.

Host events

Home isn’t just a location; it’s about the people who live there. Residents who know their neighbors are more likely to stick around at renewal time, so create opportunities for them to socialize.

Whether it’s a barbecue in the common area or movie night in your lobby, allow those neighborly relationships to bloom. Does your “family” share common interests? Host “play time” for communities with a large population of children, or happy hour for young professionals.

Once renters become friendly at an event, they’re more likely to socialize on their own and watch out for each other (e.g., collect the mail when a neighbor goes out of town; walk the dog of your friend down the hall when he has to work late).

Be personable

It’s important for leasing teams in any community to be friendly, but the stakes are higher for smaller properties. You have the chance to give more one-on-one attention to your renters, and get to know them. Say hello when you see them in the lobby, or send a message every now and then to each renter and make sure he’s enjoying his rental experience.

If possible, try to hire team members at every level who share your dedication to creating a friendly, family environment. Your leasing agents should be personable, but so should your maintenance and landscaping staff. Encourage them to greet tenants and listen to their concerns. Make renters feel like they’re connected to your community through every interaction with your on-site work force.

Snap-to on maintenance requests

If you want to highlight the family vibe in your community, it’s important that you’re always available to your renters—especially when it comes to maintenance. Nothing makes them feel less supported than a delayed response to an un-plungeable toilet. As a small community, you’re in a unique position to treat tenants’ maintenance needs like they’re your own. You wouldn’t live without hot water for a week before fixing the water heater, would you?

Also, follow up after the job is done. Send an email, make a call or even stop by for some quick facetime and show your concern. Prove that you’re not just interested in patching the problem and moving on. You’re genuinely interested in their well-being.

If you offer renters the kind of prompt service that you’d give to your own family, they’ll be more likely to renew their lease on the home that they love.