To catch high-quality tenants and improve revenue, some property owners count on popular strategies like offering incentives such as “free” cable. And in the past, tenants have opted to pay the extra cost. Yet, as public demand for cable TV diminishes, some Richmond property managers are beginning to contemplate if it might be time to cut the cord on their rental home’s cable TV. Let’s talk about some pros and cons of keeping or terminating your rental property’s cable TV service.
Cable on the Way Out?
According to a 2021 survey, 56% of Americans say they watch cable or satellite TV. Compare that to 76% who said the same thing in 2015. Paid TV is predicted to lose 5.1 million customers in 2020 alone while streaming services have continued to grow. Streaming services like Netflix (75 million subscribers), Amazon Prime (50 million subscribers), and Disney+ (45 million subscribers) have become the major alternatives to cable for many users.
At the same time, however, more than half of Americans still watch or pay for cable, showing that while streaming services are growing popular, many still prefer cable services. Due to this, before you start cutting your rental property’s cable TV, you need to consult with your tenants about their wants and needs.
Time to Cut the Cord – or Not?
Including cable TV in your rental rate seems reasonable for several locations and demographics. As an illustration, if your target renters include huge sports fans, they are more likely to ask for live television services and would often eagerly pay a little more rent to have it included.
Many tenants dislike signing up for cable services that will lock them into long-term contracts because they are unsure of how long they will stay in the home. Additionally, they may not like the hassle of contacting customer service every time something goes wrong. For these tenants, a rental home willing to offer cable TV gives a major incentive to pay a little extra to avoid any inconvenience.
On the other hand, younger tenants may or may not consider an offer of “free” cable worth a higher rent. And this is backed up by recent survey data. For instance, 81% of Americans age 65 and older say they still have cable service, while only 34% of American age 18 to 29 do. Streaming services are becoming the go-to choice for many who find cable TV lacking viewing options. Even though streaming services include costs, several young people will share a subscription or sign up selectively to save money. Streaming services grant these users the freedom to select when to sign up or cancel if they need.
Property owners often have good reason to include cable TV as part of the rent. For example, internet providers will usually bundle internet service and cable TV, lowering the cost of both. Providing internet service and cable TV for specific areas and demographics may give property owners a competitive edge. The quickest way to find out if offering cable TV is the best option for your situation is to ask your tenants. They can inform you better than anyone what the expectations are and how tenants could adapt to including “free” cable TV.
If you’ve conversed with your tenants and they indicate that they don’t want cable TV, it may be possible to discontinue your cable service temporarily while leaving the cables intact. Depending on the service provider, you may be able to suspend or even cancel service rather simply, saving you the expense of paying for it each month. Then, if you choose, you could propose a little lower rent or pocket the savings.
Deciding whether to maintain cable TV service at your Richmond rentals is a tough call. Imagine life if you employed Real Property Management Pacific to manage your portfolio and make those difficult decisions for you, all while you enjoy passive income! Contact us online to learn more.
Originally published on Nov 1, 2019
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