May through July is a popular season for rental leases to come to an end. Moving the old tenant out and the new tenant in can be a routine experience — so long as last-minute problems don’t cause delays and income loss.
Avoid any chaos by following these effective property management strategies:
1. Stay in Touch with Tenants
Good communication between a landlord and tenant can make all the difference when it comes to turning the property.
It’s key to get started early, by speaking with the exiting tenant. Confirm that the individual is, in fact, aware of the impending deadline and that he or she is planning to move. The last thing you want is a holdover tenant when you’ve promised the unit to someone else.
Contact the tenant at least a month ahead of schedule. If you would like to retain tenants, make it earlier, before they wonder if the grass is greener somewhere else.
2. Educate Tenants So They Avoid Losing Money
Although it may seem counterintuitive, the best situation for a landlord is to give back every dime of the security deposit — because that means the unit was returned on time and in good shape.
Teach your tenants how to do this. Give them some detailed information, a checklist, or offer to visit the property and do a trial run of the move-out inspection, while there is still time to fix any problems.
Turnovers are tricky with long-term tenants. It may be difficult to remember what the property looked like when they first moved in.
Anticipate the roadblocks the tenant will run into when vacating the unit. Be helpful, like passing along the phone numbers for local nonprofits that might accept unwanted items, or trash collection information for larger items that the tenant might otherwise leave on the curb or at the base of the dumpster.
Provide a cleaning checklist or a copy of the move-in and move-out inspection report.
3. Inspect the Unit at Move Out Time
While it’s helpful to do an informal walk-through a few weeks ahead of time, don’t neglect to perform a formal move-out inspection and write up the report. This is a crucial step if you need to enforce your rights at a later time — not only against this tenant, but the new one as well.
Encourage the tenant to be present. Discussions in person at the walk-through can diffuse a tenant dispute later, when it is harder to prove the condition of the property. Always specify a date and time to conduct the walk-through. Make sure all the tenant’s belongings are removed. Allow tenants to make notations on the report and sign off on it, even if they note objections. Take pictures or video the damage.
Collect keys, door openers, and the tenant’s forwarding address.
4. Ask for Feedback
Conducting exit interviews is a great way to find out if there are any property management issues that should be resolved. Whether you have a property manager or you manage hands-on, this is the time when the tenants will be most honest about issues that future tenants may face.
It’s always good to know why the tenant is moving on, and whether that decision had anything to do with the property management service, lack of amenities or the condition of the property. Former tenants are invaluable in planning updates or policy changes that can boost profitability.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.