Summertime is a popular time to end a lease. Move-out time can go like clockwork, or it can deteriorate into utter chaos, with items left behind, last minute damage, and dirty units. If you’ve ever had to scramble to mop up the last tenant’s mess before your new tenant takes over, then you know that ample planning is key to recovering your rental unit in prime condition.
Communication With Tenants is Crucial
The first important step in planning for a turnover is communicating with the exiting tenant at least one month ahead of lease termination.
If you want to retain this tenant, then contact should be made at least two months ahead, before the person begins to look around for another rental home.
Confirm that the tenant is planning to move at lease end. While holdover tenants are not always a bad idea, it’s preferable to renew the lease agreement so the tenancy runs for another full term rather than defaulting to a month-to month-arrangement where the tenant can choose the timing for your next vacancy.
Holdovers can be a costly problem if you were under the impression that the unit would be available, and have already promised the unit to the next tenant. That’s not something you’ll want to discover on the day the new tenant plans to move in.
Show Tenants How to Avoid Income Loss
Remind tenants what they need to do to get their security deposits back or avoid a monetary judgements for damage to the property. Be specific and offer details.
Tenants who have remained at a property for a year or more may have become accustomed to the way things are; they may not remember the condition of the unit when they moved in.
One effective strategy is to offer the tenant a consultation walk-through where you can identify any issues the tenant would need to address before the final move-out and any assessments against them.
It also is helpful to provide resources, like information about large-item drop offs and local charities that accept household goods or furnishings that the tenant would otherwise abandon, along with a cleaning checklist that tracks the move-in condition report.
Move-Out Condition Inspection a Must — Even for Tenants Who Stay
Plan a specific date and time to conduct the final walk-through to record the condition of the property. It is preferable that the tenant be present and sign the move-out condition inspection report. Tenants should be allowed to note any objections they have on the report. Take pictures or video the damage.
For a final inspection, it is crucial that all of the tenant’s possessions are out of the unit. Otherwise, strategically placed items could camouflage damage to the property.
Even in cases where the tenant is going to stay on, it is important to conduct an inspection and look for items of damage or repair issues, so that these do not grow into bigger problems. Don’t allow years to pass without inspecting the unit.
Always end a tenancy with the tenant’s new address. You have little time to account for any security deposit, and you might need to track down the tenant for unpaid bills, recently-discovered damage or other losses.
Conduct exit interviews at the end of each tenancy. If you used a property management company, these more candid interviews are an excellent way of evaluating the person who is representing you. For hands-on landlords, an exit interview shows how you stack up next to your competitors. Ask why the tenant is leaving, and whether he or she has any useful suggestions regarding how you can improve your service. In the end, that will improve your bottom line.
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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.