For Landlords: Prepare for your new tenants...
It’s that time of year again –– the busy season for landlords. As summer approaches and leases turn over, you’re busy handling the move-out of one renter, attracting and screening the next batch, and finally –– you’ve made it. It’s time for your newest tenants to move-in. Here are the best tips for landlords.
You may be wondering –– what’s next? You’re not alone. While the finish line is in sight, you’re not done yet. Yes, you have a signed lease with a vetted, quality tenant, but there are still several items you’ll need to take care of before move-in.
Review The Property
Before your last tenants vacated the property, you should have conducted a pre-move out rental inspection, so you should have a pretty good grasp on what you’re walking into, but things happen. You should always review the property again after move-out so you can accurately assess if any damage occurred during move out.
Repair Any Wear & Tear
Provided the property hasn’t been damaged in any way; you still have a bit of work to do. The new lessees should not inherit normal wear and tear from the last tenants. That means touching up paint where it’s warranted, replacing any flickering light bulbs, and the like. Of course, you should (and must) also clean the unit thoroughly. Whether you do it personally or hire a service is up to you, but the property must be cleaned and sanitized between renters.
Troubleshoot Any Potential Issues
Before a tenant moves in, you’ll want to ensure all utilities are working. Check that the heat and air conditioning flows properly to all rooms. Confirm that there are no leaks in the plumbing or slow-moving drains. Test each outlet to ensure that it is operational.
Now is also a great time to make improvements that have been lurking on your to-do list. Sure, you already leased the property, and the tenant won’t necessarily be expecting the upgrades, but what an excellent way to surprise them and encourage them to renew their lease.
Before a new tenant moves in, you should always change the locks on all doors. This helps ensure the safety of the tenant and protect you from liability. You can either rekey your current lock or consider adding an upgrade here with keyless entry. A simple code will allow your tenants to enter the unit, and it will set you up for a free, quick change of locks, or in this case code, for any subsequent renters. Tenants will also appreciate the convenience of entering their home without a key.
Collect the Security Deposit
Prior to giving your tenants keys to your unit, you’ll need to ensure you have a security deposit. You should have collected it, along with the first month’s rent, when they signed the lease. However, if you did not, now is the time to do it.
Review the Move-In Checklist, Twice
On the actual move-in day, you should walk the property alone to make a note of how everything looks. Note each room’s condition and even take pictures. Then, do the same walkthrough with the tenant, having him or her sign off and date this checklist.
This is crucial since it allows you to compare the condition of the property when the tenant moves in to the shape of the property when he or she moves out.
While it may seem unnecessary to walk through the property and review the rental property checklist twice, it’s important. You’ll want to take a look on your own so you can ensure everything is up to your standards. Then, you’ll know everything is in order when you and the tenant go through the checklist together.
Ideally, you have an electronic lease, so your tenant has access to the lease, rules, and procedures at all times. It’s also helpful to remind new tenants on move-in day via email of expectations, including when and how to contact you. You should provide a phone number where you can be reached and clearly state that you treat your property as a business, so please only call you during business hours unless there is a real emergency.