How to Prepare for Tenant Turnover

By Jacob Lundquist

Tenant move-outs can be extremely stressful. Though you might think it’s too early to begin preparing, be wary of time slipping through your fingertips! Getting ahead of the moving curve can ensure a smooth and stress-free turns session.

Some of these tips require preparation far in advance. For instance, setting out a clear and concise lease is super important—make sure that your lease outlines the details of who pays for what, cleans what, and repairs what. This makes move-outs much simpler, as you can prepare for what renovations or deep-cleans you will need to do.

A clear and concise lease will also spell out the tenant move-out notice, usually at least 60 days in advance, in order to give you ample time to begin your repairs and cleanings. This notice is also incredibly important because it gives you the opportunity to begin looking, in full force, for a new tenant to take that spot.

Similarly, it’s critical that you keep up with maintenance requests. Being proactive about maintenance, taking care of it as problems come up instead of later, will make your life way easier during turn. If you keep up with all maintenance, you won’t have to worry about making huge, life-changing maintenance orders.

Tenants should also know, and sign, some move-out guidelines. Before move-out, tenants should know what you expect from them—people don’t always read the lease that they sign, so this can be helpful in adding an extra layer of protection. Decide whether you want the tenant to deep-clean, or if you would rather just bill back the cleaning charge to them.

This list of guidelines should also include move-out responsibilities. This involves, but should not be limited to, utilities charges, key and administration fees, lock changes, key returns, and the like. These are all things that future tenants will find imperative, as safety is often a huge concern when renting a new property.

Lastly, perform a major inspection. This means, do walk-throughs at the end of each tenant’s lease. If you can, it’s also a very good idea to perform walk-throughs during the tenant’s stay, in order to gauge their relative cleanliness and decide if action needs to be taken. However, the final walk-through is functionally non-negotiable. This walk-through should be corroborated with pictures, to ensure that your side of the story is verifiable.

Walk-throughs will help with security deposit disputes, as it will give you a better sense of what needs to be repaired or refurbished, and can even help the tenant if done in advance of their lease end date.

These tips are designed to make tenant turnover a simple and easy process. It should be noted, of course, that there will always be problem tenants. However, when dealing with consistent and constant turn-over seasons, it is necessary to create a comprehensive and established move-out plan. By following through with this plan, you can guarantee a far less stressful turn for both you and your tenants.

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