The Outgoing Tenant Checklist
Tenant turnover is inevitable. As a result, flipping your unit from one tenant to the next is an important part of the property management process. Having a detailed checklist ensures that you successfully complete all essential steps when your tenant moves out. End the landlord-tenant relationship with ease by completing these important tasks.
Your lease should stipulate how much notice your tenant must provide when he or she plans to move it. This notification is important, as it allows you to begin searching for a new tenant to replace your vacating one. For example, you might request one month's or two months' notice from your tenant. If you do not hear from your tenant in the months leading up to the end of the lease, remind him or her of the impending end of the lease. Offer a lease renewal, if you're interested, or request that the tenant abide by the terms of the lease and provide you with proper notice.
Consider providing your tenant with a list of your expectations upon move-out. For example, you might want the unit cleaned from top to bottom, including the refrigerator and carpets. If you allowed the tenant to paint the walls, specify whether you want the walls returned to their original color. Other items to note on the checklist include filling holes in the wall, maintaining the lawn and landscaping until the lease-end date, and removing all trash from the unit.
Once your tenant vacates your property, you want to promptly inspect the unit for any damage. If you're holding a refundable security deposit, you need to decide whether you need to use any portion of the security deposit to fix any damage caused by the tenant.
Check your state landlord-tenant laws and regulations to find out how much time you have to assess any damages and return the security deposit. You're likely working with a 30- to 90-day window. If you intend to keep any portion of the security deposit, you will need to notify your tenant before doing so. Each state sets forth specific guidance in this area, so it's your responsibility as a landlord to be well versed in these regulations and adhere to them every time you flip your unit.
Your tenant has moved out, you've thoroughly inspected the unit and returned all or a portion of the security deposit, and the keys to your rental property are back in your hands. Now what? Until a new tenant moves into your unit, you're responsible for the complete care of the unit. Ensure that the utilities have shifted back into your name until your new tenant takes over. If lawn maintenance was your tenant's responsibility, remember that it's yours until the unit is flipped. Keeping your rental in pristine condition will help you rent the unit out promptly, which will help reduce any gap between tenants – and the resultant gap in rental income.
A tenant moving out should be a smooth process. After all, turnover is at the heart of your business. As the landlord, you are responsible for guiding your tenant through the move-out process. Being available to answer questions and maintaining open lines of communication ensure that your tenant vacates your rental property without any problems.
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