Few people enjoy moving. Whether it involves a rental or a home you own, moving can be an expensive hassle. The same is true for your leased properties. The turnover process can be a fraught time, with conflict, confusion and surprise expenses. It doesn't have to be, though. With a bit of planning and lots of communication, you will be able to have a smooth turnover process with your outgoing tenants.
Communicate Early and Often
As with many aspects of the landlord-tenant relationship, communication is key. As part your workflow as a landlord, you should regularly be in touch with your tenants. This will help you stay on top of issues with the property and identify any problems with the tenants should they arise. Discussing the tenant will be staying past the end of the lease should be a part of these conversations as the lease comes to a close.
Remind Tenants About the Terms of the Lease
What that communication looks like will depend on the terms of the lease. Your lease should contain a clause establishing terms for providing notice. Whether it's 30, 60, or 90 days, you should remind the tenant about those terms. Many tenants will have forgotten, or not have read them in the first place.
You should also remind your tenant about what the options are as the lease comes to an end. Does the lease automatically shift to month-to-month? Does it have to be renewed for a full year? Will you be increasing the monthly rent? These are all things that should be clear to all parties involved in the rental agreement, and should be made clear well in advance of any deadlines.
Establish and Confirm Move Out Logistics
If your tenant will be moving out, firmly establish a move out date. Establishing this expectation early will make sure you have time to turnover the apartment before the next tenant arrives to take over. Your current tenant might not start his or her next lease until the 1st of the next month, so if your lease ends on the last day of the previous one, you will want to make sure he or she is aware of that and plans the move accordingly.
Set Clear Expectations for Conditions
It is also important that all your tenants are aware of your expectations for what the property will look like when they leave. The lease is your friend here. Remind the tenant of what was already agreed upon in terms of the condition of the property, and explain what that means for you. Set the tenant up for success by explaining in detail what you will be looking for in your inspection. Your tenant wants the security deposit back and will do whatever is necessary to get it. If the tenant puts in the work to have the rental in good shape, it will save you cleaning time or money for a cleaning crew.
Be Prompt with the Security Deposit
As part of building your reputation as a landlord, it is critical to be fair and prompt with the security deposit. If there are issues, be objective and transparent in how you calculate the docking of the deposit. Regardless, send them the amount of the deposit they are owed within a reasonable and agreed upon amount of time. Both of these practices will go a long way in establishing your professional reputation.
Following these tips will set you and your tenants up for success in the turnover process.
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