How to Make Sure Your Favorite Tenants Stay

Having to replace a good tenant can be very expensive.

The final costs of replacing a tenant can easily exceed $4,000.

Accordingly, it’s very important that you try to hold onto your favorite tenants for as long as possible.

Offering competitive rental rates and keeping your property in good condition are obvious requirements in this effort, but consider these five suggestions for extra steps you can take to keep good tenants signed on.

Offer a Longer Lease Renewal

If you normally offer one year leases, try offering a two year lease (or even longer) the next time your favorite tenant is up for renewal.

While this is technically a market gamble for both of you, from your tenant’s perspective it will seem as if you’re offering them the opportunity to avoid rent increases for the next couple of years.

This will encourage their loyalty to you and the property.

The income stability of a tenant with a good payment history can often outweigh the potential downsides of missing the opportunity to increase the rent for a few years.

Give a Lease Renewal Gift

The small things matter, and that can be especially true when you’re trying to keep a good tenant.

The next time a tenant renews their lease, offer them a renewal gift. It doesn’t need to be much, and even a $50 gift card to a fantastic local restaurant can be enough to make a tenant appreciate you.

Pair this with a small gift for the holidays and you’ll generate even more goodwill.

Give Them Opportunities for Feedback

It’s important to make sure your favorite tenants feel that their concerns are being noted, and this requires more than simply waiting for them to call with a problem.

Be proactive about communicating, and actively reach out to them from time to time.

If you’re renting a multi-unit property, make sure to have a comment box in a common area, along with a placard that reminds tenants of your contact information.

It’s also a good idea to send them a letter two or three times a year letting them know that you’re available to discuss any concerns that they may have.

Offer an Apartment Update

Part of the appeal in finding a new apartment can be that vacant apartments have often been newly renovated, or at the very least given a new paint job and touch up.

To recapture this feeling for your favorite tenants, particularly if they’ve been renting for several years, offer them an apartment update for their next lease renewal.

This can be a simple repainting, but it’s also a good opportunity to accomplish two objectives from things you were planning to do anyway.

For example, instead of simply stating that you’re going to replace their stove (if you were already planning on doing so), tell them you’re doing it because they’re a good tenant and you appreciate them.

Offer a Cleaning Service

In the same vein, offer them a visit from a cleaning service when they renew their lease.

A good, deep cleaning can make a difference that is just as dramatic as an actual renovation.

Tenants will feel like they’ve genuinely stepped into a brand new apartment, but one with all the comforts of their familiar home.

3 Dangers of Unscreened Tenants

Your tenant might be a great person at heart, letting down-on-their-luck friends and family couch-surf while they get back on their feet.

They may be caught up in a whirlwind romance that has their significant other staying at the property more often than not.

Whatever the situation is, you end up with a complicated situation to handle.

A guest staying behind the reasonable time span you define in the lease agreement is essentially an unscreened tenant on your property.

You might not think it’s the biggest deal in the world, but there are some very real dangers unscreened tenants bring to your property.

1. Unknown background
You don’t know anything about the person who is living in your property.

When you bring a tenant onto the lease agreement, you probably check their credit and criminal background to ensure they can afford the property and they won’t use it for illegal activities.

You don’t have that reassurance with a friend or family member that the tenant brings into your property.

The tenant may assume that their friend or family member is trustworthy, but some people are very good at hiding bad behavior to get what they want.

You don’t want to kick out a good tenant because they won’t get rid of an unscreened visitor who stays past the lease agreement terms.

You also don’t want to risk your property becoming involved in illegal activity.

If the original tenant is interested in the guest staying on a long term basis, talk to them about screening the new addition to the apartment.

They need to go through the same screening process the original tenant does to ensure everything is on the up and up.

You don’t necessarily need to add them to the lease, depending on the situation, but you do want to do your due diligence to protect your property.

2. No security investment in the property
The unscreened tenant doesn’t have anything tying them to the property except the tenant that is on the lease.

They don’t have a monetary investment, so they don’t have a direct incentive to keep up on maintenance and cleanliness.

If they are staying for a significant amount of time, they add to the wear and tear of the property.

They also run the risk of damaging the property, whether through negligence or malice.

3. No consequence for disruptive behavior
Your unscreened tenant also doesn’t deal with any consequences for acting disruptively.

They aren’t the ones who stand to lose their apartment when they get into arguments on the front porch, hold loud parties, or ignore noise complaints coming from the next door neighbors.

That’s all on the on lease tenant, who may not realize just how badly the unscreened tenant is behaving.

Avoiding Unscreened Tenants
You have no way to stop unscreened tenants from getting onto your property.

After all, you can’t prevent your tenant from having guests.

What you can do, however, is restrict exactly how long the tenant’s guests can stay before they need to leave the property.

If you aren’t often at the apartment, you won’t necessarily know there’s an unscreened tenant on the property unless neighbors complain.

However, it’s important to get this policy in writing so that you can enforce it.

If the original tenant refuses to adhere to the lease terms, you have grounds to remove them from your property before a serious situation occurs.

How to Legally Tackle Skipping Tenants

Dealing with tenants who skip out on their lease can be a very frustrating endeavor; however, there are some steps that a landlord can take to recover the money that is owed to them. As a landlord, you have a right to collect money that is owed to you when a tenant leaves the rented property prematurely. A lease agreement with fixed terms protects you from tenants who skip out on their remaining rent. They owe you the rent on that lease for the duration of the lease period or until you are able to rent out the property–whichever comes first. It does not matter whether the tenant gave you notice or they vacated the property in secret; the process of collection is the same.

Create a Documentation File
It is paramount that you keep written documentation of communication between you and the tenant. If the tenant provided you with written notice that they were breaking their lease agreement, include that letter in their file. If the tenant did not provide notice but left in secret, simply type up a short note that explains when you discovered that the property had been vacated.
To achieve the best results, stay organized and detailed in the records that you keep throughout the process. Be sure to record dates, times, and phone numbers associated with any conversations that you have with the tenants. You will need all of this information when you attend the court hearing.

Send a Written Notice to the Tenant
Send a written notice to the tenant to remind them that they are responsible for paying the rent until the end of the lease or until you find another tenant. Be sure that the notice you send expresses the fact they are not only still responsible for the rent, but they must pay the rent on time in accordance with the lease agreement. The notice should also include clarification that you will pursue legal action if the rent is not paid as required under the lease.

Inspect the Property
When a tenant provides notice that they are leaving before the end of the lease, inspect the condition of the property as soon as possible. Complete an inspection checklist and note any damage that has been caused by the tenant. You will also need to take pictures of damaged items, but normal wear and tear should be excluded from your list.

Prepare the Property
Make the necessary preparations to lease the property again. Once it’s ready for rental, begin advertising and interviewing potential tenants. You will also need to keep copies of any ads you post and the receipts and costs associated with those ads. You should place this information in the file with your other documentation.

Notify the Original Tenant of the Total Amount Owed
Once you have rented the place or the lease has expired, you will need to send the tenant a notice of the total amount owed. Make sure that you have identified a deadline by which the money must be paid. Let them know if the money is not paid by that time, you will be forced to file a civil suit for the purpose of collecting the money that is owed to you.

If you don’t receive the money by the deadline, you will need to visit the county clerk’s office to file the suit and have a hearing date set. On the date of the hearing, take all of your documentation with you. Once you present it to a judge or justice of the peace, it should be a quick judgment. Not only will you recoup the money for the lost rent, but the judge will most likely make the tenant cover your court costs as well.

Best Ways to Get Tenants to Pay Rent Online

Landlords are constantly looking for more efficient ways to handle the collection of rent from tenants. While collecting rent in the traditional way via personal check is a comfortable way to handle monthly rent payments, a lot of complications can arise. Checks get lost in the mail or misplaced in the office, or tenants get forgetful and neglect to write that check on the first of the month, forcing you to expend time and energy to track them down.

 

Online bill payment can take care of a lot of the above problems and benefit both landlords and tenants. But despite how so many tenants pay the majority of their bills online nowadays — credit cards, utilities and auto payments — quite a few are hesitant about using the Internet to pay their largest bill. So how does a landlord go about getting their tenants to pay their rent online?

Benefits of online rental payment

As mentioned above, receiving of rent online cuts out the middleman from the tenant-to-landlord-to-bank transaction process. Instead of physically receiving a check, filing it for later deposit, going to the tenant’s profile and marking that they’ve paid, filling out bank account numbers and signing checks for deposit, filling out deposit slips and going to the bank to physically deposit the money; you can accept a payment with one click and transfer that money into a bank account with another. Landlords also can have tenants set up automatic payments linking their bank accounts to the tenants’. So instead of waiting for them to drop off or mail the rent, it can be automatically withdrawn from the tenant’s bank account into the landlord’s.

 

As for tenants, online banking saves time and money. Instead of filling out a check and dropping it off or mailing it, just fill out a few things online and authorize payment — a process that takes seconds, and saves money on stamps. If a landlord accepts credit card payments, tenants can earn major rewards from credit cards by paying rent online.

 

Tips to encourage online rental payment

There are a few things you can do as a landlord to prompt tenants to use an online bill-pay service for rent.

 

First, you can make sure that the transaction is free. This is the most important thing. It doesn’t matter how little an online fee might be; people will not pay it. The key to promoting online bill pay is to highlight its hassle-free nature. Fees are seen as hassle no matter how low they are, so leave them out entirely.

 

Allow the use of credit cards. You might be concerned that a tenant paying by credit card is living beyond their means, but as mentioned above, many people pay bills with credit cards to get rewards points. Trust that your income and credit evaluation was sound and let tenants pay rent online with credit — they’ll do it if they think they can get a free vacation from it.

 

Offer rewards for online bill pay. Whether it’s money off a month’s rent or a gift card, rewards and prizes will always get tenants eager to participate.  Tenants will develop online payment habits this way, and once they get into the habit, they won’t go back.

 

Finally, sell the benefits of bill pay. Send out fliers or emails to tenants describing why online bill pay is good for them and give them a step-by-step checklist that covers how to do it. Do the research for them and answer questions up front. The less confusion about the process, the more likely they’ll start it up.

Conclusion

Paying rent online is a mutually beneficial process for both tenant and landlord once both parties get past the initial awkward unfamiliarity stage. If you take the above steps now to get tenants comfortable with online transactions, an efficient and rewarding rent-payment process is sure to follow.

Ensuring Tenant Privacy

As part of the rental application, a landlord needs to collect confidential data about a potential tenant in order to determine if they are suitable for the suite or home they wish to rent.

Sensitive data may include employment information, bank account and credit history, social security numbers, and previous addresses, all of which are of interest to an identity thief.

A landlord may also know personal information about the tenant, including marital status, children, and other sensitive data that legally shouldn’t be on paper.

In the USA, both personal and confidential tenant data is protected, and a landlord is prohibited from releasing any financial or personal data to a third party, without written consent of the tenant.

Confidentiality of tenant information is a landlord’s responsibility, and it’s their job to ensure that their tenant’s personal and financial information is protected from nosy neighbors, debt collectors, or fraudsters who may be fishing for information.

When tracking tenant information you need to ensure that their confidential data is kept secure.

This is applicable to either paper records and computer data.

Keep tenant records under lock and key
Rental applications can be the main source of confidential tenant data.

Once an application has been processed and accepted, there’s no reason to leave it out in the open.

Keep tenant records in a filing cabinet that locks securely or in a closet with a deadbolt when not in use.

File essential paperwork immediately. If you’re leaving the office, lock your door behind you.

Keep sensitive information in a folder
It takes only a moment for someone to read information off a document.

When processing rental applications, keep in mind the foot traffic through the office.

Flip papers over or tuck them into a file folder so that passersby can’t read tenant information in passing.

Protect computerized files
Tenant files kept on a computer should be protected with the same care that is taken with paper files.

Protect access to your computer with a strong eight character password.

Take this security one step further to ensure that all confidential files storing tenant information are also password protected.

Protect information in transit
Dissuade prying eyes from flipping open unattended files.

If tenant records are stored securely off-site, transport them in a locking briefcase.

This provides one extra level of protection, in case you leave it unattended for any length of time.

Shred non-essential files
Carelessly tossing rejected rental applications into the bin is a violation of state laws.

Run any non-essential papers through the shredder to ensure that any information containing personal identities or credit card or banking information is destroyed.

Don’t reveal information about tenants
Whether someone calls you for information about a tenant or you’re speaking to their neighbor, it’s important to avoid talking about that person without written consent from the tenant.

Discussing other tenants without their consent is unprofessional behavior that can land you in trouble, particularly if you inadvertently disclose information.

It’s best to inform the other party of your policy and change the topic.

Possible exceptions may include written consent from the tenant which may involve providing confirmation that they lived at your location for a certain length of time, or when requested by a law enforcement official.

Landlords may learn more information about a tenant than they need or want to know, but they have the responsibility to ensure that tenant information stays between landlord and tenant, and is not shared via a third party.

As a landlord, it’s part of your job to protect personal and confidential data about your tenants from third party requests.

If in doubt, obtain written permission from your tenant before sharing their confidential data.

5 Golden Rules to Create Model Tenants

After investing in your rental property, your tenants become your most valuable asset.

They help determine your staying power in the real estate business, and therefore serve as valuable additions to your property’s value.

Selecting good tenants is a difficult role for most landlords, but not because of the caliber of tenants.

There are many decent potential tenants waiting on the right housing opportunity.

The problem lies with the approach to finding the right tenant.

1. Property Appeal—“Like Attracts Like”

Before you can find the right tenant, you need to invest in your property.

When your property looks immaculate and is located in a desirable part of town, it will attract the kind of tenants you want.

Conversely, if it looks “run down,”  it’s unlikely you’ll find the model tenant you are looking for.

Since “like attracts like” in the real estate industry, landlords with well-maintained properties are more likely to attract tenants who are willing to uphold the same standards of house maintenance as you are.

2. Lease Agreement—“Your Word is Your Bond”

Like a marriage contract, the terms set out in your landlord-tenant agreement are legally binding.

To foster a long lasting future with the ideal tenant, start the relationship off on the right footing; draft a lease that is reasonable and respectful of the needs of both parties and be sure to review the document in full with your prospective tenant.

Even after the lease agreement is signed, differences can arise.

Experts strongly recommend that both parties attempt to resolve any issues with each other before seeking outside help.

Probably the most important advice to resolving landlord-tenant disputes is for both parties to read the lease agreement and become familiar with each other’s obligations.

3. The Rental Business—“It’s a Business Relationship Not a Friendship”

Communication is at the core of any great relationship; however, it’s a very different dynamic when a tenant thinks of you as a friend.

With friendships, special privileges and concessions are expected and that can compromise your business investment.

Be courteous and professional.

Keep your relationship on a business level, communicating clearly any new arrangements to be implemented and ensuring terms are understood before documenting.  

4. Property Maintenance—“Happy Tenants are those who are Routinely Maintained”

Happy tenants are extremely important to your real estate business, and good tenants are happy tenants.

The way you keep them contented is by keeping your property in good shape.

Fix leaks, replace old fixtures and fittings, and inspect the home annually.  

You may want to keep a list nearby of good plumbers, electricians and tradesman to refer to when needed, if a problem were to arise.

5. Negotiate on Some Terms—“Yield to Understanding”

Don’t be too rigid with house rules that you scare away good tenants—be flexible and negotiate.

You may hate having pets on your property, but if a responsible tenant wants to move in with a family cat, there is little harm in making revisions to accommodate that request.

As long as all newly negotiated terms are in writing, your leniency will stand to benefit your relationship in unexpected and fruitful ways.

Many landlords find that being pet friendly makes them stand out from the crowd.

Often they attract good tenants who are happy to pay more rent for pet accommodation.

Model tenants reliably tend to their obligations.

They pay the rent on time, take care of your property and are respectful neighbors in the community.

The bond you help create with your tenants can only strengthen your investment.

How To Check For Evictions

Part of the tenant screening process for any landlord must include an eviction search. Tenants that have past evictions may not be a true reflection of their potential value in a lease, but it does indicate that they are a high-risk tenant that may not be right for you. Eviction records are considered part of the open public record, so these red flags are pretty easy to spot. The easiest way to check for evictions is to have a credit check as part of the tenant screening process. Evictions are typically on a credit report and you’ll also get to see a brief overview of a tenant’s financial situation at the same time. You’ll need written consent to receive this report, so don’t just run the credit check because you could find yourself at risk for litigation, fines, or both if you do. Here are some other ways that you can check for evictions as well.

1. Obtain Information About Previous Residences.

During the tenant screening process, it is not uncommon to ask for up to 3-5 years of previous addresses. This gives you two pieces of good information: how stable the household structure is and information to contact a previous landlord. To speak with the landlord, however, you’ll need written authorization that can be sent via email or fax to get the information that is needed.

2. Contact the County Court of a Previous Address.

If you don’t get authorization to speak with a former landlord, then take advantage of the open public records. Check the eviction records for that county. If a tenant was ordered out of a residence, then a writ of possession will be on file for the property in question. Unless it is a rural county, there’s a good chance that this information can be found online.

3. Look for Judgments on a Tenant’s Records.

When you pull the credit file for a tenant, you may not see an eviction in place. What you may see in its place is a judgment from a lawsuit that was initiated by one of the previous landlords of that potential tenant instead. You may need to pull credit reports from all 3 major credit reporting agencies in the US to verify judgment records.

4. Request a Tenant Screening Report.

A number of professional agencies provide complete tenant screening reports based on the personal information an applicant provides you. In return for a service fee, which can often be charged to the applicant, the organization creating the report will obtain a criminal history, credit information, and a complete examination of any public records that will give you an idea of how risky a tenant may be.

5. Not Every Eviction is Something That a Landlord May Initiate.

There are some jurisdictions that allow law enforcement officials to initiate an eviction based on the arrest of a renter for a drug charge or other illegal activity. Landlords in this situation are generally given 30 days to evict the tenant on their own, but law enforcement will complete the eviction at the end of 30 days if the landlord has not done so.

6. It is Important to Remember That Not Every Eviction Attempt Winds Up in an Actual Court-Ordered Eviction.

When a landlord gives their tenant a notice to pay or quit, that means a tenant has the option to actually quit. That means they must move out of the rental property by a certain date. This action is considered to be an eviction, but it is not a court-ordered eviction. The same is true for tenants who might move out by a notice date for other lease violations, such as having a pet that is not allowed. This is why it is important to check all references and records and not just rely on public information or references only.

7. Evictions on a Credit Report Can be Disputed.

It is also important to realize as a potential landlord that credit-based eviction information may be placed there in error. A potential tenant may not have been evicted, but a previous landlord may not have stopped a court proceeding and received a default judgment because notice wasn’t given as indicated. It’s unlikely, but it does happen. If an application is in the process of disputing an inaccurate eviction report on their credit, then this should be combined with other screening information to render an empowered decision. Screening for a past eviction is an important part of any tenant application process. If you are not doing this already, then follow these steps to begin locate eviction information now so that you can limit your risks.

Five Strategies to Increase Tenant Retention

Just because a tenant’s signed a lease, doesn’t mean they’ll stay–keeping a good tenant around has a lot to do with being a good property manager. Being flexible and friendly, yet professional, is crucial to tenant retention. Here are five strategies to increase tenant retention.

1. Call 48 Hours Before Coming Over

Don’t show up unannounced. Nothing causes more frantic cleaning and a painful feeling of awkward invasion than a property manager who shows up without calling first. Many folks don’t even like friends stopping by spontaneously, much less a landlord interrupting their dinner party. It’s important and polite to respect people’s backgrounds and personalities. Calling 48 hours ahead of time is a safe time frame that allows them to adjust their schedule and prepare for the visit.

2. Allow (Reasonable) Changes to the Property

Good tenants care about the property they live on. When they move in, they look for desirable features in the property, such as landscaping and space for a garden or an area for children to play. They keep the property in good shape because they’re not just looking for a cheap place to rest their head, trash, and leave. They’re building a home and taking pride in its aesthetics and functionality.

To keep these tenants, it’s important to allow them to personalize the property, whether it’s through planting an apple tree on the sunny side, growing a luscious garden, or adding a tool shed out back. Not only will this increase tenant retention but it will increase the value of your property with minimal effort on your part.

3. Allow (Reasonable) Changes to the Interior

Good tenants–tenants who stick around–may want to do more than just hang up a poster. They might call you with ideas to paint a mural in the baby’s room or install a bar in the dining area. You can state in the rental agreement that the tenant must discuss or collaborate on these projects with you. Remember, a client who can get creative in building their home is a tenant who’s invested in it. This tenant is likely to stick around and re-sign the lease for years to come.

4. Be Prompt when Fixing Issues

While the aforementioned tenants who get jazzed up about installing a bar or planting an apple tree are likely to unclog their own toilets and change their own light bulbs, they might not have the time or inclination to fix bigger projects. If the stove or the sink is in a state of disrepair, it can throw a wrench into their busy schedule. If you’re prompt on fixing the sink when your tenants need you, they’ll stick around longer.

5. Be Flexible and Understanding

That being said, if the tenant gets laid off, a move to an apartment with lower rent will look appealing, even if their decrease in income is highly temporary. A good tenant will appreciate a good property manager–one who understands when times are tough and is willing to reduce rent for one month. Another kind and smart thing to do when a tenant is considering re-signing the lease is to offer a rent discount on the first month. Again, this will prevent them from moving, and save you the headache and income loss of finding a new tenant.  

Tenants who are treated like people with desires and needs will feel respected and valued. This will encourage them to be even better tenants because they’ll know they can invest in the property without fear of a picky property manager undoing their homemaking. If your final goal is to sell the home, these tenants could be the ones, if allowed to treat it as their own home, which it is, after all. Keep these strategies at the helm of your operations to ensure a long term, positive relationship with your tenants.

How to Handle Tenants That Are Not Paying Rent on Time

Some tenants pay their rent consistently and only miss 1 or 2 payments over the course of 5 years.

When that happens, you can generally just send them a friendly reminder and you’ll get the rent that you need right away.

Other tenants, however, are consistently late on their rent and collecting cash from them can become problematic.

Knowing how to handle tenants that are not paying rent on time means sometimes you must become the villain, but always remember this: the tenant is at fault and you are due money.

Here’s how you can eliminate a lot of the stress from the situation.

1. Have Clear, Concise Procedures to Follow

98% of tenants will either pay their rent on time or pay it late with the associated late fees.

They aren’t the problem. It’s the 2% of tenants that either can’t pay or won’t pay the rent that cause stress.

If you have eviction procedures in place to follow, confronting delinquent tenants becomes a little easier because you’re following a plan of action.

If you get your rent, then great. If not, then you’ll be ready to start the eviction process.

2. You Must be Proactive 100% of the Time

If you have multiple rental properties that are being managed and you allow one person to pay their rent late consistently, then late payments will begin to spread like a disease throughout all of your tenants.

What’s worse is that you make it even more difficult to start the eviction process on any of them because you’ve set a standard that late rent is fine.

Have a deadline for rental payments and if that deadline isn’t met, start eviction procedures.

Don’t make exceptions to this rule.

3. Always Charge the Maximum

Tenants needs an incentive to pay their rent on time, because otherwise they’ll just pay the late fee and not worry about the fact that you don’t trust them at all.

Whatever your local laws allow for a late fee, charge it.

The legal maximum will encourage those stragglers to keep up with on-time payments because there is more value in paying on time than in paying late.

4. You Must Remain Professional at all Times

Many property managers and landlords will start making threats about turning off utilities or changing the locks, but this is almost always illegal to do and not a valid threat.

What’s worse is that any threat can provide evidence to a tenant during the eviction that you’re not living up to legal expectations and the tenant could potentially win a cash judgment against you.

Personal attacks will also create a bad reputation for you that makes it harder to find future tenants.

Stay professional, no matter how difficult the situation may be, and you’ll get your money eventually.

5. Tenants Must Take You Seriously

If you have a grace period, deliver the late rent notices or the notice to pay or quit immediately and do it in a provable way so that a tenant knows that you’re serious about collecting what they owe you.

Any time you need to deliver this paperwork, you may wish to have a lawyer on hand just in case.

By taking these steps, you can manage even the more difficult situations that you can face pretty effectively and without high stress levels. Implement clear plans today and when you face the 2%, you’ll be ready.

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.

Proper Notification
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.

Move-Out Guidelines
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.

Move-Out Inspection
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.

Post-Move-Out Responsibilities
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.