With an understanding of the pros and cons of resident unit transfers you can formally establish your unit transfer policy. It is essential to document it, and also remain consistent with the concessions that you make from resident to resident with regards to such a request. When you set your unit transfer policy, keep the following in mind.
At what point in a lease you will allow a transfer?
Will you allow someone to transfer to a new unit only once their existing lease is up? During the last 60 days of their lease? Or at any point during the lease? Remember, the earlier in the lease you allow a resident to transfer, the more likely it becomes that they will leave the new unit when their lease is up.
Will you only allow a transfer if the resident is upgrading?
If a resident wants to move to a bigger unit, that may be to your advantage as well as theirs. You can decide if you will allow a transfer only under this circumstance.
Will you allow transfers if there is a known issue?
You want your residents to be happy. If they are in a unit that constantly requires maintenance due to an ongoing issue, or they live next to a very loud resident, you can allow them to transfer with due cause.
When will you reject a transfer request?
If a resident has a history of late payments, causing damage to property, etc., you can reject a transfer request regardless of the rest of your transfer policy.
Will the resident have to sign a new lease for the new unit?
You can transfer the lease on a comparable unit to a new address. Or, you can require the resident to sign a new full-term lease for the new unit.
Put all the terms in writing in your lease.
Every lease should have a section that outlines all of the above criteria for a unit transfer. Residents who are unhappy with denials for a unit transfer have been known to file fair housing complaints. Protect yourself by having your policy outlined clearly in the lease.