Last modified on June 6th, 2016
By Rachel Jefferson
A renter in a property you manage has just given notice. Do you focus your energies on filling the vacancy or take a little extra time to help your renter prepare for a successful move-out? The latter option can actually reduce your workload in turning the unit around to the next renter. Learn how to successfully prepare renters for a move-out for the greater good of all.
Why Prepare Tenants for a Move-Out?
Longtime property managers will have at least one story of a move-out that did not go well. Whether renters did not vacate on time, took things that did not belong to them when they left, or simply left the apartment in such disrepair that you needed to call in cleaners, moving renters out can cause a lot of headaches for property managers.
When something does go wrong during the move-out, you can deduct from the tenant’s security deposit to compensate for the money spent returning the rental to move-in condition. Yet this can upset some renters. In a worst-case scenario, they could contest the security deduction in small claims court. This means more of your time is taken up cleaning up this move-out mess.
When you take the time to coach renters on their move-out responsibilities, you ensure they know what they need to do to receive their full security deposit back. As a result, the unit looks great, your move-out inspection is simple, renters get their money back, and you can move new residents in without additional work.
Now that you see the importance of helping renters prepare for a successful move-out, here’s some tips on what you can do.
How to Prepare Tenants for a Successful Move-Out
As a first step to help renters move-out, draw up a checklist of everything you will inspect, and any rules tenants must follow regarding move-out. Property management software makes it easy for you to create a checklist for move-outs. As you make the list, do not assume that anything is “common sense” or that tenants will remember what you said upon move-in.
- List everything that could affect the return of the security deposit. If you require that renters steam clean carpets, clean the oven, or wash the walls, write it down.
- Once your tenants give you their Notice to Vacate, acknowledge their notice and send them your checklist. Sending it in advance allows them to plan ahead. Offer to answer any questions your renters have about the checklist. Clearing up confusion ahead of time ensures compliance.
- Remind your renters they must leave utilities in their names until the final day of their rental term. If tenants do not pay all of the bills, you’ll need to deduct from their security to do so.
- Also remind tenants that you will be checking the apartment for wear and tear in a property inspection. While you cannot deduct from their security deposit for normal wear and tear, you can deduct anything that goes beyond normal. When you check the apartment, take photos of damage for your records.
- Finally, if you have time-of-day requirements for renters who are moving out, let tenants know so they can comply.
When you take the extra time to help tenants prepare, it benefits renters, property owners, and yourself. You can also handle the unit turnaround with ease, reducing apartment vacancy time and ensuring that property owners receive the highest possible return on their investment. A happy property owner will continue to rely on you for property management, and may even recommend you to friends.