Last modified on January 6th, 2016
By Nat Kunes
As a property manager in a large, multi-unit building, it is likely that you’ll receive requests from residents wanting to transfer from one unit to another from time to time. You need to consider the pros and cons of this type of request, and have a strict policy in place to make the process as seamless as possible.
There are a number of reasons why residents may ask to transfer from one unit or another. They may be struggling with issues that their existing neighbors are responsible for, they may want to move to a larger (or smaller) unit, they might prefer a unit with a better view or easy access to specific property amenities, or they might simply prefer a unit that they’ve heard has undergone renovations. Whatever motivation the resident has, there are positives and negatives for you as a property manager.
Cons Of Resident Unit Transfers
You have to prepare two units for rent.
When a resident is in the middle of a lease, you won’t have to worry about doing any maintenance on their unit in the foreseeable future. If a resident asks to transfer to a New unit while they’re in the middle of their lease, you now have to worry about getting their old unit cleaned up so it can be re-rented, and have to prepare their new unit before they move in. Yes, maintenance on both units will need to happen eventually, but this process expedites the timeline. Plus, the tenant could still end up moving out at the end of their lease, and you’ve just spent more of your budget on maintenance preparing for this individual tenant to move around.
Your resident’s old unit may be harder to rent.
If they are requesting a transfer to a different unit, it means that another unit is more desirable to them. It is possible (although not always guaranteed) that a prospective resident looking at the property may feel the same way. This could make it harder to fill the vacancy.
You increase the administrative work.
If an existing resident is requesting a unit that has already been allocated to a new resident, you now need to worry about shifting things around, while still making everyone happy. You can use software to track unit vacancies, and moderate the move out process.
Pros Of Resident Unit Transfers
A request to move says good things about your property.
Clearly, if the resident is asking to move to a new unit, they like the property and want to stay. It becomes less likely that they’ll jump ship as soon as their lease is up, especially if they’ve gone through the burden of an additional move.
You might make more of a profit.
Moving a resident to a new unit involves signing a new lease. This gives you the opportunity to raise the rent, which is something you can’t do when a tenant is bound by a lease to their existing unit.
Once you are aware of the pros and cons of transfer requests, you can set your policy!