How to Turn a Property Between Tenants

Turning a rental property between tenants can be a daunting task for any landlord or property manager, especially in a rental market that has seen soaring demand. In fact, property owners have increased total nominal spending on improvements and maintenance from $43 billion in 2009 to $79 billion in 2019, indicating the need for regular upkeep and reinvestment in the aging stock.

While much of the increase was for major upgrades such as remodels, additions, and structural alterations, spending on basic maintenance and repair projects rose by just $1 billion over the decade, to $22 billion in 2019. However, recent landlord surveys suggest that some owners have deferred maintenance spending since the pandemic began. Nonetheless, with proper planning and the right resources, the process of turning a property between tenants can be streamlined and hassle-free, and we have some tips to make it as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Start with a checklist

Creating a comprehensive checklist is an essential first step in turning a property between tenants. A checklist helps you to stay organized and ensures that all tasks are completed to a high standard. It can also help to prevent any potential issues that could arise from neglecting important tasks.

When creating your checklist, start by breaking the process down into individual tasks. Some key tasks to include in your checklist are:

  • Cleaning: A thorough cleaning of the property is essential before a new tenant moves in. This includes everything from scrubbing floors and walls to cleaning appliances and fixtures.
  • Repairs: Inspect the property for any necessary repairs, including fixing leaky faucets, repairing or replacing damaged fixtures, and patching any holes or cracks.
  • Maintenance: Check the property’s HVAC systems, plumbing, and electrical systems to ensure that everything is working correctly. This includes testing smoke detectors, changing air filters, and checking for water leaks.
  • Regulations: Ensure that all local regulations and requirements are followed during the turnover process. This may include obtaining necessary permits or licenses, complying with safety codes, and adhering to local housing laws.

In addition to these key tasks, your checklist should also include any specific requirements or regulations that need to be followed in your area. For example, some cities may require a lead paint inspection or a radon test before a property can be rented out.

Once you have created your checklist, be sure to refer to it throughout the turnover process. Check off completed tasks as you go to keep track of progress, and make any necessary adjustments if new issues arise.

Schedule in advance

Scheduling the turnover process in advance is crucial for ensuring that the property is ready for the next tenant in a timely manner. By planning ahead, you can avoid any potential gaps in occupancy that can result in lost rental income.

To schedule the turnover process in advance, start by setting a move-out date with the outgoing tenant. Ideally, this date should be at least 30 days before the lease ends to allow sufficient time for cleaning, repairs, and maintenance. It’s important to communicate clearly with the outgoing tenant about what is expected of them during the move-out process, including cleaning the property and returning the keys.

Once the move-out date has been set, coordinate with the incoming tenant to schedule a move-in date. This date should be after the turnover process is complete and the property is ready for occupancy. It’s important to communicate with the incoming tenant about the expectations for the move-in process, including any necessary paperwork or fees.

When scheduling the turnover process, it’s also important to consider any necessary permits or inspections that may be required in your area. For example, some cities may require a rental inspection or a certificate of occupancy before a property can be rented out. Be sure to factor in any necessary time for these inspections or permits when setting your schedule.

To ensure that the turnover process is completed on time, it can be helpful to create a timeline or schedule that outlines all necessary tasks and deadlines. This can help you to stay on track and ensure that all tasks are completed in a timely manner.

Hire professionals

While it may be tempting to handle the turnover process on your own, hiring professionals can save you time, money, and stress. Consider hiring a cleaning service, handyman, or contractor to handle repairs, renovations, and maintenance. This ensures that the work is done correctly and efficiently, and frees up your time to focus on other aspects of your business.

  • Hiring professionals can save time, money, and stress during the turnover process.
  • Professional cleaners can ensure a healthy living environment for new tenants.
  • Contractors or handymen can complete necessary repairs or renovations correctly and efficiently.
  • Professionals can identify potential issues that may have gone unnoticed.
  • It’s important to choose reputable and trustworthy professionals with good reviews and references.
  • While there may be an initial investment, hiring professionals can prevent costly mistakes and free up time for other business tasks.

Conduct a thorough inspection

Conducting a thorough inspection is a crucial step in the turnover process, as it ensures that the property is in good condition and meets all necessary regulations. Here are some key points to keep in mind when conducting a property inspection:

  • Check all safety features, including smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers.
  • Test all appliances to ensure they are in good working order. This includes checking the stove, oven, dishwasher, refrigerator, and any other appliances that come with the property.
  • Inspect the HVAC system, plumbing, and electrical systems to ensure that everything is functioning correctly. This includes checking for water leaks, inspecting the furnace or air conditioning unit, and testing all outlets and light switches.
  • Check for any signs of damage or wear and tear, such as holes in the walls, scuff marks on the floors, or broken fixtures.
  • Ensure that the property is clean and free of any debris or trash left behind by the previous tenant.
  • Document any issues or concerns that need to be addressed before the new tenant moves in.

Prepare for the next tenant

Preparing for the next tenant is an important final step in the turnover process. By creating a move-in package and ensuring that the property is adequately stocked, landlords and property managers can help to create a smooth and stress-free move-in experience for the new tenant. Here are some key points to keep in mind when preparing for the next tenant:

  • Create a move-in package that includes all necessary information and instructions for the new tenant. This may include lease agreements, move-in checklists, emergency contact information, and any other important documents.
  • Ensure that the property is stocked with essential items such as toilet paper, light bulbs, and cleaning supplies. This can help to create a positive first impression and make the move-in process more convenient for the new tenant.
  • Consider providing a welcome gift or other small gesture to make the new tenant feel welcome and appreciated.
  • Communicate with the new tenant to coordinate the move-in process and address any questions or concerns they may have.
  • Conduct a final walkthrough with the new tenant to ensure that everything is in good working order and address any questions or concerns they may have.

Turning a rental property between tenants requires proper planning, coordination, and attention to detail. By following these tips, you can ensure that your rental property is always in top condition and ready for the next tenant. The turnover process not only maximizes your rental income but also helps to build positive relationships with your tenants and maintain your reputation as a responsible landlord or property manager.