Rental Management

Moving Out: 5 Ways to Ensure a Smooth Transition Between Tenants

August 2, 2017

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How To Handle Move Outs Like A Pro


Whether it takes place over a day or over a week, moving out your former tenants and moving in new ones is a complicated and tiring process. Furniture needs to be moved, keys need to be collected, and damages need to be assessed, all on a tight deadline. Here are a few tips that can help make the process a little less daunting and a little more manageable.

Figure out everyone’s schedules as soon as possible

Even for veteran landlords, every tenant transition is different, and depending on how long you’ve given yourself to handle all the necessary cleaning and checkups in between them, some will no doubt prove easier or harder than others. Perhaps the new tenants don’t plan on moving in until a week after their lease starts. Maybe the previous tenants have already moved everything out a couple days in advance. It’s also possible that they’ve procrastinated and haven’t even ordered a moving truck the day before their lease ends. To reduce the chances of any unfortunate surprises, talk with your tenants to find out who plans to do what and when. This will help you coordinate what you need to do without bothering anyone and identify any potential issues beforehand.

Be clear with your tenants about move-out instructions

Even the best tenants aren’t going to remember their contract by heart, and by the time their lease is nearing its end, there’s no way they’re going to remember what particulars they agreed to for moving out. Make sure that your tenants are fully aware of what you expect from them well in advance. Even cooperative tenants might get upset if you give them instructions while they’re already in the moving out process. Things that seem common sense to landlords often aren’t so for others, so when in doubt, communicate early and often.

Figure out what repairs are needed well in advance

Tenants are never excited about visits from their landlord, but when a lease is nearing its end, it just needs to be done. Identifying needed repairs or replacements sooner rather than later can save you many a headache during the tenant transition process. A group of new tenants doesn’t want to move into their three-bathroom apartment only to find that just one toilet is working.

In fact, it’s generally advised that landlords inspect their properties at least once a year, and if possible, during the middle of the lease term. Mid-term inspections ensure you notice any concerns (including evidence of lease violations as well as maintenance issues) well in advance of move-out. Don’t dig yourself a hole by frantically trying to fix a leaky sink, broken handrail, and nonfunctional shower the day before your tenants move in.

Additional Reading: 5 Preventative Maintenance Tips

Make sure you get off on the right foot with new tenants

By the time your new tenants are finally fully moved in, you might want to sleep for three days, but as cranky as you might be, it is pivotal to start things right. Make sure they don’t have any unanswered questions by the time you give them the keys and send them off to make their new house a home. It can also be helpful to give them small bits of advice about the peculiarities of the house. Maybe you need to lift the backdoor doorknob slightly to lock it, or maybe you need to hold the handle down on the upstairs toilet for it to flush fully. Such tips might seem small but can go a long way for someone adjusting to a new house, neighborhood, or city.

Additional Reading: Communicate with Tenants for Pain-Free Management

If you’re counting on help, make sure it’s accounted for!

If you’re not up to the sometimes-Herculean task of turning an entire property around on your own, then you’ll likely be contracting out some cleaning and moving work. Whether you’ve relied on the same handyman for years or are going through the phonebook for one, ensure that they’ll be available when you need them. Transitioning tenants will get a lot harder if you end up doing twice the amount of work you initially expected.


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