When you're a new rental property owner and haven't yet seen it all, you may not be entirely sure how to prepare a property when a tenant moves in. Below is a basic guide for how to do this effectively once the tenant has been screened and accepted. Making sure to do these things will make your tenants happy and decrease your liability.
Clean it Thoroughly
You want to make a good impression on your new tenants, and in order to do that you should clean the unit thoroughly. This can include cleaning and shampooing the carpets, getting rid of grime in the bathrooms, cleaning the windows and windowsills and more. If there are signs of pests, take the required measures to get rid of them. You can clean a property yourself or use a cleaning company.
Check for Any Safety Issues
When at the property, you should check carefully for any current or potential safety issues. These can include crumbling steps or walkways, malfunctioning electrical units, broken window locks or any other hazards. You can do this yourself or hire a professional inspector, depending on the type of property and if it has any history of issues. You are legally obligated to provide a safe environment for your tenants in most states and if there is anything unsafe about the premises you must disclose it.
Repair Any Damage
If your inspection uncovers any safety issues or damage, you should repair it immediately. This can be anything from chipped paint and holes in the wall to broken windows and a non-functioning furnace. You should also note these damages in order to charge the previous tenant for the damage or remember not to charge the incoming tenant once they leave. Before the new tenant moves in, you should also have them sign and fill out your rental unit condition checklist.
If the new tenants have made requests, you should make every effort to fulfill their specific wishes. It is up to you to decide whether or not a request is too great to honor. Do know, however, that you are legally obligated to honor certain requests, such as when it comes to access for persons with disabilities.
You should always change the lock on a rental property when a tenant moves out. This will keep your tenant safe as well as protect you from liability. This is a good idea even if the previous tenant returned all keys. You will never know if they made copies, even if doing so was prohibited. Locks should always be changed if the previous tenants caused problems or were evicted or if keys were not returned.
If transferring the utilities to the new tenant's name is your responsibility, this is something else you need to do. If this is the tenant's responsibility, ensure they understand that. Once the transfer is completed, be sure to inform both the previous tenant and the current tenant.
Once you have completed these steps, you should be ready for your tenant to move in. Remember that a property management company can prove an invaluable ally to new landlords when it comes to providing quality tenant services.