Getting Ready for Tenant Turnover
The better the property management services you use, the less tenant turnover you’ll have. Competent property managers will do the leg work for you, screening tenants to ensure they are trustworthy and able to pay their rent on time, and dealing with their concerns once they become tenants. Still, even with the best property manager, vacancies inevitably occur. When they do, you’ll want to rent your property as quickly as possible, and that means taking the necessary steps to get ready for your next tenant before you show it.
Typically, you won’t have much time to fix the problems which have occurred during the previous tenancy. For that reason, it’s helpful to have an established plan and checklist to make sure you don’t miss any important items. Here are the top 7 items for your checklist:
- Check for any smells or foul odors: prospective tenants whose first experience of your rental property is an odious smell are not likely to sign on the dotted line. Foul odors could be a sign of mold or mildew, odors from cigarette or cigar smoke, or could be the result of pets (assuming your property is pet-friendly). If you smell odors, trace them to the source, then remove them. This could require a thorough cleaning of carpets and curtains.
- Make sure all fixtures are working properly: the operative word here is “all”. Prospective tenants will be sure to test that toilets are flushing properly, and that all faucets and showers have good water pressure and don’t leak. Before you show the property, make sure that what they experience during the walk-through will meet with their satisfaction.
- Make sure all of the previous tenant’s property is removed: this would seem to be a no-brainer, but sometimes property is left in places you wouldn’t normally look, like closets and other areas. Nothing will turn off a prospective tenant as quickly as a stash of junk in one of these areas, so make sure they’re clear and clean before the walk through.
- Repair and repaint walls: the rule of thumb is to repaint before you show the property. In general, rental properties should be repainted at minimum every three years, but based on the conditions you find, you might need to repaint even after a tenancy shorter than that. At the same time, repair any holes in walls. This is relatively inexpensive and will vastly improve the appearance of the property.
- Check all of the appliances: appliances such as refrigerators, washer/dryers and microwaves should be in good working order and appear relatively new. If appliances are not working properly or appear old, it’s a good idea to replace them before showing the unit. Think of it as a smart investment over the long haul.
- Test windows and doors: all of the doors and windows in the rental properly should be easy to open and close, and should lock safely and securely. A door or window that sticks or doesn’t lock safely could spell the difference between renting your property and having it vacant.
- Test all safety equipment: this includes both smoke detectors and those which alert to the presence of carbon monoxide. Make sure these are working properly, and that you change the batteries.