Many times, as landlords, we often focus on what we need to do to keep our current tenants or how to attract the next tenant. While those activities are important, it is also vital that you pay attention to a few necessary tasks when you are between tenants. The following tips will help you to ensure you do not miss any important steps when getting a newly vacated rental unit ready for the next tenant.
Begin by ensuring that any property or trash left behind by the last tenant is removed from the property. What to do with it? That is up to you. If you are feeling generous, you might consider holding it for the prior tenant, but you could also opt to donate property that is left behind to charity or simply trash it.
While the property is vacant is also a good time to check the various systems in the unit, such as the heating, A/C, and plumbing. Regular maintenance can often be difficult to get to when someone is living in the unit, so make good use of the time while the property is vacant. Check the dishwasher, toilets, garbage disposal, filters, thermostats, vents, etc.
It is also a good idea to go ahead and either change the locks or have them re-keyed. Remember that even if you collected the keys from the prior tenant, there is no guarantee that they did not make copies. Changing out the locks or rekeying them will take a little time and incur a cost, but it is an investment in the safety and peace of mind of your next tenant.
While you are at it, go ahead and check all of the appliances. Along with making certain the oven actually operates, check to ensure that the racks and broiler pan are still present. Tenants sometimes do crazy things and it is actually not that uncommon for such items to come up missing.
You should also give the exterior of the property a good inspection. In particular, check to make certain that the window screens are present and intact. Check the windows to ensure that they are able to open and close with ease. All windows should be able to open easily in the event of an emergency.
To ensure that your future tenant will be thoroughly prepared in the event of an emergency, check the CO2 and smoke detectors to ensure they operate properly. You should also make sure that the unit has fire extinguishers. Remember that fire extinguishers typically need to be inspected once per year.
Finally, take the time to have the unit thoroughly cleaned. Whether you choose to outsource the work or handle it on your own is entirely up to you and your budget. If the unit has carpet, you might consider having the carpets steam cleaned. Also, remember to clean easy-to-overlook items, such as baseboards, window sills, etc.
Handling these tasks while you are between tenants can help you stay on top of maintenance tasks and ensure the unit is ready for the next tenant.