5 Things That Scare Every Landlord

Around Halloween, most people head to the local haunted house, fear factory or haunted jail for some extra chills and a shiver down the spine. However, landlords may experience some far scarier things that can give them nightmares for weeks.

Here’s a Halloween countdown of the 5 things that scare every landlord:

1. A Vacant Unit

A vacant unit means that there’s no income for as long as it is empty. This could be a few days, a few weeks or even a few months depending on what’s going on. While it’s necessary to have vacancies from time to time when turning a unit over, the shorter the stretch the better it is for any landlord’s bank account. If landlords are finding that the unit isn’t generating much interest with applicants, it’s time to take a good long look at the rental rate, the condition of the unit, marketing methods and even a neighborhood evaluation.

2. Late Rent

It’s every landlord’s worst nightmare–the rent due day approaches and they haven’t heard or seen anything about the rent. Unless the tenant is set up with an auto withdraw program every month, it’s always a risk that the landlord won’t receive the money owed and have to take the necessary steps. In the back of every landlord’s mind, when the rent due day with no rent passes, they wonder if this will be the month they’ll have to start the eviction process.

3. Discovering Damage

Landlords with investment properties can’t help but get attached to the rental units, even if it’s just pride in their business. When they discover that tenants have been less than respectful and caring for the property, it’s enough to cause frustration and concern. From damage to walls, windows and carpet to roughly used appliances, unreported plumbing issues or problems that have been hastily covered up, damage to the rental property is never a pretty sight.

4. Tenants Who Break the Lease Agreement

When tenants skip out in the middle of the night before the lease expires, it’s always going to make a mess of every landlord’s next few weeks. Generally, when they leave like this they are behind in rent, but even if they just up and leave without notice, it’s all too common that they aren’t interested in communication. It’s tricky to track them down if they don’t leave any forwarding information and landlords have to spend unplanned time figuring out what to do next. From determining that the unit is really abandoned to assessing damage, it’s going to create unexpected stress for landlords, no matter what.

5. Declining Neighborhood

Landlords always want to see the neighborhood where their investment property is located moving upward–improved schools, more successful businesses, fewer abandoned industrial complexes and business parks, and lower crime rates. When landlords start to see lots of vacancies in the area, plus a lack of economic development and community resources being put to good use, it can mean that the neighborhood is experiencing a decline. That’s never good for property values or for attracting high quality tenants. If the surrounding area isn’t going the right direction, landlords have a lot to think about in terms of changing their rental goals.

Hopefully, none of these scary issues will materialize for landlords this Halloween, but most are inevitable during the upcoming year or two. Smart and successful landlords will educate themselves in advance to know how to handle such situations so that the impact of these scary things will be minimized.

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8 Best Practices for Dealing With Residents’ Junk Cars

What can homeowner and condominium associations do, if anything, about old, junk or unsightly cars in the parking lots or streets under community management? Granted, not every resident is going to have a pristine car gleaming in their driveway like a jewel in the development’s crown. Even residents in relatively affluent communities will have teenagers whose old beaters are parked in their driveways or on the street.

How HOAs can deal with junky cars on their properties

Nevertheless, boards of directors have a duty to their association members to protect their interests and property values, and therefore you must address any issues that arise with junk or unsightly vehicles parked around your development.

Here are some best practices for you to consider:

Update Your CC&Rs

Does your association have a written and duly-enacted policy governing automobiles? Was a quorum present when it was passed by the board of directors? Was the meeting at which it was passed advertised in accordance with association bylaws? It may seem pedantic, but these details of due process can be important if the association has a vehicle towed and a resident challenges the association’s authority to do so.

Require Parking Permits or Stickers

This forces members and tenants to register their cars with your management. Your staff can then easily locate the owners of any vehicles that may be presenting a problem. It also allows management to track any vehicles that don’t belong in the community and identify any unauthorized long-term guests by their vehicles.

Require All Vehicles Be Registered

Most jurisdictions require proof of insurance before you can register the vehicle. If a vehicle is truly non-functional, sooner or later the owner will stop paying insurance premiums on it. Furthermore, this policy will make it easy for you to walk through the lot looking for expired tags. Whoever owns the vehicle should then get a notice that you’ll have the vehicle towed after a certain amount of time has elapsed.

Ensure Renters Get Copies of Your CC&Rs

Have language in your CC&Rs requiring all association members to have their renters abide by the generally-applicable car and parking rules.

Have a Formal Tow Policy

It is generally more effective and merciful to tow an offending vehicle than it is to quietly fine an association member and then place a lien on their home to collect those fines.

Staff should photograph the offending vehicle and document why they had it towed. Make absolutely sure local tow laws and the community CC&Rs and other operating documents are followed whenever a car is towed. A tow should never be a surprise to an owner that is paying any attention!

Reserve the Right to Tow Obvious Junk Cars

Sometimes the non-movers are obvious. If a car is up on blocks, has leaves piled up under the tires, has a missing hood, or has one or more flat tires, it’s safe to say it hasn’t been moved in a while.

For cars like these, your association shouldn’t need to wait until the car’s tags expire. Your association’s CC&Rs should address obvious junk cars and allow you to tow them after a diligent effort to contact the owner of the vehicle has been made.

Address RVs in Association Parking Rules

Sooner or later, someone will want to park a RV, travel trailer or boat somewhere on the property. Rules should already be in existence before this becomes an issue. It’s a lot easier to enforce a rule made long before a 50 foot RV gets parked on the street than it is to try to enforce a brand new rule against a family who spent tens of thousands of dollars on their dream rig confident that they’d be able to park it in their yard.

Many associations restrict RV parking to a couple of days per month, allowing the family to load up or unload their RV prior to or following a trip. Associations also often require owners to park their RVs behind their homes or otherwise out of sight.

Always Double-Check Before You Tow!

Here’s a real-world example of why this should be your policy: A Florida property manager recently towed a resident’s vehicle because a couple of tires had deflated, and the vehicle hadn’t been moved in a while. Efforts to contact the resident by mail were unsuccessful. It turned out that the vehicle owner was a reservist, mobilized to serve in Afghanistan for a year, and was not receiving mail. Meanwhile, the Soldiers and Sailors Act applied to any enforcement actions, causing potential liability for the board and bad feelings and regrets all around.

Noise Etiquette In A Rental Property

Many people that live in apartment buildings or condos with shared walls will agree that one of the down sides of renting such places is the potential for noise. Crying babies, arguments, parties, loud televisions and that new stereo system with the bass speakers can be more disruptive than you might think.

One of my rental apartments was ideal, except for the noise level. I could hear the toilet flushing in the unit above mine and the neighbors that shared my bedroom wall were constantly forgetting to turn off their 5:30 a.m. alarm clock when they went on extended trips. The floors in the building echoed every time someone walked across them. I fled to a quieter duplex the minute my lease was up, but mourned the loss of that beautiful apartment with such an ideal location.

While being in a rental home means that you and your neighbors are generally required to adhere to certain restrictions when it comes to noise, it doesn’t always mean that it is enforced. Knowing how to be a respectful neighbor and being understanding of the basic sounds of life are the best ways to deal with noise issues. However, enforcing the limits of noise can go a long way toward making your rental experience more pleasant.

Be Reasonable

Although hearing the toilet flush loudly upstairs several times a night might be annoying, you don’t have much of a case for complaint. However, if the upstairs neighbors have a penchant for jogging on the treadmill in the room right above your toddler after 9:00 p.m., it is fair game for discussion.

Be Friendly

Many people genuinely don’t realize how the noise of their gatherings or everyday actions may be affecting their neighbors. Banging on the door in a rage to ask someone to turn their music down won’t get the results you want. However, giving them a simple heads up that you can also hear their music loud and clear may work wonders. It is always a good idea to remain on good terms with your neighbors, because you are more likely to look out for each other.

Offer More Than One Chance

If repeated requests over a reasonable complaint go unaddressed, you will need to involve your landlord or possibly even the police. Confronting a neighbor can be difficult, but most people would like to be informed before a complaint is filed against them elsewhere. If you are uncomfortable talking to your neighbor in person, you can always write a courteous note about your concerns and give them the option to improve before you take things further.

Control Your Pets

Dogs that bark relentlessly are such a regular issue that complaints are often made directly to the local police and punishable by fines in some areas. A bored or protective dog will make a lot of noise and some owners simply become used to it and tune it out. If the barking is happening when your neighbors are at work or otherwise out of the home, they may not be aware of the problem. Talk to them before you dial the police, unless it is extremely late at night or they are out of town.

One of the most frustrating things about noisy neighbors or buildings is that the problem isn’t usually noticeable until you have already established yourself in the home. One of the best ways to get an idea of the noise level is to ask other tenants in the building, ideally those on the opposite side of your direct neighbors.

Landlords are aware that that noise can be a deal breaker and may not be willing to disclose the problem, or they may simply be unaware if previous tenants haven’t complained. A little extra homework can help you ensure that your potential home will be a pleasant place to live.

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How Landlords Can Create More Storage Space in Rental Properties

While every rental property applicant has a wish list for the different amenities they’d like in the rental property, some things are pretty universal. Storage space is one of those amenities that renters of all ages, incomes and locations can’t seem to get enough of. When it comes to making your rental property look as attractive as possible to prospective tenants, extra storage space is sure to entice even the pickiest applicants.

The good news is that creating more storage space, or maximizing existing space, doesn’t have to cost much, but it really makes a big impact. Don’t forget to point out all the extra storage features as you show the rental property to potential tenants. Investing in improvements for your rental property is always a good idea, and maximizing storage is not only smart but easy to do.

Maximizing Typical Storage Space

Generally, when people think of storage they are focusing on areas of the home like closets and cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom. However, there are ways to maximize this typical storage space into even more than it appears, and savvy renters will immediately appreciate the extra options.

Here are 3 typical storage spaces that you can maximize easily and inexpensively:

  1. Closets: Most closets come with a shelf that spans the width of the space and sits above the hanging bar. However, closets also have lots of wasted space above that shelf and along the sides. You can install closet organizer systems to create more shelf space throughout. These easy-to-assemble wire units are highly desirable and practically triple the storage space in any closet while keeping things neat and orderly. The space above the existing closet shelf can be likewise divided with more permanent shelving—either wire or wood.
  2. Bathroom cabinets: These places are generally where people stack things up on top of each other until they create a teetering pile of things that are hard to access. Give your tenants the gift of organization by installing cabinet organizers, such as wire or wood shelves and dividers. You can also install a bathroom mirror/medicine cabinet feature. Some cabinet structures in both kitchens and bathrooms have faux drawers that can be quickly turned into real storage, as shown here.
  3. Kitchen cabinets: Of the whole house, kitchens seem to need the most storage space. Cabinets generally have adjustable shelving but there are lots of things you can do to maximize storage in this space-challenged room. Some ideas include installing a lazy susan or two on central shelves. Wire shelves, pot lid holders, door-mounted racks and tray organizers can also maximize the way tenants utilize the cabinet space in the kitchen and make your rental property really stand out.

Creating Atypical Storage Space

What will really impress potential tenants is storage space in atypical places. In other words, if your rental property offers more storage space than the competition, you are that much more likely to grab the attention of more applicants, giving you a bigger pool to choose from. Sometimes, creating permanent additional storage in atypical places may be expensive, while other options don’t cost much in time or money. No matter what kind of improvements you make regarding storage, it can have a big impact in the first impression and overall livability of the rental property.

Here is a list of 5 ideas of where you can inexpensively create or enhance storage space in atypical places at your rental property.

  1. Add one or two permanent shelves above the toilet in the bathroom.
  2. Build shelves into each side of wider bedroom closets.
  3. Mount behind-the-door organizers onto bedroom, bathroom and closet doors.
  4. Put sturdy hooks inside kitchen pantries, bedroom closets, on the wall behind bathroom doors and inside entry closets.
  5. Install shelves or cabinets on the top part of one wall in the garage, and add hooks or tool racks in logical spots on the wall.

Here is a list of 5 ideas of where you can create or enhance storage space in atypical places, but will cost a little more time and money:

  1. Cut into short walls, pony walls or knee walls to create recessed shelving between the studs.
  2. Add a small kitchen island, with plenty of cabinet space.
  3. Turn the space under the stairs into a closet or a storage compartment.
  4. Transform unused crawl spaces, odd nooks and angled empty space into closets or floor to ceiling built-in shelves.
  5. Purchase a storage shed for the property, such as from a big home improvement store.

There really is no limit to the ways you can add or enhance storage space in a rental unit. If the property or unit is particularly small, your tenants will be extra grateful for the space. Of course, landlords should always be on the lookout for things they can do to boost the appeal of a rental space. Adding storage space is something that good tenants are on the lookout for, and will really appreciate when it comes to looking at and eventually living in your rental property.

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5 Ways to Convert Your Bathroom into a Spa-Like Oasis

By Christina El Moussa, HGTV’s “Flip or Flop” Imagine coming home from a hard day at work, stepping into the bathroom, and feeling all of your worries fade away as you soak in the tub or stand under a warm stream from a waterfall showerhead. The right décor and design can make taking a bath […]

Delinquency Reports

QUESTION: Where should delinquency reports and discussing delinquencies be held, in an open meeting or executive session? For privacy reasons, I think it should be in executive session.

ANSWER: Discussion of delinquencies should should be done in both open and closed sessions of the board.

Open Session. Delinquency reports should be in open sessions because members have a right to know the finances of their association. It allows them to monitor whether or not the board is taking care of business. Failure by the board to collect assessments means budget shortfalls, deferred maintenance, special assessments, and/or increased dues for the membership. If I were a member, I would want to know if my association had a $500 delinquency problem or a $50,000 problem.

Moreover, the Davis-Stirling Act requires that the decision to record a lien for delinquent assessments be made in an open meeting and recorded in the minutes of that meeting prior to recording the lien. (Civ. Code §5673.) Confidentiality is maintained by referencing units/lots by their assessor’s parcel number.

Executive Session. Delinquency reports should also be on the agenda for executive session meetings. Once an owner is delinquent by at least $1,800 or the delinquency is at least twelve months old, the board can initiate foreclosure proceedings. (Civ. Code §5720(b)(2).) The vote must be held in executive session and recorded in the minutes of the next open meeting. As with liens, boards maintain confidentiality by using the assessor’s parcel number to identify the property. (Civ. Code §5705(c).)


: Recently, when posting notice of an upcoming board meeting
, the agenda for that meeting was not included. Our president said it was okay because the agenda was emailed. Is that correct?

ANSWER: Sorry, it’s not correct. Starting January 1, 2008, board meeting agendas must be posted along with the notice of meeting. (Civ. Code §4920.) In the alternative, the notice and agenda can be delivered to everyone. (Civ. Code §4920.)

Email. Emailing the agenda is an option only if the recipients consent in writing to receiving notice via email. (Civ. Code §4040(a)(2).)

RECOMMENDATION: Sending agendas and notices by email makes a lot more sense than only posting in the common areas. Emails reach more people, especially those who are out of town or live elsewhere. Associations that want to save money and keep members better informed should get owners’ email addresses and written consent to send notices. By “notices” I mean more than just board meetings. There are a great many disclosures and notices that associations must give members each year.


Senator Stirling. Thank you to everyone for the many notes of congratulations and kind words about Senator/Judge Stirling joining me as a partner in our firm. They are much appreciated. -Adrian


Clotheslines #1. I interpret the clothesline bill to indicate you still can’t drape laundry over your banister or balcony. But if you suspend a line from those items, you can hang your laundry from it, correct? -Jean S.

RESPONSE: If you mean suspend a line between balcony posts–no. That’s no different than hanging laundry over the railing. It’s unsightly. Putting up a line in your backyard is different because it is generally not visible to others.

Clotheslines #2. While a balcony does not qualify as a d
rying rack or a clothesline, meaning I cannot hang my clothes over the balcony, I am pretty sure the law allows me to put a drying rack on my balcony, correct? -Casey R.

RESPONSE: The statute specifically states it “applies only to backyards that are designated for the exclusive use of the owner.” (Civ. Code §4750.10(d)(3).) That means associations can restrict drying racks from balconies. However, if balcony railings are constructed such that a drying rack is not visible, associations shouldn’t care if you put one on the balcony. It’s when they are visible that it creates a problem.

Clotheslines #3. If the unit only has an exclusive use balcony, can the resident put a clothes line apparatus on their balcony? -Ron R.

RESPONSE: No, not without association permission.

Clotheslines #4. You said the statute allows for reasonable restrictions on clotheslines. What is a reasonable restriction? -J.D.

RESPONSE: One that comes to mind is requiring that clothes be removed from lines each day by dusk. Leaving them overnight can be a nuisance if a wind causes the clothes to flap around and make a lot of noise keeping neighbors awake at night. Another one is to limit clotheslines to clothes only, i.e., they can’t be used for drying marijuana leaves.

Clotheslines #5. With the ongoing drought are clotheslines now allowed in condo complexes regardless of the rules? -Judy R.

RESPONSE: If a condominium complex has exclusive use backyards, it applies. What if it only has balconies and patios? Owners with balconies clearly can’t hang clotheslines. However, boards could allow drying racks if they wanted. Patios are a bit of an unknown. I could see a judge deeming ground floor patios to be the equivalent of a backyard and allow clotheslines. If the patio is fenced, nobody will see the clothesline except those living above it. If the patios are open (no fencing), I don’t see a court jamming it down everyone’s throats and ordering an association to allow clotheslines. I have to qualify that by saying there are judges out there with a screw loose so I can’t guarantee it.

Adrian Adams, Esq.
A Professional Law Corporation

“Much More Than Just a Law Firm!” We’re friendly lawyers–boards and managers can reach us at (800) 464-2817 or info@AdamsStirling.com.

Best Practices for Choosing Tenants

The federal government, all state governments, and many localities have specific rules that govern what landlords may and may not consider when screening tenants for a rental property. Because each rental unit may be under slightly different rules, landlords must take the time to consider the specific laws and ordinances that cover each address when they are choosing tenants.

However, since many of these rules are intended to prevent discrimination and ensure a fair and aboveboard screening process, there are several “best practices” landlords can use to limit their exposure to fair housing complaints and discrimination lawsuits. Choosing tenants is a part of the process that will dictate how the next year of a landlord’s life will go so it pays to make sure you are doing it properly. Here are some steps to take to ensure you’re screening tenants based on the best and most lawfully-useful information available:

1. Standardize the process.

Ask every applicant for the same information, collected on the same form or set of forms. This is imperative when choosing tenants. Notify applicants in writing on each form that you intend to check their credit history, income, and references when you ask for access to this information. When you use the same process for each tenant, you reduce the risk of being accused of rejecting an application based on an unfair or biased process.

2. Do your homework.

Credit checks can be run easily for a small fee, so it makes sense to run one for each tenant. Verifying an applicant’s employment and income information can usually be made simple as well. Talking to an applicant’s references can give you insight into their rental history and behavior that you may not discern from the rest of the application. Always carry out these steps for every tenant, no matter how trustworthy they initially seem to you.

3. Base your decisions on business reasons – and document.

Many business reasons provide legitimate reasons to reject certain tenants. If a tenant cannot pay the security deposit, has a dismal credit history, lacks the income to pay the rent each month, or has a history of paying rent late, demolishing rental properties, or being evicted, you likely have a sound case for refusing to rent to the tenant. When you have a sound business reason for your decision, note it in the application file in writing. This creates a “paper trail” that can help remind you which steps you took if an applicant tries to challenge your decision in court.

4. Know the rules and make sure your staff know, too.

The Federal Fair Housing Acts list specific criteria that landlords may not use when renting to tenants. States and many cities have their own rules as well. Make sure you understand each of these and that you train staff members who deal with prospective tenants. As the property owner, you are legally responsible not only for your own conduct, but also that of your employees. Make sure everyone is “on the same page” when it comes to screening tenants consistently, checking references, and noting in writing the reasons to accept or reject an application.

Note: This article is not intended as legal advice and should not be understood as such. If you need help with a specific legal question, contact an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your area.

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Tips For Renters: 6 Roommate Rules That Make Life Easier

Whether you want the company or seek someone to share expenses like rent, if you would rather not live alone, getting a roommate can be an ideal solution. Not only will you have someone to interact with when you are home, you can save some money by splitting the cost of the rent, utilities and maybe even groceries.

Clear boundaries are one of the best ways to make a roommate situation work out and sitting down together to determine rules at the beginning of the venture will leave no doubt about how each situation should be handled. Here are 6 tips on making a roommate situation work in your favor:

1. Cleaning

Cleaning duties can be a major point of contention between roommates, especially when it isn’t clear who is responsible for what. In addition to making a commitment to clean up after yourself, it can be helpful to create a week by week schedule to designate who is in charge of the more general chores like unloading the dishwasher and cleaning the bathroom. If your finances allow, a weekly cleaning service can also be good middle ground.

2. Guest Policy

While everyone in the home has the right to have guests over, it is a good idea to set some parameters for what is allowed and what is not. For instance, overnight guests should be cleared with each other and parties should be limited to the weekend. Daily guests camped out in the kitchen and living room can make you feel like an impostor in your own home, so make sure you get a good feel for each other’s living style before you commit to sharing spaces.

3. Bill Payment

Decide who is going to be responsible for paying each bill and try to split the responsibilities evenly. Put the bill to be paid in the name of the roommate responsible for it so they have incentive to make sure it is paid on time. Late fees should be the responsibility of whoever was tardy. It is important to be respectful to your roommate and work with them to get the bills paid regularly.

4. Food

You may choose to share the cost of groceries, but most roommates decide it is easiest to keep personal food supplies separate. If you choose this route, you should divide the cupboard and refrigerators shelves, in order to reduce confusion.

5. General Fund

Items like dish detergent, toilet paper, garbage bags and paper towels are used by everyone living in the home and should equally be supplied by both as well. Depending on funds, it can be easiest for each roommate to pay an agreed upon amount several times a year and purchase general items for the home from there. Or you can keep track of who purchased the items before and take turns as they run out.

6. Noise

You and your roommate may have different music choices, or one of you may be a night owl while the other is an early bird. Set some rules regarding how your activities might affect one another. Setting a noise curfew is a simple way for everyone to get along.

Living with a roommate can be a great way to share your home as long as you have mutual respect for one another and a commitment to sticking to the rules and boundaries you created together.

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9 Steps to Successfully Turning Over a Rental Property

In an ideal world, landlords would have amazing tenants that would stay for many years in a row and turnovers would happen rarely. However, in the real world, most landlords have to deal with rental unit turnovers all too often. When tenants deliver a non-renewal notice to you, meaning they will no longer be living in the rental when the lease expires, you can start to make plans to turn over the property.

In the process of transitioning a rental unit from one tenant to another, landlords have to worry about lots of details, from proper notice and inspections to security deposits and outside vendors. It can get pretty overwhelming quickly. Landlords who are better prepared for this process, and have set times and deadlines for when tasks must be accomplished, will find that turnovers are a lot less stressful and are actually done faster than when they don’t have a real plan.

Here are the 9 step process for turning over a rental property.

1. Receiving Notice

When the tenants let you know that they will not be renewing the lease agreement, make sure you have that in writing. You’ll need to confirm that they understand the time and date that they must turn keys back over to you and have all of their things removed. Keep the written notice in the tenant file, and keep the paper trail going by sending them a written reply that acknowledges you’ve gotten their notice and that you will be in touch soon to go over the move-out process.

2. Deliver Move-out Instructions

Many tenants are not sure of the order of events when they are planning to move out. The two most important things they need to be aware of is the move-out inspection and the occasional showings of the rental by new prospective tenants. Remind them that the move-out inspection must be done with you, and to coordinate a time and date that works for you. Generally, landlords like to do the move-out inspection approximately 2 weeks before the move date. They also need to be ready for you to show applicants the rental with 24 hours of written notice, so they won’t be surprised when you show up with strangers.

3. Scheduling

Many of the service vendors you use might be booked out a few weeks at a time so as long as you know the date and time of the tenant’s departure, you can call ahead and schedule painters, maintenance workers and others to pay a visit to the rental a day or so after it is vacated. This will shorten turnover time immensely because you won’t be waiting with an empty rental while you wait for your vendor’s calendar to clear up.

4. Start Advertising for New Applicants

Using your best marketing channels, create the ad for new tenants. Use all the tips and tricks for creating a compelling advertisement, and list your ad in all the best rental property publications, both traditional and online, that you can. Use a blend of networking and passing the info about your upcoming vacancy on to appropriate friends, family and co-workers.

5. Conduct the Move-out Inspection

Meet the tenant for the inspection and bring a copy of the move-in inspection papers so you both can compare and check for damages. Go through each room and evaluate each subcategory of the rooms. It may be hard to see some damages if they are obscured by furniture, so make sure you let tenants know that any new discoveries will be added to the inspection papers as an addendum. The move-out inspection papers should be signed and dated by both you and the tenant.

6. Find New Tenants

While your current tenant’s time is winding down, you must be taking phone calls, answering emails and otherwise tracking down your new tenants. Use efficient screening procedures to ensure that you narrow down the pool of applicants to the very best ones, and do background screenings and interviews with them. Over the course of a few weeks, you should be able to lock in some new tenants who will be able to move in on the date you say the rental will be ready, generally about a week after your current tenants vacate.

7. Get Keys and Do a Final Inspection

On the day your current tenants move out, meet them at the rental property to collect the keys and do a quick check to ensure there are no additional damages to walls, carpets, doors and more. Don’t forget to write down their forwarding address. Make a list of all the total damages and prepare their security deposit amount to be returned to them, minus the cost of damages. Check your state’s rules and regulations for returning security deposits.

8. Coordinate With Vendors to Get the Property Ready

You have a short window of time to get the rental property in top shape, so make sure your vendors are still able to meet their scheduled appointments. Painters, plumbers, electricians and more should all be ready to get to work in the empty unit and get it all fixed up for new tenants. This is also a good opportunity for you to make any additions, improvements or upgrades to the place, like putting in a new refrigerator.

9. Meet the New Tenants to Sign a Lease

Before handing the new tenants, always meet with them to sign a lease agreement, collect the security deposit and do a move-in inspection. Carefully go over the lease and discuss any areas they may have questions about. The move-in inspection is most effective when it is done before any belongings are put in place. Of course, the papers should be filled out completely and signed by both parties before turning over the keys.

With organization, foresight and a little bit of hustle, it’s possible for landlords to turn over a rental property within a week. The longer a rental sits vacant, the deeper the impact on the bank account, so do what you can to follow these 9 steps and keep your real estate investment full of paying tenants.

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6 Ways to Get Your Listing Ready for Photos

By Julie Legge, professional real estate photographer Picture this: You’ve worked with your new seller for days to get her home ready for sale. She’s repainted, cleaned the carpets, and even worked with your favorite stager to rearrange and add some furniture. It’s nearly ready to hit the market, but first you need to take […]