Ok, so you own a rental property – Congratulations! Your property can be a terrific investment. Everything is great when you have a good long-term tenant that pays the rent on time and cares for your property. At some point however, every great tenant decides to end their lease. Just imagine that your tenant notifies you that they are moving out of your property in a few weeks as their lease is ending. What do you do now?
One thing is for sure, speed is important. We have all heard the saying, “time is money”. That could not be more true than when it comes to turning a property around and getting it re-rented. Why? Let’s do the math: If your rent is $1600 a month, every week that goes by without a tenant, you are losing $400. As a property owner, it is critical that you limit the number of days your property is vacant.
Let’s take a look at some things that can help you get your property generating rent quickly after your tenant has notified you that they are vacating.
- Start Now – Most leases require the tenant to give 30-60 days of notice if the tenant is not renewing the lease. As soon as you get this notice, schedule a property inspection with the tenant. Be sure to note anything that you think will need repair or cleaning. Ask the tenant if everything is working perfectly. Some tenants will stop using some features if they break rather than ask for a repair. For example, I once noticed a tenant’s dishwasher looked like it hadn’t been used in months. When I asked the tenant about it, he said that when the dishwasher stopped working a while back, he just got in the habit of washing his dishes by hand.
- Call your Agent – If you have a good Real Estate Agent that you have used before, contact them now. Maybe they already know of a great tenant looking for a new place. There is no need to wait until the property is vacant. The faster you can get your Agent to start marketing the property, the faster you will find a new tenant.
- Check for Town Inspection requirements – Most townships require you to schedule an inspection with their construction office, pay a fee and be at the property the day the inspector comes to the property. Get ahead of the game by checking out their website or calling the construction office. Find out exactly what the inspector will be checking. Do they check smoke detectors? What about carbon? How many and where should they located? Do they require a fire extinguisher? How old can it be before it needs replacing? Get these requirements now to make sure your property passes the CO inspection on the first try. If the property fails you will have to schedule a re-inspection which will further delay your rental income.
- Require Tenants to clean – It’s likely that your lease requires tenants to leave the property in the same way the property looked when they moved in. Now is a good time to remind the tenant of this. Let the tenant know they should use the last few weeks of tenancy to get the property looking new again. This way, they will be in a better position to get their security deposit back.
- Repairs and Improvements – If you have an idea of what will need to be done, start making connections with contactors that can get you on their schedule. For example, say you know the property will need new paint. Good quality painters have a pipeline of jobs scheduled. If you need a painter in about 4-6 weeks, start making calls now to get quotes and to vet the painters. The same is true for a good handyman. It’s likely there will be a few things that need attention. Common issues include closet doors off tracks, loose handrails, carpet replacement and certainly a professional cleaning. Remember that the clock is ticking. If a contractor has a slightly higher price but can do the work immediately, that may actually save you money rather than going with the cheaper contractor that cant start work for a while.
If you are an Agent or a Property Owner and you have questions about managing a rental property, please call or email us anytime. Even if you are not a client, we are always happy to answer questions.
Sureway Property Management