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Landlord Tips: How to Ensure a Smooth Tenant Move-Out

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In my opinion, the worst / most difficult part of being an investment property landlord is finding, screening, and moving in new tenants.  And of course the flip side of this is moving out the old tenants.  Both of these processes go hand-in-hand, because a successful and efficient move-out will help facilitate a less-stressful move-in.  As such, here are a few tips to make the move-out process as stress-free as possible.

The first tip is to make sure you do a move-in and move-out inspection with all tenants.  You can use this inspection checklist.  Both of the inspections should be documented on the same form, with 2 columns – one for ‘before’ and one for ‘after.’  Each inspection should be done in the tenant’s presence, and the tenant should sign the inspection form when done.  This allows you to easily compare the condition of the unit prior to move-in with the condition upon move-out, so any tenant damages are clearly documented.  As such, doing this inspection procedure will help remove the ambiguity in the process, and because everything is documented the tenant will not be able to argue against your security deposit deductions or otherwise try to deflect his or her responsibility.

Second, always communicate with the vacating tenant a few weeks before move-out in order to review your expectations with him or her.  Spell everything out and provide a to-do checklist for the tenant to complete prior to move-out.  This checklist could include things such as removing all possessions, cleaning the unit, spackling holes in the walls where pictures were hung, etc.

Third, provide referrals to the tenant if he or she is responsible for any repairs or property maintenance.  For example, if the carpet is filthy and the tenant is responsible for cleaning it, refer a good carpet cleaning company.  This way, you can ensure the tenant does not waste time searching for a carpet cleaning vendor.  Additionally, by referring vendors that you know and trust, you can ensure that the job is done correctly.

In the final analysis, the move-out process goes hand-in-hand with the move-in process.  Therefore, it behooves you to make sure each side of this equation is completed in an effective and efficient manner.  Otherwise, the entire process will seem a lot more stressful.  Good luck!

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