The move-out process is a hugely stressful experience, and not only for your renters or tenants. This process is long and involved, taking a lot of time just to get the person (or people) and his or her things from Point A to Point B. However, “smart planning and precautionary measures now will help contribute to an easier – and cheaper – transition at the end of the tenancy,” so think about it ahead of time to save yourself some grief later on.
How to Simplify the Move-Out Process
During one of these transitional periods, you may realize that the tenant or renter that is leaving really did not leave a great impression on you, or did not exhibit much responsibility. This is why you should take precautionary measures early in the relationship: that is, before it even begins. If your intake process is thorough, then those that live or work on your property will be of a higher “quality” and you will lament their moving out rather than sighing with relief.
“The first step to ensuring a smooth move-out process is to choose trustworthy, high-quality tenants, which makes thorough screening a must.” Again, this early step will ensure that you fill your building with the kind of people that you want to be there, those who are model inhabitants and who are a pleasure to work with, from your perspective as a manager. There are a plethora of resources that can help you to not only effectively screen your prospective tenants, but also tools to allow for easier checking of, say, their credit score.
A monetary piece of the moving-out process is the security deposit and whether or not it is returned. More people than you might think are unsure of the purpose and function of a security deposit, so make sure to explain this fully to the tenant or renter when they move in (either by your own explanation or within the contract). This “preemptively incentivize the renter to take better care of the unit and move out according to lease stipulations.” Imagine how much happier everyone will be if you can return their deposit to them because they did no damage to the unit! It saves time and effort for you, not having to make repairs, and money for them, not having to pay for repairs.
In addition to the point above, make sure that you go over in detail the meaning of “normal wear and tear” and what, along those lines, is covered by your maintenance team. You want to avoid as many disagreements or misunderstandings as possible throughout the entire leasing term, so straightening out details like these is a necessity.
Similarly, in order to ensure a smooth move-out process at the end, you want to have smooth sailing throughout. This means outlining exactly what is the responsibility of the tenant or renter and what is not. If you leave gray areas for interpretation, you will almost definitely have tense conversations in which it is unclear who has to pay for certain things, or handle certain situations. If it isn’t expressly said that x is the responsibility of the tenant or renter, then they will likely assign that responsibility to you. “Property maintenance software can help with this process. By attending to maintenance concerns quickly, you’ll fix minor problems before they become more costly.” See the conclusion for more information about property management software that can help you during the move-out process and earlier.
Something that you can actually do during this process is to provide tenants or renters with a list of tasks to be completed beforehand, or things that they should remember as they move out. This list will allow them to cover all their bases and, most importantly, to know what those “bases” are ahead of time. You demanding that they have the carpets cleaned the day before the move is not the way to win the hearts of those paying you rent, and it will likely result in a lot of trouble for you (without speaking of its irresponsibility).
Finally, make sure to “keep lines of communication open” throughout their lease, and for all tenants or renters. Whatever the case, it will be made more complicated without regular and easy communication. Be honest with them from the get-go and they will be encouraged to do the same, and to treat your property with respect. To make your job even easier, you can recruit the aid of a property management system, as mentioned above. With Budgetrac Property Management software, for example, you can use this technology to cover your maintenance requests. It can also compare tenants and assists in identifying “troubled” tenants. Can you afford to go without this powerful tool?