Whether you are a recent landlord or thinking of becoming one, you'll soon realize that there are numerous tasks to complete before and during a tenant's stay. However, once a tenant informs you that they are leaving, there are quite a few other tasks to accomplish. While you may be focused on finding your next renter, slow down and thoroughly complete each of the following tasks. They will save you time and frustration in the long run.
Taking photos or video of the rental unit is a vital step to accomplish during or immediately following move-out. This allows you to document each instance of damage in case the tenant sues you to get their security deposit back. When photographing damage, use a ruler or a common object, such as a penny, to show the actual size of the damage. Landlords also need to take video or photo evidence at the time of move in so that they can prove the damage did not exist before the tenant lived there.
Change the Locks
Just because your tenant gave you back all of the keys doesn't mean they didn't make a copy for themselves, or their ex-boyfriend. Don't take the chance that there are extra keys floating around that can lead to burglary or vandalism. Hire a professional locksmith to change all of the unit locks as well as any fence or gate locks too.
For more information, contact a business such as John A. Koons, Bonded Locksmith.
While tenants often pay their own utilities, landlords have several good reasons to verify they are closed when a tenant moves out. First, confusion can arise if a new tenant moves in but the old tenant hasn't closed out their accounts. An additional concern is that some states allow utility companies to charge landlords for a tenant's unpaid utility bills. Call each utility company and verify that the accounts are current and have been closed.
Check for Functionality
Too many landlords see that the rental is clean and neglect to make sure that everything still works. Turn on the heater, air conditioning, appliances, faucets, showers and outdoor spigots to ensure that they work. Don't forget to flip on all lights and flush all of the toilets too.
As some of the above items aren't known at the time of move-out, you should never immediately refund a tenant's security deposit. Take the time to go through the rental home the following day or two to ensure that you have a comprehensive view of damage and outstanding tenant bills.