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How can I prepare and welcome a new renter into my rental unit?

by Rhenti on


What are the best practices for properly turning over a unit?


Leave some wiggle room between the arrival of the new tenant and the moving out of the previous one. This will give you time to clean the unit and repair anything that needs to be fixed. Having an apartment that is ready to go, fully functional and clean will get the relationship with the new tenant off to a good start. The best way to get a sense of how much time you will need between tenants is to do a move-out inspection. 


We recommend doing a move-out inspection two weeks before the old tenant moves out. This will allow you time to assess if there are damages beyond regular wear and tear that the old tenant should be paying to have fixed and/or if it will require some time to repair before the new tenant moves in. If you plan on having a quick turnaround between tenants and are having repairs done to the apartment, you will need to advise the old tenant in advance. Property owners must give tenants a 24 hour written notice before entering the unit in order to inspect it for issues related to maintenance, making repairs, or replacing something. The notice must include a reason for entering, date and specific time.


What to check during a move-out inspection: 

  • Walls and ceilings

  • Floors

  • Blinds and other window coverings

  • Light fixtures

  • Windows, doors and screens

  • All doors to enter the home and their locks

  • Fireplace

  • Counters

  • Cabinetry

  • Stoves/Ovens

  • Dishwasher 

  • Plumbing: sinks, pipes, toilets, etc. 


Once the tenant has moved out, collect their keys and get their forwarding address in case mail needs to be sent to them. 



What maintenance or repairs should I prepare for to keep my unit up to standard?

A move-out inspection doesn’t capture everything that needs to be addressed before a new tenant moves in. 



Below is a list of what needs to be done to a rental unit in preparation for a new tenant:

  • Damages like holes in the walls must be fixed 

  • Make sure the windows and doors work properly (this includes locks)

  • Test that carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are working

  • Address any signs of mold. Be prepared for more extensive work (opening up and replacing walls and fixing any leak issues) if there is mold. 

  • Exterminating the unit (if necessary)

  • Make sure all utilities are working: heat/air conditioning, plumbing, outlets and lights 

  • Cleaning the unit thoroughly as well as the entryway, exterior and other common areas

  • Painting the unit

  • Change the air filters

  • If the previous tenants were indoor smokers, or had animals that often 'did their business' inside, open the windows for an extended period of time to air out any odour, change any carpets out, and repaint. 

  • We recommend changing the locks. Oftentimes, previous tenants may have made extra copies of keys and unknowingly have them. For everyone’s peace of mind and safety, it is a good move to have the locks changed. It costs $125-$400 depending on how many doors you need to change the lock on. 


If you haven’t done so in a long time, consider getting a home inspection to get the basics looked over: plumbing, electrical, roof, and the foundation for moisture. This will help ensure you know how your property is holding up and will help you get in front of any major mishaps or repairs.



In what small ways can I go above and beyond to start the landlord-tenant relationship on the right foot?


Having the new tenant sign the lease is a given, but walking them through the agreement is a nice extra step to ensure that you are both on the same page when it comes to responsibilities. You can read about what goes into the standard tenancy agreement in Ontario, here.


Write the tenant a move in letter, welcoming them to the unit and walking them through any features they may want to know about and provide instructions on using/maintaining them. Give them some tips about the neighbourhood (e.g. where they can find a good coffee shop, grocery store, etc). Provide them with your contact info. For rules around how you can communicate with tenants read our blog post on landlord maintenance obligations in Ontario. 


On the day they move in and you bring the tenant the keys, you can do a quick walkthrough with them so if there are any issues, they can be flagged and addressed quickly. If anything is wrong, having it repaired right away will foster a lot of good will between you and the tenant.


A small welcome gift goes a long way. Leaving a small present on the counter for when the new tenant arrives is a small gesture that will make them feel welcomed and implies that you want them to be happy in their new home. Examples of gifts you could give are a bottle of wine, a case of beer, a gift certificate to a coffee shop, neighboring restaurant or grocery store.


When making updates to the home, for example, painting or yard work, if there is an option for choices to be made (e.g. paint colour) you could ask the tenant if they have any preferences. Small gestures like this are incredibly considerate, can set you apart as a landlord, and can encourage someone to stick with a lease on a long-term basis. If the work being done on the home is more intrusive, you could purchase them a stay at an Airbnb while the repair is being done. 


Keeping an open line of communication with a tenant, without overcommunicating is a good way to forge a positive relationship and build trust from the start. Knowing they can count on you to have things repaired on time makes a big difference, and creates a more comfortable living situation for the tenant. It also helps to ensure that they will flag issues as they come up, before they can possibly trigger bigger issues (e.g. flooding).


Are you currently looking for a new renter for your vacant unit? Rhenti gets your listing in front of more renters than any other way, helping you to partner with the right tenant, faster.


The blog posts on this website are for the purpose of general introductory information. They can’t serve as an opinion or professional advice. Speak to a professional before making decisions related to your circumstances.