How you prepare your property for a new tenant largely affects what you can expect from your relationship going forward.
For example, properly preparing your unit, fielding questions and concerns, and going above and beyond your minimum obligations as landlord sets the tone for a positive, equally beneficial tenant-landlord relationship.
To improve the chances of this being your future, consider preparing for and welcoming your next tenant in the following ways.
A tenant move-out checklist for landlords:
When moving out a tenant, here are the steps we recommend:
- Schedule an inspection before the previous tenant moves out (we recommend at least two weeks before, with a reminder sent to the tenant 24 to 48 hours before your visit)
- Conduct or arrange an inspection to ensure everything you provided to the tenant when they originally moved in is in working order, including:
Walls and ceilings
- Blinds and other window coverings
- Light fixtures
- Windows, doors, and screens
- All doors to enter the home and their locks
- Fire and carbon monoxide alarms
- Plumbing: sinks, pipes, toilets, etc.
- Divvy up responsibilities between landlord and tenant (i.e. landlord fixes dishwasher, previous tenant has to repaint—or pay to repaint— walls)
- Once the tenant has moved out, collect their keys.
- Get the previous tenant’s new address in case you need to forward them mail
A tenant move-in checklist for landlords:
Between the previous tenant moving out and the new one moving in, you’re going to want to:
- Inspect your unit again, as damage or issues can occur during the move-out process
- Handle all damage and issues you’re responsible for as the landlord (identified during your inspections), including:
- Holes in the walls
- Insecure doors and windows
- Broken carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
- Leaks, moisture, and mold
- Insect infestation
- Broken utilities, such as heat/air conditioning, plumbing, outlets, and lights
- Dirt, grime, and filth
- Scuffed surfaces and paint
- Outdated air filters
- Odors left over from animals, smoking, or general living
- Handle anything that may not be an issue now but could pose problems down the road, especially in relation to plumbing, electrical, roof, and the foundation of your unit
- Change the locks for everyone’s peace of mind and safety
- Give keys to the new tenant after they’ve paid first, last, and any other necessary deposits
- Add new tenants to the house group, if there is one (i.e. Whatsapp, apartment community, etc.)
- Explain or give documentation explaining any house rules (i.e. who takes out the trash when, who to contact for maintenance, etc.)
Tenant turnover FAQs
What are the best practices for properly turning over a unit?
Other than the steps described above, best practices for properly turning over a unit include:
- Leaving wiggle room between the arrival of the new tenant and the moving out of the previous one to give you time to clean the unit and repair anything that needs to be fixed.
- Giving at least 24 hours notice before entering the premises containing your reason for entering, date, and specific time.
- Walking the new tenant through the agreement (or making clear that you’re there to field questions they have) ensures 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.
- Consulting your new tenant before making updates to the home, such as what colour they’d prefer for the new coat of paint
- On the day they move in and you (or your property manager) bring the tenant the keys, you can do a quick walkthrough with them so that, if there are any issues or questions, they can be addressed quickly.
What is a landlord responsible for during a new tenant move-in?
- Keep everything you provide to your tenants in working order
- Keep your rental property clean
- Make sure that the rental property meets municipal bylaws
- Follow all local and provincial fire safety laws
- Always supply your vital services, including hot or cold water, fuel, electricity, gas, and, during certain months of the year, heat, in a reasonable amount
- Give at least 24 hours’ notice written notice before entering a unit for maintenance
If you’re a landlord outside of Ontario, here are useful resources for property owners across all Canadian provinces.
What should I leave for a new tenant?
If you’re unsure of what to leave in your unit to welcome a new tenant, consider:
- Tips about the neighbourhood (i.e. where they can find a good coffee shop, grocery store, etc).
- Your contact details and the contact details of anyone they might need in the future (i.e. property manager, maintenance person, etc.)
- A small present left on the counter (i.e. bottle of wine, case of beer, gift certificate to a coffee shop, etc.)
While you’re not required to leave anything for your new tenants, small gifts can go a long way in making new tenants feel welcomed and establishing a fruitful landlord-tenant relationship.
In the market to fill your vacant unit?
Hopefully, the tips above are enough to help make your next tenant transition the smoothest one yet.
If you’re still one step before preparing for a new tenant—you’re still trying to find and sign them—we’ve got you covered there, too.
Rhenti gets your listing in front of more renters than any other way, helping you to partner with the right tenant, faster.