If you’re a property manager, tenants likely move out on a fairly regular basis, no matter how wonderfully managed the building. You likely have procedures in place for evictions, but it is also important to have procedures in place for your average, run-of-the-mill move-out. This helps ensure a smooth transition and protects both you and your former tenants. Here are a few suggestions:
Make sure your lease tells tenants how much notice they must give you before moving out. And if tenants don’t adhere to the terms laid out in the lease, make sure it also says what will happen. When notice is given, it’s a good idea to get a forwarding address so you can return a security deposit.
Tenant Instruction Sheets
Have a set of instruction sheets printed that you can give tenants as soon as they give notice. It is helpful to provide them with move-out procedures, your cleanliness expectations, damage assessment procedures, and the cost of removing any items left behind.
Before the tenant vacates the property, conduct a walk-through with him or her. Look for damage beyond the normal wear and tear you can expect from a tenant. Discuss all damages at this point.
Your lease should clearly lay out what happens in cases in which there are damage and deposit disputes. If a dispute arises, you can simply refer to the lease rather than getting into an argument with your tenant.
Much of what makes a smooth move-out process depends on the lease signed when the tenant moves in. Make sure that everything is properly spelled out in the beginning of your relationship with your tenant so that it can end cleanly.