Reducing the time between tenants is essential – after all, an empty rental doesn’t produce income. A plan for efficient repairs, updates, and cleanup makes a difference, whether you do it yourself or hire professionals. A thorough deep cleaning not only attracts tenants, but often reveals areas that need further attention. Furthermore, in our current COVID-19 state, proper cleaning becomes even more crucial.
Begin with Tenant Responsibilities: A well-written lease agreement includes specifics on tenant requirements when they are vacating the property. Include a detailed checklist covering both the main items and the smaller details. Remind them of the agreement when they give you notice. Of course, some tenants do not fulfill their obligations, especially in eviction situations. That’s where your damage deposit comes to the rescue. You keep a portion of the deposit to cover the cost of unfulfilled responsibilities. (Again, providing you have a well-written lease).
Be there at Move Out: One of the best ways to ensure everything is A-OK when tenants move out is to be there – actually, this is critical. It allows both of you to go over any items the tenant neglected to do, as well as damages. You can stipulate what they are and are not accountable for and get it in writing and signed. Note – the best way to get an accurate assessment is to take photos whenever a tenant moves in, and again when they leave.
Note: Even when a tenant leaves a sparkling home, preventing the spread of COVID-19 requires a few extra steps. According to the CDC, wash surfaces with soap and water or cleaners appropriate to the surface material, but also disinfect. Follow the instructions on the label to ensure a safe and effective use of the product. (This will include how long to leave a surface wet). Wear rubber gloves, of course, but also consider ways to protect other areas of open skin, as well as your eyes. Be sure to:
- Use no more than the amount recommended on the label
- Use water at room temperature for dilution (unless stated otherwise on the label)
- Avoid mixing chemical products
If you use a bleach solution, test a small hidden area first to ensure the solution won’t discolor your surface. Mix 1/3c of bleach per/gallon of water. Never mix bleach with ammonia or products that contain ammonia. Alcohol solutions with at least 70% of alcohol may also be used.
Bottom line: Be safe. Use effective cleaning products. Read the labels.
Create a Landlord List: Yes, you need a list too. Lists ensure that everything gets checked off, whether you are doing it yourself or hiring professionals.
- Walls: If your tenant didn't live there for long, erasing scuff marks and washing down walls may be sufficient. In many cases (some landlords do it after every tenant), you will need to repair wall dings and give everything a fresh coat of paint.
Flooring: Clean vinyl flooring according to manufacturer’s instructions. Scrub tile, including the grout. Clean and polish hardwood floors. Shampoo carpets. If carpets need to be replaced, consider a vinyl, wood, or tile replacement.
Windows: sparkling clean windows make a notable difference in attracting tenants.
- Plumbing: Be very thorough. Early repairs save a lot of headaches. Take care of any mold and mildew issues (using a professional can be vital in this case).
Appliances: Clean and conduct a complete maintenance check. Consider replacing appliances that seem to give cause for calls from tenants.
Outdoors: Check exterior of home or multiplex and roofing. Don’t forget the curb appeal. Ensure that your grounds/landscaping are well-kept and in pristine shape before showing to potential tenants.