Steps for a Successful Move Out Process - Article Banner

The move-out process can sometimes feel rushed and disorganized. You can prevent this, however, with a consistent process and excellent communication with your residents. 

When your tenants decide not to renew their lease agreement, you’ll receive their notice and then put your systems into place. The goal is to get your tenants moved out efficiently and in accordance with the lease agreement, so that you can turn your property over quickly, and prepare for new residents to move in as soon as possible. This reduces your loss of rent and cuts down on your vacancy period. 

Providing a handy list of guidelines that you expect tenants to follow keeps all parties organized. 

If you’re looking for some steps to a successful move-out process, we’ve got them. Check out how we handle this part of the leasing and turnover process.

Steps to Take Before Your Tenant Moves Out

Your move-out process actually begins much earlier in the tenancy…before your tenants even move in. That’s where you go over the lease agreement and agree to the terms. That lease will set forth the notice period that’s required and it will also let your tenants know what you expect of them when they leave. 

  • Step 1: Accept your Tenant’s Notice to Vacate

The lease will tell you and your residents how much notice is required when they decide not to renew the lease. They’ll need to put something in writing that tells you they’re leaving and what their move-out day will be. 

Once you know the move-out date, you’ll be able to schedule your move-out inspection and prepare to have any necessary vendors come in to make the property ready for new tenants. 

  • Step 2: Reinforce Move-Out Requirements

Your lease agreement should include information about what you’ll expect from the tenants when they move out. But, don’t rely on them to go back and review the lease documents. Instead, provide them with a list of what they’ll need to do. Your move-out checklist will likely include the following:

  • Instructions to move everything out of the property before they leave. You don’t want to walk into the home and find a lot of trash still in the kitchen or furniture that was left behind. 
  • Remind tenants to check inside the appliances when they’re cleaning out the home. Tenants will often forget that they had dishes in the dishwasher or food in the freezer. Ask your departing residents to clean out the microwave and wipe down the inside of the fridge. 
  • Provide a cleaning list so tenants know the standards you have for a clean property.  

The correspondence you send your tenants should also include instructions on how they should return keys and other property to you, such as garage door openers or pool and gym keys if your property is in a community with those amenities. Don’t forget to ask for their forwarding address. Tenants are sometimes hesitant to share this, but explain that you’ll be mailing back the security deposit. 

Steps to Take After Your Tenants Move Out

Once the tenants have departed from your property, you have an opportunity to inspect it and check for both damage and wear and tear. 

  • Step 1: Conduct a Move-Out Inspection of Your Property  

Within 24 or 48 hours of your tenants moving out, conduct a complete inspection. Determine what kind of repairs need to be made in order to rent the property out again. 

You’ll notice both wear and tear in the home as well as potential tenant damage. It’s important you know the difference. Wear and tear is your responsibility as the property owner, and you cannot hold the tenant responsible for paying to make those repairs and replacements. Wear and tear is the natural and gradual deterioration of the property over time. It’s a result of any tenant’s normal use of the home, and it would happen no matter who was living there. Every home is prone to wear and tear, so tenants are not charged to make those repairs.  

Damage is different, and the financial responsibility of your tenant. You can hold them accountable by using their security deposit to pay for any damage they caused.    

Sometimes it’s hard to judge the difference between wear and tear and damage. Your move-in and move-out inspection reports will help you judge. This underscores the importance of these inspections and why you need to document everything. 

Consider the extent of the repairs that the property needs, the length of time that your tenant had been living at the home, and the structure and condition of the home. You’ll also want to look for unauthorized changes. If a tenant painted a wall, for example, and didn’t return that wall to its original color, you can charge the security deposit for new paint. 

Make sure your documentation is in order. Any time you use the security deposit to pay for repairs, you’ll need to prove that it was more than wear and tear. Take photos. Make notes.

  • Step 2: Schedule Your Vendors to Complete the Work 

After the inspection is complete and you’ve effectively documented all damage and wear and tear, you’ll need to schedule the necessary work. Do you have a reliable team of vendors and service providers who can help you turn over your property quickly? That will be an invaluable resource. You’ll need a team that’s reliable and responsive so you can work quickly to get the repairs made, the painting done, and your property ready to rent again. 

It’s essential to have an accurate record of costs, so that if you’re charging the security deposit, you can establish what exactly your costs were. 

Have all maintenance taken care of, and then have the property professionally cleaned. Once that’s done, you’re ready to market your home for a new tenant.

Contact Property ManagerThese steps will help you move a tenant out of your home quickly, enabling you to begin making preparations for a new resident. If you’d like some help managing this part of the process, we’re here to be your resource. Please contact us at Innovate Realty. We work with investors of all experience levels in the greater Philadelphia metro area as well as surrounding suburban areas in Bucks, Camden, Montgomery, Chester, Burlington, and Delaware County, to the Delaware River.