How can you help your tenants move out of your home in a way that puts them at ease and leaves them feeling like they had a good rental experience with you?
This is an important question because if tenants are going to complain about a landlord, they’re likely going to complain about maintenance or the move-out process. As expert Martinez property managers, we oversee tenants moving in and out of rental homes all the time.
We have an effective process in place that we believe can help.
Send Martinez Tenants the Move-Out Requirements
When your tenants provide a notice to vacate, make sure you ask about their move-out date, and send them a notice that lists all the things they’ll need to do as the lease period comes to a close. This will likely include cleaning the property, removing all personal belongings, turning in keys, and leaving a forwarding address. When they have an easy-to-reference checklist, they won’t forget to do something that you’re expecting them to do.
Provide Instructions on Returning Keys and Other Property
You don’t want your tenants to leave without handing over the keys, garage remotes, swimming pool access cards, and any other property that belongs to you or the HOA. Be clear about instructions so tenants know what’s acceptable. Perhaps you just want them to leave all the keys and other belongings on the kitchen counter when they vacate, or maybe you want them to drop them off in person.
Conduct the Move-Out Inspection
In California, you’re required to offer your tenants a pre-move-out inspection. If they agree to this, that’s good – it means they will understand what kind of deductions you may take from the security deposit, and it also gives you an idea of how much time and money will be required for the turnover process.
After your tenants move out of the property, conduct a thorough move-out inspection. You are looking for any property damage that goes beyond general wear and tear.
Owners cannot charge for things like scuff marks on the wall from where a piece of furniture was or small nail holes in the walls from where pictures or clocks were hung. You can, however, charge for damage that’s accidental or due to abuse, neglect, or misuse. Document everything with pictures, videos, and notes during the inspection. Compare it to the notes and inspection report from the move-in process.
Security Deposit Accounting
The most complicated part of the move-out process for most owners is the return of the security deposit. California law requires you to return your tenant’s security deposit within 21 days of move-out. If you do keep all or part of the deposit, you’ll need to provide an itemized list of those deductions and explain why they were made.
Ask Tenants for a Review
The best way to improve upon a rental experience is to survey your tenants on what they liked and didn’t like about living in your property. Ask for feedback and if it’s relevant, recommend that they leave a review on your favorite review site.
These are some of the things we do during our move-out process. It often goes smoother with a Martinez property management company, and we’d be happy to help. Contact us at Stokley Properties if you have any questions.