A Guide to the Move-In Process
Once you’ve found a great Tenant and executed a Lease Agreement, the next step is move-in. This can be a busy and exciting time for both Landlords and Tenants, and it’s also an important time for sharing key information with new Tenants.
The move-in process is an opportunity both to build good Landlord-Tenant relationships and to ensure your Tenants have all the information they need to take care of and enjoy their new home.
With that in mind, here are a few things Landlords should do before, during, and after move-in to set all parties up for success.
Provide Tenant With a Welcome Letter & Specifics About Move-in
Prior to the move-in day, Landlords should ensure that Tenants know the day and time they take possession of the property. In addition, Landlords need to provide Tenants with any details they need about taking possession – for example, key codes, gate codes, and where to get keys.
It’s helpful to provide Tenants with our Tenant Welcome Letter for Landlords that addresses move-in specifics and frequently asked questions about the property. This should include things like how to handle maintenance requests, what to do if you lose your keys, late fee policies, renter’s insurance, and policies regarding changes and improvements to the property.
Providing Tenants with all of this information before move-in helps to prepare all parties and ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Review the Lease With Tenants & Ensure They Have a Signed Copy of the Lease
When Tenants move in, we suggest providing them with a hard copy of the executed Residential Rental Contract. While it’s helpful for both parties to have an electronic copy, it’s also a good idea to give Tenants a hard copy that they can read through and refer back to as needed.
Plus, doing so provides Landlords with a good opportunity to encourage Tenants to read the entire Lease and a chance to discuss some key terms. For example, it’s a good idea to discuss things like yard maintenance, pest control, snow removal, and pet policies to ensure that there’s no confusion or misunderstanding about these policies.
Discuss How Tenant Should Pay Rent & Late Fee Policies
When discussing key rules and policies, it’s important to discuss your procedure for collecting rent. Make sure your new Tenant understands expectations about when and how rent should be received – for example, electronically, via mail, or in person. If there is a delay between when a Tenant sends rent and when you receive it, make sure the Tenant understands this and appreciates when rent needs to be sent to be considered timely.
It’s also helpful to discuss grace periods and late fees. If rent is late, you don’t want the Tenant to be surprised by late fees, so take the time to talk through all late fee policies.
Provide Tenants With Specifics About the Property
At move-in, it’s also important to talk with your Tenant about some specifics for taking care of the rental. For example, show the Tenant the water shut off, discuss garbage and recycling pickup and policies, discuss appliance maintenance, and share other quirks to help the Tenant care for the rental unit.
This will make things easier for the Tenant and reduce the number of calls that the Landlord receives.
Discuss Procedures for Landlord-Tenant Communication
Take a moment to ensure the Tenant knows the best practices for communicating with you about any questions, concerns, or maintenance needs. Make sure the Tenant has all the necessary information – i.e., phone number, email address, apps, etc. – to communicate in the preferred method.
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Landlord-Tenant communication is so important. It’s worth taking some extra time to make sure the Tenant knows how to reach out to you and feels comfortable doing so.
Complete a Move-In Walkthrough and Inspection
One of the most important parts of the move-in process is doing a Landlords move-in walkthrough for new Tenants. This means going through the property with the Tenant and documenting the property condition. A walkthrough is always important, but it’s essential if you collect a security deposit.
When doing the walkthrough, go through all spaces of the property and use a checklist to document any damage or issues. Once completed, have both the Landlord and Tenant sign the checklist. Keep in mind, you’ll use this same walkthrough checklist at move-out to document any damage caused by the Tenant.
Give Tenants a Chance to Ask Questions & Encourage Them to Contact You With Questions
Finally, ask your new Tenant if they have any questions about the property or how property management will work. Answer any questions they have and encourage them to contact you if any additional questions come up.
This is a simple step but goes a long way toward letting the Tenants know that you care about their experience and are available to help them when needed.
Setting Landlords & Tenants Up for Success
When you cover these key issues during move-in, you make sure that your new Tenant has all the information they need to make the move-in process go smoothly. Equally important, you establish good Landlord-Tenant communication and systems for effective property management.
Next month, we’ll talk through best practices for property management. And, if you follow these steps during move-in, you’ll be well-positioned for property management to go smoothly.
Kevin is passionate about helping others to become a better Landlord by providing tools and education to help them thrive.