A Successful Rental Check-In Process for Landlords
To begin, the start of a good landlord-tenant relationship starts with a successful check-in process. It’s easy. An eager prospective tenant has come running into your home/office with a deposit check and is ready to sign a lease. There are a number of steps to follow before accepting that check that will ensure a successful rental check-in process and a happy tenant.
At this point when the tenant is ready to sign the lease, they have already successfully completed the rental application.
Check out LawDepot for a good sample lease. The sample lease document can be fined tuned with the help of your real estate attorney. Conversely, you can work with your attorney to create a lease agreement from scratch. In short, accurate lease terms will help protect your rights and the money spent is well worth it. Poorly written leases could prevent you from evicting a tenant or enforcing your rules. Avoid potential loopholes in your lease and seek guidance from your attorney.
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Make sure to review the lease in detail with the tenant before having them sign it. Often lease documents are handled off-site or over the internet with electronic signatures. There’s nothing technically wrong with this approach as long as you find time to discuss the lease. Unfortunately, a lot of tenants don’t read details on the lease. Regardless of location, walk the tenant through the lease. Go over every clause and rule to ensure the tenant understands the important issues. In short, education on what is contained in the lease is vital for a successful rental check-in process. Here's a successful rental check-in process for landlords... #AssetRover http://goo.gl/Ul6xU3 Click To Tweet
What’s in a Lease?
To start out, the lease is going to have basic information such as your name, the tenant(s) name, the duration of the agreement, property address, and renewal options. Besides the basics, you may have specific lease terms such as:
- Amount of rent to pay and when the payment is due
- How to handle security deposits (how the tenant is paid back and under what conditions)
- Late charges: how do you deal with them (make sure you treat everyone the same in this regard to avoid discrimination)
- Payment for utilities
- Agreed upon occupants, along with how many guests you can have
- Pet policy
- Entry and inspection rights (you have to give notice, but you need an option to inspect)
- How parking is set up at the property
- Special covenants by an HOA (Homeowner’s Association)
- Property maintenance tenant is expected to do (e.g., changing light bulbs, furnace filter)
- Lease termination rules (can they break it early if they keep paying until you find another renter?)
- How attorney fees would be handled in the event of an issue
- Insurance (do you require renter’s insurance?)
- Lead notification requirement (for structures built prior to 1978)
- Assignment of lease (e.g., sub-letting)
- Joint and several liability
When you get ready to rent out your property, you’ll want to know whether or not you’ll accept pets. Remember, you can set policies around certain dog breeds. If you don’t want rottweilers or pit bulls, put it in the lease agreement; however, make sure you apply that rule to everyone. Lack of consistency opens you to accusations of discrimination against the actual rights of the humans who want to live on the property too.
It’s okay to charge more rent for the pet and it’s okay to increase the security deposit appropriately to cover the pet. At the end of the lease, make sure you return that pet deposit if no damage was done. Furthermore, non-refundable pet deposits are illegal in some states.
When a tenant checks into the property, one of your key goals is to ensure the property is in the best possible condition once they move back out again. Being proactive in this area can ensure you do your proper homework ahead of time. If you can accurately assess the condition of the property upon move-in, it will go a long way to verifying the property is in the same condition upon move out. Walk the tenant through the property, let them know how you want the property maintained and what you want it to look like after they move out. Make sure that you discuss terms of the lease such as where to mail the rent check, how to care for the appliances, etc. At least one tenant should be required to attend the check-in. Finally, use a checklist for a successful rental check-in. We have included one in this blog to help.
Have the tenant fill out a checklist when they move in so you have a record of the property’s condition. It’s a good idea for you to go to the property and take photos before move-in so you have a visual record of the property’s condition.
Additional Considerations for a Successful Rental Check-in Process
Here are some other items you should consider when prepping the tenant and getting them moved into your property.
- Welcome Pack with Vital Information: house keys (mailbox keys, if applicable), garage door opener, emergency contacts, mailing address and zip code (out of towners may appreciate the reminder).
- Mail Forwarding: ensure previous mail is cleaned out of the mailbox and the new tenant can begin routing mail to the property.
- Trash Pickup: make sure the tenant understands the details around trash pick up. Many towns have trash pickup and recycling rules. If your property is part of a Homeowner’s Association, they may have a deadline on when the trash receptacles need to be brought back inside of the house or where they need to be sitting for collection.
- Utilities: tenant needs to get the utilities switched over to them upon move-in. We recommend you have a Landlord Agreement set up with the utility companies. A Landlord Agreement initially puts utilities under your name, but when the tenant moves in and calls for a switch, the utilities will change over to their name. As soon as the tenant cancels, it defaults back to your name automatically without the service being cut. Here's how a landlord can check-in a tenant successfully. #AssetRover Click To Tweet
Protect Yourself and Welcome the Tenant
Above all, the goals in a successful rental check-in process are there to protect yourself, your property and make sure the tenant feels safe and at home in their new rental. Don’t negate all the good work you did to find your investment property. To sum up, follow the steps in this article to see this through to completion of a successful rental check-in process, and get the tenant moved in right.
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Before you leave:Don't forget to check out our free rental property calculator. This will be a valuable tool in your arsenal as you analyze your existing or potential rental properties.
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