7 Steps to Take Before Leasing to a New Tenant

Welcoming a new tenant onto your property can be a hectic process, and as a landlord, it is essential to be prepared with all the appropriate documents and information beforehand. It’s easy to become overwhelmed. That’s why it’s important to take the time after one tenant moves out to get a solid system in place so the transition goes as smoothly and painlessly as possible.
House key
Note the Repairs Needed
Make a checklist of the different rooms in the apartment broken down by item, and make note of anything that was damaged or is in need of repairs. Check your state laws, but once a tenant has lived on a property for a certain amount of time, natural deterioration of the rental space is qualified as “wear and tear,” and it’s not something that the tenant is responsible for.
Clean the Unit
It’s essential to make a great first impression and having a clean apartment is key. An often-overlooked item is sparkling, shiny, streak-free windows. Having clean windows gives any space the appearance of abundant natural light, and can make it appear spacious, bright, and welcoming. If you have a carpeted unit, it’s also important to give it a deep scrub, as bacteria can thrive in carpeted environments and become a danger to any tenant.
Stage the Home or Apartment
Another optional but beneficial technique is to stage your unit. Staged units have been proven to rent faster than unstaged units and they can also attract higher quality tenants. You can enhance the atmosphere in an economical way by renting furniture. Staged spaces give prospective tenants a visual representation of possible layouts, and can also help them feel less overwhelmed by a completely empty, echoey unit—rendering yours more likely to rent.
Ensure the Tenant is Qualified
With your clean, warm, conscious space, you are sure to get many eager tenants. Rather than rush into a decision, take some time to be certain that your applicants are well-qualified. You’ll definitely want to do a background check and run a rental history report, as you do not want to rent to someone that won’t care for the home, nor someone deemed a liability.
This will also filter out unqualified applicants and narrow down your list of possible choices.
Thoroughly Explain Neighborhood Rules
You’ll want to be sure that your tenant abides by the neighborhood rules, so before they sign the lease, it’s a smart idea to lay out everything upfront. Let them know before they sign the lease whether you allow things on the outside of the unit, any quiet hours policies, overnight guest rules, parking, and anything else of concern.
Be Prepared for Your Tenant’s Questions
Make sure that as a landlord, you are prepared to answer any questions a prospective tenant might have. Anticipate some questions that may come up about the surrounding area and the unit itself. The landlord is the expert on all property-related information, so it’s important to attain as much information as possible, and be ready when the questions come your way.
Make a Welcome Package
If you really want to go above and beyond, put together a welcome package for your new tenant. Your kind gesture can go a long way and works towards building a healthy relationship between you and the new tenant. You can include things like toilet paper, organic soaps, fresh fruit, flowers, and any or all of the essentials. Personalizing the gift is recommended—so if you have an inside scoop on what your new tenant adores, then tailor the package to them.
Finding the right tenant—and preparing for their move-in—takes a lot of work. It’s important not to cut corners throughout the process, seeing as this is someone that’s going to live in your unit or home for a considerable amount of time. You want someone trustworthy and reliable in the space and you want to do everything in your power to foster a healthy relationship between you and your renters.

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