Pre-Rental Landlord Checklist

You’ve shown the apartment dozens of times and have finally found the ideal renter. Whether this is your first rental or you’re a seasoned landlord, creating a comprehensive pre-move-in checklist can save you time, money, and aggravation. Take a look at the steps you need to take before your tenant moves in.

Safety Inspection

Your tenants’ safety is a top priority. Providing renters with a safe living space keeps you free from additional liabilities and helps you to sleep easier.

Before the tenants move in, walk through the property and carefully inspect for safety issues. Specific areas to pay attention to include (but aren’t limited to):

  • HVAC system (gas and carbon monoxide leak detection are highly important)
  • Hot water heater (again, checking for gas and carbon monoxide leaks)
  • Electrical wiring
  • Fire and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Windows and window locks
  • Structural issues (such as subsidence cracks or uneven floors)

If you don’t have the expertise to catch potential hazards, hire professional contractors or a home inspector.

Change the Locks

Always change the entry door locks and codes in between renters. Even though your former tenants may have been A-plus renters, you don’t know who they gave copies of keys, codes, or even garage door openers to. The possibility of a stranger having access to the property presents a true safety risk to your future tenants.

Window locks and room door locks can typically stay — unless they are noticeably damaged. These locks don’t rely on keyed entry and won’t pose the same safety risk when transferring the apartment from one renter to another.

Document the Property

Doing a walk-through with your tenants prior to their move-in day is a step towards protecting yourself. But it may not be enough. Document the apartment with time- and date-stamped photos or a video. This gives you proof of the apartment’s pre-move status. In the event that the tenants later dispute damage they have caused, documentation provides you with more than just your word against theirs.

Clean the Apartment

Turning over an apartment from one tenant to another or renting a newly purchased property means that the space may not be in top shape. Start your landlord–tenant relationship off on a positive note by giving your new renter a fresh and clean place to live.

Areas to give special attention to include:

  • Carpets: Remove stains by spot cleaning, or have the flooring professionally cleaned.
  • Floors: Sweep all non-carpeted floors. Scrub tile or vinyl floors with an antimicrobial cleaner, and use a wood-friendly cleanser on any hardwood surfaces.
  • Fixtures: Dust any fixtures (light fixtures or hardware) or any furniture that comes with the rental.
  • Bathroom: Use an antimicrobial cleaner to thoroughly cleanse and disinfect all bathroom surfaces. If you don’t feel comfortable cleaning this area yourself, hire a professional. They’ll have the expertise and equipment to remove stains and debris while thoroughly disinfecting the space.
  • Kitchen: Along with the floor, clean the counters, cabinets, sink, all appliances (inside and outside), and anything else that comes with the kitchen.
  • Walls: Wipe down the walls, removing fingerprints and marks.
  • Outside spaces: If the apartment comes with a balcony, deck, yard, outdoor entry area, or any other similar space, thoroughly clean the area. Remove weeds or other debris.

If you notice cleanliness issues beyond normal wear and tear, such as serious carpet stains, deduct the cost of cleaning from your previous tenant’s security deposit.

Check Comfort Systems

Along with making sure that the HVAC system is safe and doesn’t have serious gas/carbon monoxide leaks, check it for functionality. You don’t want to get a call one week into the rental that your tenants are freezing in the cold temperatures or sweating through the heat.

Have a professional HVAC technician conduct a full pre-season checkup. This checkup should include cleaning the HVAC system, evaluating its components for wear and tear, replacing filters, and replacing any fluids necessary for full function. Your HVAC technician should also recommend replacements and repairs.

Are you ready to rent your apartment? Contact MacPherson’s Property Management, Inc., for more information on property management solutions.