While it might seem simple to manage the moving out of tenants, there are certain responsibilities that a landlord has to fulfill to abide by the laws put in place by the government. To help you out, we have compiled an important list of procedures to follow that will make the tenant eviction process smooth and hassle-free. From initiating the first eviction notice up to refunding the deposits, here are the things you need to consider whenever your tenants move out of your property. 

Serving a Notice

According to law, a tenant needs to give the landlord a 60 to 90-day notice before they intend to move out. You should utilize this time to prepare the property for a new tenant. It is best to ask your tenant to provide their intention of moving out in writing. You can start counting the 90 days from the date you receive a written notice of the tenant’s intention to move out. Some tenants move out early of their own accord, but they can still be held accountable to pay the rent till the end of the notice period. Tenants moving out early can also give you ample time to conduct repair and maintenance tasks on your property. 

If a new tenant comes in early, before the end of the 90-day notice period, a portion of the rent should be returned to the previous tenant as renting out the same property to two different parties is illegal. However, having a clause indicating an early termination fee added in the lease papers can decrease the amount to be paid. If you want to show potential tenants your property within the 90-days notice period, ask for permission to visit the property from the tenants currently living there. You have every right to visit your property and the tenant cannot refuse it. Still, the tenant has the authority to set the date or time of the visit according to what suits them. 

Property Inspection

A final property inspection should be done by the tenant and the landlord together to avoid any confusion later on. Tenants sometimes leave behind some belongings that are no longer required or items that they cannot move out easily. Sometimes, these belongings are left intentionally to cover the damage caused to the property. For example, a tenant may leave rugs or carpets behind to hide visible damage to the flooring or leave wall decorations to cover wall damage. In case you often tend to forget things, make an apartment turnover checklist to ensure you never miss a step during the inspection, maintenance, cleaning, or handing over the property to the new tenant. Many states require landlords to notify the tenants of their belongings and give them time to collect. Here’s a compact guideline you can use to get rid of their stuff the quickest way possible.

  • Make an inventory of the belongings and separate any valuable items.
  • Notify the tenant to claim the items within 30 days or they would be legally considered abandoned. 
  •  Include the inventory list in the notice as well.
  • Claim the costs for storing their belongings safely.

Costs for Repairs

Before you conduct your move-out inspection, do some research on your legal rights as a landlord according to your state laws. In many states across the USA, landlords are not allowed to deduct repair costs from the security deposit. If you are not very aware of the general rules to follow, visit government authorities or talk to a representative from a property management company to understand the laws involved. 

Returning Security Deposits 

Never give a tenant their security deposit immediately after a move-out inspection. There is a chance of finding damages even after your tenants have moved out. You have a month to return their security deposit. Landlords sometimes also withhold security deposits for unnecessary reasons which are illegal in most cases. However, mentioning the withholding of the security deposits or the costs of repairs on the lease papers puts you within your legal right to take action immediately. As mentioned earlier, you can send the security deposit to the tenants within 30 days including an explanation on why a portion of it has been withheld. Moreover, write down the costs for cleaning, removal of trash, and repairs that can also be deducted through proper documentation. 

The last step before welcoming in new tenants is to change the locks after you have repaired, painted, and fixed everything. We hope you find the information mentioned above useful while going through the move-out process. Make sure you are very careful while following the tips above so that all your actions are within a legal framework to avoid being held liable for any misconduct. 

Published by HOLR Magazine.