October 10, 2012

Property Move-Out Checklist

Attracting and retaining tenants is a pivotal focus in our line of work. Still, it’s inevitable that some residents will leave. When they do, it’s important that you take have a property move-out checklist that protects your assets, and ensures that tenants are satisfied with your service – from start to finish. After all, word of mouth can be a powerful form of advertising, so you want to do everything you can to keep tenants, including those who are leaving, happy.

We’ve put together a move-out checklist to make sure the process is as pleasant and efficient as possible, for both the property manager and the tenant, enabling a smooth transition for everyone involved.

Upon moving in

A seamless move-out starts with a well-planned move-in process. The following tips help set a baseline for the conditions of your property prior to move-in, and clarify expectations for tenants and property managers alike.

  • Provide residents with a tenant handbook. This handbook should outline the terms of regular wear and tear, and identify damages that go beyond the reach of reasonable daily living, for example, dented walls or stained carpets. It should also highlight the estimated costs of repairs, so that tenants understand the implications of their actions and aren’t blindsided if they do have to cover any expenses. (If you have an online tenant portal, your resident will have easy access to all of this information.)
  • Include a move-out checklist for cleaning. The handbook should clearly identify your expectations as to the condition of the property upon move-out. For example, if you want the bathtubs scrubbed and the floors swept, you should include these items.
  • Arrange a move-in inspection and apartment walkthrough. By examining the property with your tenants, you can ensure that both parties are satisfied with the unit’s conditions, and avoid potential disagreements later on. It’s a good idea to direct tenants to a site like the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), which offers information on what to expect from an initial inspection, as well as on their rights and responsibilities.

Upon 30-day notice

Once a tenant has given you notice that they’ll be moving out, there are several simple steps you can take to make the process go smoothly.

  • Schedule the key drop-off. In addition to ensuring that you’ll have your keys returned, this step clarifies the exact day your tenant will be vacating the property (and, therefore, the date you can start renting the unit to a new tenant).
  • Ask your tenant to reserve the building elevator for the move-out day. This makes things easier for your tenant, and also shows that you care about their property and convenience.
  • Book the pre-move-out inspection. During the inspection, you can identify any damages your tenant could be responsible for repairing or covering.
  • Send an official notice reminding your tenant of their responsibilities. This notice should also prompt your tenant to redirect their mail and cancel their utilities.
  • Ask for your tenant’s cell phone number or an alternate number. This ensures that you can still make contact, even if they disconnect their landline on or before moving day.

Additional Property Resources

For more information on ending a tenancy the right way, we recommend visiting the CMHC website and the Landlord and Tenant Board website.

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Tasha Morton

Tenant Receivables Analyst, MetCap Living Management Inc.

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