We are well into peak moving season, meaning you may have new tenants, or soon to be new tenants, who are getting ready to occupy your rental house. Whether they signed a lease with you recently or a few months ago, it’s important to review some important information with them on moving day.
A signed leased means your new renters passed your tenant screening criteria but even the best tenants can forget to pay attention to certain property rules and lease terms in the midst of moving day excitement. Even if they did pay attention during the lease signing process, putting together “welcome to the property” paperwork that highlights important information, helps them remember how to be a great tenant, without having to pull out their lengthy lease document to reference the rules.
You can email this information to your tenant prior to their move-in date, or provide them with a hard copy when they pick up the keys.
What to Include in your Welcome To The Property Paperwork
- Welcome Note – Don’t just start off listing rules without a proper introduction. Write out a fun welcome message that includes your tenant’s name to personalize it and demonstrates your excitement about having them as new tenants.
- Contact Information – Let your tenants know the best way to get a hold of you. Some clever management companies provides their contact information on a magnet for the fridge so their tenants can easily find the phone number or email when necessary. Make sure you are clear about who to contact about general questions or concerns and which number is for off-hour emergencies.
- Lease Terms – A simple reference to the length of the lease will remind them that they are committed to following your property rules and paying rent on time until the lease expires.
- When and Where To Pay Rent – Be very clear about what date rent is due and when you will consider it late and start charging late fees. Tell tenants the types of payments accepted (most landlords do not accept cash for rent) and where they can mail or drop off their monthly rent. To make paying rent even easier for your tenants, consider offering online rent payment solutions through ACH or credit/debit cards.
- Which Utilities Are Included – Remind your tenants which utilities they are responsible for and give a timeline for when they need to have their own accounts set up with local power, water, gas, sanitation, etc. companies.
- Maintenance Requests – Let your tenants know exactly how to submit maintenance requests, whether through a tenant portal supported by your property management software or via a phone call directly to you. If you provide a convenient way for your tenants to submit work orders, they will be more likely to report an issue before it becomes a big problem. Also make sure to distinguish what constitutes a maintenance request versus a maintenance emergency.
- Move-In Inspection Paperwork – Don’t forget to remind your tenants to complete their move-in inspection checklist. Some managers choose to do inspections with their tenants upon move-in, while others ask their tenants to complete the inspection checklist on their own and return the paperwork within a set time period.
- Inspections – While on the subject of move-in inspections, let your tenants know if you plan to have regular inspections to check-in on the property. It’s always a good idea for a landlord to inspect the property either seasonally or at some point during the lease term. You don’t need to have exact dates, just give them a heads up, and then send a reminder to schedule a routine inspection closer to the actual date.
- Rules About Personalizing The Property– If you have any rules about painting, or putting holes in the wall, now is a good time to remind your tenants before they put effort into personalizing their new home. Try saying something like, “we know you are excited to move-in and want you to feel at home in your new apartment. Please remember that you are not allowed to paint the walls, install permanent light fixtures or shelves, or put any holes in the wall (from hanging pictures). If you have questions about acceptable decorating please contact the management office.”
- Service/Maintenance Days – A simple note about which days landscaping crews will be on the property or when trash is collected for the property will help avoid these tenant questions in the future, saving you time and energy down the road.
- Pet policy – Despite the rules your tenant agreed to upon moving in, some tenants will always try to sneak pets in. Remind your tenants that pets are not allowed and violating the policy could be grounds for eviction. If you do allow pets, remind them to pick up any waste and give directions to a local park.
- Property Rules -No need to review every rule in detail but highlighting major ones like quiet hours, the property’s guest policy, and rules regarding common areas will benefit your tenants.
- Tenant Maintenance – Let your tenants know your expectations and their responsibilities for tenant maintenance like maintaining the property, replacing air filters, and keeping the property clean to avoid pest infestations.
- Upcoming Events – Invite your tenants to any property events so they have a chance to meet the neighbors and establish a relationship with the community.
- Beyond the Basics – You can further personalize your tenant move-in paperwork with information about where to the nearest grocery store, coffee shop, laundromat, and hospital. To truly go above and beyond consider putting together a Tenant Welcome Package with goodies to help your tenant feel more at home.
The whole point of welcome paperwork is to re-introduce yourself and the property rules to your tenant and provide a convenient reference for the lease terms you both agreed to about renting your property.