Property Management, Tenant Selection, Real Estate News & Tips

Is Your Property Rent Ready ?

By on May 24, 2016 in Education with 10 Comments

A fresh start to a new lease means getting your property rent ready and sparkling for your next tenant. Rent ready means your rental property is in perfect condition for new tenants to move in.  The sooner your property is rent ready, the sooner you can start collecting rent, and the less money you will lose from vacancy.

Once a lease ends and your tenants move out, you need to move quickly in order to get the property rent ready for the next renters who plan to move in. Follow this simple checklist to make sure you don’t miss important items that can get overlooked when you are in a hurry to get a property rented quickly.

A little extra effort during turnover can set you and your tenants up for success. The cleaner and nicer your property is at the beginning of a lease term, the better chance you have at your new tenants maintaining the condition – they probably want to get their security deposit back after all.

This rent ready checklist goes over essential items you want to check, clean, replace, and test once your old tenants have moved out and before a new lease starts.


Even if your past tenants did an okay job cleaning, you will need to make sure your property is at a professional level of cleanliness before a new lease starts. If you start every lease with a professionally cleaned property and your tenants do not get the property up to the same standard upon vacating, you can use the security deposit to pay for the cleaning cost.

While the whole house should be clean, make sure to pay special attention to carpets, windows, walls, and bathrooms.  If your old tenants do not do a sufficient job cleaning, hire a cleaning service. Cleaning companies tend to charge between $25-$40/hr depending on how big the property is and how deep they need to clean.


During tenant turnover, take advantage of the empty property to check out important features and make sure they are functioning properly.

  • Widows – Make sure windows open smoothly and the tracks are clean. Replace any broken screens and ensure locks work properly. Same goes for any sliding glass doors.
  • Appliances –  When providing appliances for tenants’ use, you have no control over how they use the fixtures in the home.  No matter how much you ask them to clean out the lint trap of the dryer or change air filters, they might “forget”.  Landlords will benefit from making sure appliances are working properly and efficiently.  Spend a little extra time inspecting and servicing major appliances to extend the life of these big ticket items like HVAC systems, sump pumps, refrigerators, stoves, washer and dryers, etc.
  • Safety Features – Protect your tenants and your investment by double checking the safety features at your property.  Not only is it a good idea to provide a safe home for your tenants, most state laws require landlords to provide a safe and liveable home for renters. Perform an interior and exterior inspection of entrances, railings, walkways, structures and appliances.


  • Locks – Not all landlords find the need to replace locks between tenants, but a new lock will help your renters feel safest. You never know how many times your past tenants made copies of keys, so getting them replaced will ensure a secure home for your tenants – just make sure to keep a copy for yourself.
  • Air filters- If you want your renters to get in the habit of replacing air filters to keep your HVAC system functioning properly, start them off with a new filter and provide a pack of replacements. Set up reminders in your management software to let your tenants know when it’s time to pop in a new filter.
  • Batteries –  Starting a new lease with fresh batteries for the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms will help you ensure you are meeting proper safety regulations for your properties.  It is a good idea to invest in high quality batteries that last a long time – if you can avoid a chirping alarm, you may also prevent an annoyed tenant from disabling the system.


During turnover, do a walk through of the property and flip every light switch and test the outlets to make sure the electrical system is working properly and that no bulbs need replacing.  A burned out light-bulb can kill interest quickly if you are still doing showings and trying to rent out the unit.

Water Faucets – Run all the faucets to ensure they operate properly. You are looking for proper drainage as well as adequate water pressure and temperature. Look under the sinks to ensure there is no moisture or drips.

Freshen Up

Turnover is a great time to repaint the unit or replace the carpet if the walls or flooring have outlived normal wear and tear.   Give the exterior landscape a fresh new look by reseeding the lawn and trimming the bushes if your last tenants didn’t keep up with maintenance. Check out these tips to find out what updates you can make now to save money on turnover in the future.

Taking the time to check out these issues in your rental property in between tenants is the best way to get ahead of more major repairs and set your unit up for showings. Even the pickiest applicants won’t find anything to complain about and you’ll have a lot less to maintain throughout the next year when it comes to maintenance.

Here’s a recap of your Rent Ready Checklist to streamline turnover and start your new lease as soon as possible.

  1. Clean
    • Carpets
    • Windows
    • Walls
    • Bathroom
    • Unit
  2. Check
    • Windows
    • Appliances
    • Safety Features
  3. Replace
    • Locks
    • Air Filters
    • Batteries
  4. Test
    • Lights
    • Outlets
    • Water Faucets
  5. Freshen Up
    • Paint
    • Carpets/Flooring
    • Landscape


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About the Author

About the Author: Kaycee (Wegener) Miller manages marketing and media relations for Rentec Direct, bringing a unique perspective to the world of property management and proudly shares industry news, products, and trends within the community. .


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There Are 10 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Hi Kaycee,

    You shared your views for rent property. With the help of these points we can well understand the major needs of a tentars and also helpful to us for maintenance of a rented house. Thanks a lot for sharing this content with us.

  2. I think the preparations are important, apartment needs to be cleand up before it are ready for rent.

  3. Heather Foisy says:

    Great article! Very helpful! The only thing I would recommend is to do the quarterly air filter change yourself. This gives you an opportunity to do a walk through to check for damage, unapproved pets, general condition of the place to see if you want to renew their lease, etc… Even with providing extra filters, none of our tenants would change them, even with reminders. They would just call every time the furnace was broken from their negligence. Expensive lesson for us. Plus maintenance generally is a landlord responsibility.

  4. Roger C says:

    Hi Kaycee, this article focus’s on a rentals previously rented; however, I’m interested in what needs to be done from first timer perspective. I imagine much of this article would apply but, i’m sure there’s other things to consider when getting your house ready to rent. Our home is a bit dated, good condition but, sometimes feels like walking onto set of a Brady Bunch episode. Should we consider remodeling? Thanks for your help. And thanks for posting this article, very informative

    • Before you remodel anything you really need to consider how the cost will effect your profit. A good investment should aim to return 6-8% within the first few years. Honestly, for a rental, functional and clean is the biggest priority. If you feel like a kitchen or flooring upgrade would make it look modern but negatively impact your bottom-line, I would refrain. Pricing the property right for the area, even $20 less a month compared to the brand new apartments across the street, will make it more attractive.

      I think the most important things are clean floors; carpets should get replaced every seven years and cleaned every year. A fresh coat of paint in-between tenants will breathe new life into a property. And functioning appliances, heating, and plumbing. Instead of spending money on a re-model, save money for a big reserve fund to take care of preventative maintenance to make your tenants happy and extend the life of your property’s features. If you want to update appliances, I would do them as needed each year and partner them with a rent increase. For example, “We are going to increase your rent by $50 a month. But you are also getting an energy efficient HVAC unit that will save you money on your electricity bill each month.” It’s a nice way to soften the blow of a routine rent increase and provides additional value to your renters.

  5. James Corona says:

    Excellent we are well aware of all of the maintenance preparation steps but what is the average time it takes for 1 maintenance technician to complete all of these tasks?

    • It will depend on how much cleaning and repairs need to happen. In an ideal world, you’ll be able to get a property rent ready in less than 24 hrs. If you have to paint, get the carpets cleaned and hire a cleaning crew, it could take up to a week. If there is extensive damage to repair or abandoned tenant property to categorize, remove and store, it can take even longer.

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