tenant turnoverOnce 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 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.

In an ideal situation, one lease would end on the last day of the month and the next lease would begin on the 1st, leaving zero days of vacancy. While this dream scenario is possible, in a lot of cases you will need to account for some time to complete your turnover tasks to make the property rent ready.

The second your vacating tenant hands you the keys, turnover begins. You need to complete the move-out inspection, note any cleaning and repairs that need to happen, execute any cleaning and repairs, and then coordinate schedules with your new tenant to hand off the keys.

Landlords and property managers can find advice online for a realistic timeline to schedule in between tenants to properly execute all the turnover tasks. Timelines range from 12-24 hours to 7-10 days.

Before you schedule your next lease to start, consider these factors that will affect your realistic timeline between tenants.

  • How long have your vacating tenants live there?  The longer the tenancy, the more work that will likely need to be done
  • Is there carpet that need cleaning, paint that needs redoing or touching up, tile that needs grouting, screens that need repairing, appliances that need servicing, heating or AC units needing maintenance,etc?

To keep time down, have your handyman and cleaners ready to go in the same day as tenant moves out. If you are trying to keep cost down and do the turnover tasks yourself, remember to factor in additional time for your one-man crew. Additionally, remember that professional teams will have streamline processes and may be more efficient at completing tasks quickly.

At a minimum, here are some turnover tasks to consider that will give you an idea of how much time it will take you to get a property rent ready.

How Long Does it Take to…

  • Have Professionally Cleaned Carpet Dry: The drying time for carpet can vary between 2 and 24 hours, depending on air flow in the room, humidity and carpet type.
  • Paint a room: When you factor in cleaning the walls, taping the walls, painting time, and drying time. It can take up to 8 hours to paint just one room.
  • Clean a home: If your tenants don’t do a proper cleaning job, Maids.com notes that you can hire a 4-person cleaning crew to clean a 1000-sq. ft. property in 60 minutes. Bigger teams will cost more, while smaller cleaning teams will take longer.
  • Change the Locks: Home Depot published a DIY guide for changing the locks on a property and notes that is should take less than an hour.
  • Replace the Air Filters: Replacing the air filters in your rental home will only take a few minutes. At most 5 minutes, if you factor in the time it takes to lug the ladder from the garage inside and back out again. You should have your HVAC serviced regularly throughout the year, so you don’t have to worry about it cutting into your turnover time.
  • Test the Alarms: You need to make sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms are working properly before a new lease begins. Each alarm will take less than a minute to test, depending on how many rooms your property has, this take will take about 5 minutes.  However, if any alarms fail to work properly, you need to take the time to replace them.

What if your tenants didn’t actually move out when they were supposed to?

One strategy to consider is to start charging your tenants an hourly rate for each hour they stay on the property beyond the agreed upon key return time and lease expiration. Be upfront about this policy and have your tenants sign an agreement to these terms as part of your lease or move-out paperwork.  The hourly fee should be high enough to incentivize them to move out. Considering your tenants were required to provide a 30-day notice before their lease ended, they will have had plenty of time to move out.

What about abandoned property?

If your tenants move, but left a lot of belongings or “junk” behind, you will have to factor in the time it will take to deal with their abandoned property properly. Most state laws prevent a rental owner or manager from trashing abandoned property. While that may seem like the fastest and easiest solution, you actually have to itemize and safely store all items that aren’t truly considered garbage. Learn more — What to do with Abandoned Tenant Property.

To get an idea of what work will need to be done during tenant turnover, conduct a pre-move out inspection. You will be able save a lot of time during tenant turnover by doing routine inspections, regular maintenance, and a pre-move out inspection.