A positive and successful rental experience depends on good communication and established expectations. If you want your tenant to pay rent on time, take care of your property, and follow the terms of your lease, you have to be clear and consistent in the way you communicate.
At Parks Property Management, we take the time to let our tenants know what we expect from them before they move in, during the tenancy, and when they’re preparing to move out.
Setting Expectations Before the Tenancy
It’s a good idea to meet with your tenants before they move in to go over the lease, collect the move-in funds, and discuss how you expect to work together. Almost everything can be automated these days; you can have your tenants sign lease documents online and you can allow them to make their payments electronically. Those are great tools that increase efficiency and provide documentation.
However, meeting in person is sometimes required, especially if you want to establish a personal and professional relationship and talk earnestly about what you expect from them while they’re living in your property. If you get together to discuss the lease, you can answer any questions and be clear about their responsibility.
Before we hand over the keys and begin the move-in process, we like tenants to understand:
- Our expectations in terms of rent collection; when rent is due, how it should be paid, and what the consequences are when it’s late.
- Our expectations in terms of maintenance; what our standards for cleanliness are and how repair issues should be handled and reported.
- Our expectations in terms of following the lease terms; what’s allowed and what’s prohibited, and how the responsibilities of a tenant are different than the responsibilities of a landlord.
We discuss everything from changing the air filters to taking care of the lawn. It’s important that we’re on the same page with our tenants so that everyone has a good experience.
Setting Move-Out Expectations Early
All tenants are interested in getting their full security deposit returned to them. It’s a lot of money; usually at least the equivalent of one month’s rent. We like to be very clear on what needs to happen before they move out. They’re provided with a list of how the home should be cleaned, and we let them know that we’ll be comparing the condition of the property at move-out with the way it looked when they moved in. This helps us to determine whether they get their full deposit back or whether we’ll be withholding money to pay for things like cleaning and repairs.
In California, we’re required to offer our tenants a pre move-out inspection before they leave. This is a good way to point out things that we might deduct from the security deposit. Not all tenants take advantage of this opportunity, but we highly recommend it.
One of the reasons we have satisfied tenants who stay in place for the long term is that we communicate openly and transparently. We are always clear and direct about our expectations, and tenants appreciate knowing what they have to do to fulfill the responsibilities in their lease agreement.
If you have any questions about how to establish your expectations with your tenants, please contact us at Parks Property Management.