How to Complete an Apartment Turnover Checklist
An apartment turnover checklist needs to be completed when a current tenant plans to move out and will no longer be residing in your unit. Here are the main steps to turning over an apartment that every landlord needs to know to save time and money.
There will be instances where tenants forgo renewing their lease, leaving you with no choice but to conduct an apartment turnover to keep generating income from your rental. Although this part of managing a rental does take some time to do, an apartment turnover checklist can guide you through each part of the process.
Here are the main steps to turning over an apartment every landlord needs to know to save time and money.
What Is an Apartment Turnover?
An apartment turnover needs to be performed when a current tenant decides not to renew their lease and plans to move out instead. Since the property most likely has wear-and-tear damage, you’ll want to set aside time to handle any maintenance tasks, as well as thoroughly clean the property and schedule a third-party property inspection if required by local ordinances.
The process to turnover an apartment can take a few days to a few weeks, depending on what needs to be completed. To help keep you on track, you can use an apartment turnover checklist that outlines all the essential steps of the process.
What Does an Apartment Turnover Checklist Consist of?
The rental property will need to be properly restored prior to the new tenant moving in. Here are eight steps you’ll want to complete to turnover an apartment:
- Receive a Move-Out Notice
Landlords typically notify tenants of lease renewal options 90 days before the lease term end date to determine if they’ll need to find new tenants. If your tenant doesn’t want to renew their lease, then the first step to turning over an apartment is receiving a written notice from your tenant clearly stating this.
Each state varies with when a tenant will need to provide a move-out notice, but it’s often 30 to 60 days before the last day of their lease to provide landlords with enough time to find a new tenant. The notice should clearly state their intention for not wanting to renew the lease, the day they’ll vacate the property by, and an address to send any expenses they’re responsible for covering.
- Advertise Your Rental Property
Now that you’re aware you’ll need to find a new tenant, you’ll want to advertise your rental property online. The demand for a rental property varies depending on the time of the year — with the summer months being the busiest — but the more sites you can post your rental listing to, the better your chances are of generating tenant interest and shortening your vacancy period.
Avail allows landlords to syndicate their rental listings across Zillow, Trulia, HotPads, Zumper, Apartments.com, Realtor.com®, PadMapper, Apartment List, Walk Score, and Doorsteps. Any generated leads can then be managed through your landlord dashboard to keep everything in one place.
Pro tip: Include a stellar rental listing description and high-quality photos of your property in all your rental listings to get the best results.
- Schedule a Property Showing
Showing a property while it’s occupied is a normal part of turning over an apartment. However, you’ll want to approach this step strategically so your current tenants don’t feel uncomfortable when you’re showing the property to prospective tenants.
It’s advised to provide your current tenants with a 24-hour notice of any property showings, but this can vary by state. Providing them with a notice will give them time to clean the unit and notify you of any major damage to be aware of.
You are not legally obligated to compensate your current tenants for allowing you to conduct a property showing since this is a normal part of the renting process. But if they do express any uncomfortable feelings about having strangers view the property, you can work with them to create a plan that allows you to show the property to new tenants well before the lease term officially ends.
- Screen Prospective Tenants
If you’ve previously screened tenants on Avail, you can use the same application template to screen new tenants for the same property. You can also create a rental application from scratch if you’d like to include five custom questions.
Any prospective tenant will need to authorize a rental background check. You can also add a TransUnion credit, criminal, and eviction report to a rental application for $55, a fee that either you or the tenant can cover. But before doing this, make sure you know the laws around the tenant screening process in your city or state to avoid landing in a tough legal situation.
- Create a Lawyer-Reviewed Lease Agreement
Similar to a rental application, Avail allows landlords to clone an existing lease agreement with Unlimited Plus to reuse for your new tenant. If there are any new clauses you want to add, this can easily be done in minutes so your lease agreement provides full protection for both parties.
You can also make a new lawyer-reviewed lease agreement to share with your tenant for free. The final lease agreement can then be emailed to the tenant so they can provide their legally-binding signature before adding your own signature.
- Get Keys from Your Tenant and Inspect the Property
Before they return the keys, you may want to schedule a final inspection with your current tenant to walk through each room in the unit and take note of any damage that’s outside of normal wear and tear.
Your tenant can then return the keys to the rental property and get their security deposit back if no major damage has been identified and they have no outstanding debt due.
- Prepare the Property for New Tenants
You’ve completed the step of finding a new tenant, meaning it’s now time to fully inspect the property, appliances, and walls for any damage that needs to be fixed. All properties will experience normal wear and tear during a lease term, so it’s important to set some time aside to conduct the following tasks:
- Completely repaint or touch up the paint on the walls
- Professionally clean the carpets, floors, and all the appliances
- Change the locks and keys of the property
- Take pictures of the property once all tasks have been completed
Each state varies on what they require to be completed prior to a new tenant occupying the unit. To stay up to date on local ordinances, you can refer to your local landlord-tenant laws for more information on what needs to be done.
- Collect Rental Fees Before Handing Over Keys
Thanks to property management software platforms, collecting rental fees can all be done online. In the past, you would have needed to schedule an in-person meeting to complete this step, but you can now collect the first month’s rent, the security deposit or move-in fee, and any other fees the tenant will be responsible for covering online.
Your tenant will need to create an account on Avail to set up their rent payment method, all of which will be deposited into the bank account you’ve linked to. They should also consider purchasing renters insurance to ensure their belongings are protected during the lease term.
Once you’ve collected all the required fees and proof of renters insurance, you can then provide them with their new set of keys to the property. You’ve successfully completed an apartment turnover checklist!
Pro tip: Provide tenants with a welcome letter outlining steps they can take to set up their utilities, when garbage will be collected, and how to best contact you.
How Expensive Are Apartment Turnover Costs?
Ideally, you want a new tenant to move in shortly after your current tenant moves out, but this doesn’t always happen — increasing the chance of going a few months without rent payments. Considering this and maintenance costs, the average apartment turnover can cost a few thousand dollars.
The number ultimately depends on how much work needs to be done to remedy any damage caused by the previous tenant, as well as the amount of time it takes to find a new tenant.