Tenant has given notice to vacate: Landlord should take these steps
So, your tenant has given the notice to vacate and now you are wondering what to do? Being a Landlord, you are required to take the immediate steps. You need to ensure that the tenant complies by the lease and will return a peaceful possession of your property at the end of the tenancy. Perform these steps to ensure a peaceful possession and timely exit by the tenant.
Landlord Steps When Tenant gives notice to vacate
Review the Lease
Once your tenant has given the notice to vacate, review the lease so that you don`t miss out on important points. You need to ensure that you have received a proper notice from the tenant. In most states, the tenant is needs to give a notice 20-30 days before the end of rental month.
If the tenant has given the timely notice, he is good to vacate the property after the rental month expires. Some tenant however gives the notice just 5-10 days before the rental month is going to expire. In such cases, you need to ensure that the tenant complies by the lease and do serve a 20-30 days notice before they leave.
But if your tenant doesn’t want to serve notice and wish to leave before the rental month expire. The tenant still has to comply by the term of lease. He can either choose to stay for One month extra or pay the rent for the next month if moving out on his planned time.
However in these cases, you can be a little emphatic towards your tenant. You can favor your tenant by returning the prorated rent if you find a new tenant for the time the tenant is paying the rent. Going an extra mile for your tenant will help you in long run. And in return, there is a chance that your tenant will return you back the place in best shape possible.
Last month rent
Most tenants while giving the notice to vacate comes up with an idea of having the security amount adjusted in the last month rent. You should not allow this to happen. However, some landlords often mistake by letting their tenant to use the deposit in the rent.
Avoid this mistake. Else be ready to expect your property in distress when your tenant left the place. Because if you allow your tenant to adjust the security amount this way. Be ready to cover the cost of damages if any caused by the tenant.
Furthermore, what if your tenant who has given the notice to vacate denies moving out the next month? In such case; you will be deprived of next month rent, damage costs and huge eviction costs if have to go that way.
The security amount is held with you to ensure good faith on the tenant to keep you free from harms. Your tenant will stay compelled to follow the terms and conditions of the lease if you keep the security amount with you until the tenant moves out. But if you let the tenant use this deposit, it is you who will be at a loss at the end.
Carry out a prior inspection
It is important you have a prior inspection once your tenant gives the notice to vacate. Doing so, you can prior inspect for any damages caused by the tenant to your property. And if you find any damages, you can ask the tenant to get it fixed before they leave the property.
This way you will levy sufficient time for the tenant to get the repairs done and ensure to get a peaceful possession back of your property on time. Your tenant doesn’t want his security amount to get deducted, so he will ensure to get the repairs done on time.
Delaying the inspection for the last day, you are also delaying the renting process for a new tenant. The more time you will took to rent the place to the new tenant, the more you will have a loss of rent. So, never leave the inspection for the day; when your tenant is vacating the property. Always ensure to make a prior inspection immediately after your tenant gives a notice to vacate.
Furthermore not carrying the prior inspection, you are taking on the liability of doing repairs yourself which is supposed to be responsibility of your tenant. Also if you will have inspection on last day, you can estimate wrong repair charges. And possibly, you will pay more than what you have deducted from the tenant`s security deposit.
Give move out document
Make a habit of giving a move out document immediately when you are done with prior inspection. It will let your tenant understand the charges that will occur if tenant fails to handover a peaceful possession.
You can include various charges in the move out document. These charges can include payment for not cleaning up, any damage that you have inspected, and delay in vacating the property. You can deduct these charges from the security amount if the tenant fails to perform the required tasks.
Giving a move out document shows your concern to the tenant of getting back a peaceful possession of your property. Also, you can save yourself from disputes that generally occur over security deposits when the tenant moves out.
Receiving this document, your tenant will prioritize the tasks that he is required to do before vacating the property. He will behave according to set instructions of the move out document and can ensure to get a full refund of the security back on time.
Check Utility Bills
Never forget to verify the utility bills by the provider. They should be current and paid till the date by your tenant. If something is due, verify it from the tenant and settle it before he gets a return of the security money. Also ensure to update the utility providers that the tenant is moving out.
Remember to take the meter readings on the day tenant is moving out of the property and collect the charges of utility till that date. Ensure to give your tenant a bill for the utility charges and don`t deduct it from the security straightaway.
Check the utility bills 10 days before move out or immediately after receiving the notice to vacate. As, you need to arrange the security refund and knowing prior of how much to return will make the process smoother.
Make a Final Inspection
When the day your tenant is finally vacating the property arrives, ensure to have a last inspection. Once the tenant left the place, make a thorough inspection and ensure the tenant has remove all his belongings completely. Inspect for any damages or so if done by the tenant.
Check whether the tenant has cleaned up the place and everything is in order or not. The bathroom and kitchen should be in right condition. It should be clean and working properly. Whether the Tenant has cleared up any trash or garbage which is left behind at the curb.
Also, move the furniture once to see there hasn`t any hidden damage beneath it. The walls are of the same color as given before tenancy. And, there should be no holes or damage to the walls or the paint. All the fittings including the electric, plumbing and heat are in good condition and working properly.
And if you find any error during the final inspection, get the repairs done and send the itemized bill to the tenant. Ensure to settle the bills before the tenant get a refund of their security.
Don`t Forget to collect all the keys you have given to the tenant during the time of move in. Though, it is always a good idea to change all the locks if possible.
Return the Security
Based on inspection, determine how much security amount you are required to return to the tenant. If everything is in place and no damage has been done. You are required to hand over the security to your tenant within 21 days after tenant move out of property.
But if there are damages to your property, you can send the security deposit money by making necessary deductions. In the case of deduction, send an itemized bill to the tenant describing all the issues and the money spent on fixing those issues.
However, sometimes the damage to the property is so extreme that the cost of repairs surpasses the security amount held with you. If this is the case with you, read a detailed article on Landlord remedies when security deposit is not enough to cover damages