It’s no secret that becoming a landlord is one of the best ways to generate income without having to dedicate a ton of time to it. That doesn’t mean that you won’t have a lot of responsibilities that come along with it, though. One of the biggest tasks you’ll face as a landlord is apartment turnover.
If you’re new to the world of property rentals, then you probably have a lot of questions about tenant turnover and how it works. What steps do you need to take to successfully turn over your property and find a new tenant? How much will it all cost you?
Read on for a complete guide to turning over your rental property!
How Much Notice Did You Receive?
The first thing that you need to consider during the tenant turnover process is how much time you have until the apartment is vacant. As a landlord, your lease undoubtedly has a provision that stipulates how many days’ notice your tenants need to provide. Some landlords require 30 days, while others require 60 days or more.
At a minimum, your tenants are on the hook for the full amount of days notice required by the lease, even if they are planning on moving out before that. They may owe more to you if they are still in a lease. This is often paid out through a lease-break fee, or they may be responsible for their rent until you find a new tenant.
What does this mean for you?
Well, if your tenants turn in their keys seven days after giving notice, then you have time to prep the apartment for new tenants while still receiving rent money from the previous tenant. If they are month-to-month tenants who give proper notice and wait to move out, then you’ll have to hustle to find new tenants.
Marketing Your Apartment to New Renters
After receiving notice from your former tenant, you’ll want to start the search for a new tenant. There are a lot of different ways in which you can market your property. The following options are the most popular amongst property owners.
Social Media Marketing
You might think social media marketing is only for trendy products, but it’s actually a great place to put your ads for your rental property. For example, placing an ad in Instagram stories ensures that people who would otherwise not stumble across your apartment see it. All you need is a link to connect them from the ad to your inbox.
Typically, social media marketing plans have a pay-per-impression structure. This means you’ll pay a set amount each time your ad makes it into someone’s social media feed. You’ll pay for the ad regardless of whether the consumer clicks through or makes an inquiry.
The most common place people put ads for rental properties is websites like Apartments.com or Zillow.com. These are great sites to use because they’re hubs for people who are actively searching for a new place to live in a particular area. Ads feature photos of your rental and information about the features and amenities.
Marketing on websites like these entails paying a flat rate for a certain amount of time. Some websites have different packages that are inclusive of things like social media marketing, making it an extra powerful tool to have.
Real Estate Marketing
The final way to get the word out about your apartment is to network with local realtors. Depending on where your property is located, this may be the best way to get your property rented out. Once you’re on a realtor’s radar, they can help you find tenants who are looking for what you offer.
In exchange, you’ll pay a fee to the realtor for the tenant.
How Much Should You Spend on Marketing?
There’s no right answer to this question. In fact, the amount you should spend on marketing depends on a number of different factors. If you have an updated property in a prime location in a hot real estate market, then you probably won’t have to pay very much to get it rented.
If the rental market is sluggish, then you’re probably going to have to put a little bit more money and effort into your marketing.
One of the most critical times in apartment turnover is the moment the tenant actually vacates the apartment. What do you do when the tenant refuses to leave and hasn’t paid? Eviction is usually the answer to holdover tenants.
How Long Does the Eviction Process Take?
The eviction process can be relatively quick and painless, or it can be a drawn-out process. It depends on the laws in your state and the reason why you’re filing for eviction.
Before you file for eviction, you must make sure that you abide by the lease agreement. This often means giving the tenant proper notice to fix the issue and/or move out on their own. If they breach the lease, then you are free to file for eviction with the local court.
Once the court grants you the eviction, it can take between 30 and 90 days before the sheriff comes to officially remove the tenant from the apartment. The length of time it takes generally depends upon your jurisdiction and local laws.
How Much Can You Bill the Tenant?
Processing an eviction isn’t an inexpensive thing. Thankfully, in most instances, you can bill the tenants you evict an eviction turnover fee. Ideally, this fee is stipulated in the terms of your lease.
One thing to remember is that the law requires landlords to mitigate their damages. This means you can’t just bill your former tenant for the remainder of their lease term without making an effort to get a new tenant into the rental. Once you have a new tenant, you will need to refund the old tenant for any overlapping rent.
Collecting What’s Owed
When you’ve evicted a tenant, the odds are good that they aren’t going to pay you what they owe. That doesn’t mean that you’re out of luck, though. Many property owners opt to send their former tenants to collections instead of holding out hope that they’ll pay.
The collection agency works with the tenant to try to get you the money that you’re owed. If they don’t pay, then they can go to court on your behalf and have a lien placed on the tenant. This allows you to collect what’s owed to you through their paychecks and income tax returns.
Cleaning and Preparing for New Tenants
The apartment is empty, and you’re ready to make it brand new again for new tenants. Ideally, you’ve done a walk-through with your previous tenants, so you know what’s waiting for you. Regardless, there are several steps that you need to take in order to make your space liveable again.
Cost of Cleaning Services
The first thing you probably think of when it comes to tenant turnover services is cleaning the apartment. This is no ordinary clean, it’s a top to bottom, thorough clean. For that reason, it’s important to hire an experienced cleaning service to get the work done.
The rate you’re charged for cleaning services depends on the state of the apartment before the clean and the size of the property that needs to be cleaned. Expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $400 for a move-out clean. The good news is that you can bill the tenant for the cleaning if they failed to do it before they moved out.
One of the biggest expenses that comes with turning over an apartment is when you need to replace the carpet. Every carpet should be replaced on a regular basis, generally every five or so years. If your tenant damages the carpet before it needs to be replaced, then you can charge them for the damages.
Some landlords charge the tenants for the new carpet altogether. Others prorate the charges based on how much life is left on the carpet. So a tenant who damages a brand new carpet ends up paying significantly more than someone who damages a carpet that is at the end of its life.
If the carpet is in good shape, and it still has some life left in it, then a simple clean is all you’ll need to do. Once the carpet is dry, it’ll be ready for new tenants!
Depending on the size of the apartment and the type of carpet, carpet replacements will cost you up to $2,000 on average, while cleanings cost up to $250.
Like carpet, paint also has a lifespan, and it should be redone between tenants if necessary. In ideal conditions, interior paint lasts two or more years. If a tenant put holes in the wall or damaged the paint, however, then you will need to touch it up.
Many landlords choose to patch holes on a flat rate basis. After patching up holes, expect to pay a professional service anywhere from $1.50 to $3.50 per square foot to repaint your rental property.
Billing Former Tenants
If you’re going to bill your tenants for anything related to the turnover, be sure to save all of your receipts and make copies of them to send along with their final bill or their deposit refund. If you want to prorate things like paint and carpet based on the remaining life, be sure to include those calculations.
You should also check state and local laws to learn how long you have to get this information to your former tenants.
Failure to send a statement or refund to your former tenants within a certain timeframe is a big liability. In many instances, you may be required to send the full deposit and then some as a penalty, even if they owe would have owed you money.
How Can You Avoid Apartment Turnover?
As you can tell, apartment turnover is an expensive process, especially if there was a lot of damage to your property. It makes sense that you’d want to do everything you can to make sure that you attract and retain good tenants to avoid having to go through the turnover process too frequently. These strategies will help you do just that!
Incentivize Your Tenants to Stay
The best way to keep your tenants is to give them a reason to stay. This is a critical step in sluggish rental markets where competing properties are offering deep rental discounts.
Offer not to raise your tenant’s rent if they agree to stay a certain amount of time. Even better, discount their rent if they agree to a lengthy lease term. Check out https://rentsafe.lease/maximize-tenant-retention/ for more awesome ways to incentivize your current tenants.
Work with Tenants on Rent Increases
If rental availability in your area is low, it’s tempting to raise the rent a significant amount in order to maximize on the current market. Tenants expect to have to pay more for their apartment over time, but big jumps are a great way to ensure that your tenant will vacate your property.
Send out a renewal offer to your tenant, and expect that to be a jumping-off point for negotiations. Working with tenants on the increase is a great way to help convince them to stay.
Keep Your Property in Good Shape
There’s nothing more uncomfortable than living in an apartment that is falling apart. If your tenants notice that things are not in ideal condition, then they are probably chomping at the bit to move out. Be sure to stay on top of your tenant’s maintenance requests and keep the outside of the property looking good, too.
Don’t Let Turnover Terrify You!
There’s not a single landlord out there that will tell you that they look forward to going through the apartment turnover process. Regardless, it’s part of owning rental properties, so it’s important to have a full understanding of all of the steps and expenses you’ll have to deal with. With a little research, you’ll be way ahead of the curve!
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