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Tenant Turnover Doesn’t Have to be Stressful

Even the best tenants don’t stick around forever. Especially in California’s turbulent rental market where demand and supply are both on the increase. 

For landlords, getting notice from tenants can leave them blindsided and scrambling to fill an empty unit. Transitioning between renters isn’t just a case of ‘out with the old, in with the new’. Landlords need to think about finding new tenants, showing the apartment, fulfilling their obligations to the departing tenants, checking the property, and more.

Tenant turnover doesn’t have to be stressful - so in this blog we share a few tips on how to handle the switch as smoothly as possible, minimizing disruption for landlords, tenants, and the property itself.

Giving notice

 If your tenants are under a fixed term lease, they have to give you 60 days notice before moving out. If they’re on a month to month lease, that notice period is just 30days. In either case, if your renter doesn’t give you the required notice, you may still be able to charge them rent after they’ve moved out.

If tenants need to move in a hurry because of an unexpected life event, they can approach landlords and negotiate an earlier departure date. Any such arrangement must be put in writing so both parties know exactly where they stand. Just because your tenant is on the way out, doesn’t mean you can skip the formalities! 

Arranging a final inspection 

Once your tenant has given notice, it’s a good idea to pay the property a visit. Landlords should do this sooner rather than later as there may be some issues that need to be resolved while the tenant is still on the property. If your tenant has caused any damage, you need to know about it before they take off.

Your tenant doesn’t have to be home for this inspection, but they do need to know about it. Landlords can enter their unit for maintenance inspections, providing they give tenants at least 24 hours notice – outlining the reason for the visit, date of entry and time of entry (this has to be between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.). 

If you do find damage, be mindful that landlords are responsible for normal wear and tear. Occupied properties will inevitably degrade over time and things like broken appliances, chips in the paint, and cracked tiles are generally the landlord’s responsibility. This kind of normal wear and tear is defined as “the reasonable use of the premises by the tenant and the ordinary operation of natural forces.”

What’s not reasonable is damage caused by a tenant or their guest. This can also cover any damage done by neglect. For example, if a pipe is obviously leaking but the tenant doesn’t bother to inform the landlord the leak will inevitably give rise to other issues such as mold. Similarly, if there’s a pest infestation and the tenant doesn’t tell the landlord or take steps to address it promptly that will also lead to further, avoidable, damage to the unit.

Showing the unit

 Whether you decide to sell the unit or rent it out again, you’ll have to show it. This is obviously easier if the property is unoccupied but can still be done while the tenants are preparing to leave if you want to get a jump on the process.

Under the Tenant law, landlords may enter their unit to show it to prospective renters/buyers under similar conditions to maintenance visits i.e. the showing must be between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. and make a reasonable effort to inform or notify the tenant before entry – giving them at least 24 hours notice.

Selecting new tenants

 Often the hardest part of transitioning between tenants is saying goodbye to renters that you’ve come to trust and have built a relationship of mutual respect with. Moving into uncharted waters with new tenants can be intimidating.

Minimize the risk of problem tenants by carefully vetting any applications. This should include a credit check, employment history, references, and a police check. When you have all their documentation together, arrange an interview. In-person meetings are crucial for getting to know someone and finding out if they’re a good fit.

Don’t be tempted to rush the selection process or cut corners. If you don’t have the time or resources to thoroughly screen your renters, outsource the job to a reliable property manager. 

The team at Central Coast Property Management handles every aspect of tenant management, from screening and interviewing to resolving disputes and rent collection. Using a professional service such as this offers landlords invaluable peace of mind and reduces the risk of real estate fraud or other costly and stressful conflicts.

Whether you’re between tenants, are considering becoming a landlord, or need help managing your property, contact our team. We’ve helped hundreds of landlords enjoy stress-free passive income on their property investment!

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