When the lease period ends and your tenants decide not to renew, you’ll have to prepare for their move-out. This is a critical time for you as a landlord because you’ll need to think about returning the tenant’s security deposit and preparing your San Diego rental property for new tenants.
Having a consistent procedure in place will keep you organized and ensure you treat each tenant fairly and in accordance with your lease agreement.
Conduct a Move-Out Inspection
California law requires you to offer your tenants a pre-move out inspection. If they decide to move forward and schedule that inspection, you’ll have the opportunity to walk through the property with your residents and discuss any potential security deposit deductions. You can point out small repairs that will need to be made, talk about your cleaning standards, and review the move-out requirements in your lease agreement.
After the tenant has officially moved out and returned the keys and other property, you’ll have to return to the property and do a thorough move-out inspection. At this point, you’re looking for property damage that goes beyond general wear and tear. You cannot charge for things like scuff marks on the wall from where a piece of furniture was or small nail holes in the walls from where pictures or clocks were hung. You can, however, charge for damage that’s accidental or due to abuse, neglect, or misuse. Document everything with pictures, videos, and notes during the inspection. Compare it to the notes and inspection report from the move-in process.
Prepare the Security Deposit Return and Statement
The most complicated part of the move-out process for most owners is the return of the security deposit. California law requires you to return your tenant’s security deposit within 21 days of the tenant moving out. If you’re late, you could face some pretty severe financial penalties.
Before your tenant vacates, get a forwarding address so you can send the security deposit back within those 21 days. If you don’t have a forwarding address, send it to the last known address. If you make a claim against the security deposit or keep any of the tenant’s funds, make sure you have itemized what the charges are and why they were made. Include receipts, invoices, or repair estimates.
Turnover Maintenance: Preparing for the Next Tenants
With your current tenants out of the property, you want to get your San Diego investment home re-rented as soon as possible. This will save you money on long vacancy periods and ensure you aren’t losing a lot of cash flow.
Try to make your turnover process as efficient and cost-effective as possible. If you’re working with a San Diego property management company, you will likely get this done in a few days. We have relationships with vendors and contractors who can get the work done quickly, enabling us to re-rent the home right away. Schedule the vendors you will need and take care of the cleaning once the work is done.
You’ll also want to get the utilities turned on in your name until you have a new tenant. When you’re showing the property, you’ll want to be able to turn on the lights and the water.
These are some of the things to include in your move-out process. If you have any questions about how to manage this with your San Diego rental property, please contact us at Walters Home Management.