Like anything else, tenancies do come to an end. People move on for a variety of reasons but any tenancy that starts will also, at some point, end. Vacancy is a part of the rental housing cycle. There is no reason to be afraid of a vacancy. Unless you own property in a very rural location or something that is far from employment possibilities, someone will be looking for housing and will want to rent your property. If you own property in the greater Puget Sound region or in any of the great parts of our state, your vacancy won’t last long.
There are some perks to vacancy:
- It’s a chance to make improvements and updates
- It’s hard to update a property while the tenants are still living there! A vacancy is a great chance to make updates and changes without having to coordinate around tenants.
- It’s a chance to increase the rent
- Making small increases over time is appropriate to keep your rental within the market rate. However, many landlords are afraid to increase the rent on their current tenants or they don’t increase the rent to retain a good tenant. Once the tenancy has ended, it’s a great chance to bring rents up to market rate. Just make sure your house or unit is ready for the new rate.
Your Tenant Is Moving
For the purposes of this article, we’re supposing your tenancy is ending peacefully. It could be that your month-to-month tenant has notified you that they are leaving at the end of the following month or your lease with a tenant is coming to an end, you sent them an offer of renewal 60 days before the end and they have opted not to renew. This is the time to spring into action.
You need to:
- Send them an acknowledgement letter that they are moving. Ask for a forwarding address and let them know how the return of any keys/garage door openers needs to take place.
- Schedule a pre-move-out walk-through using the Move-Out Reminder form as guide for areas where they need to clean/repair and when the property needs to be vacated.
- Schedule any service people you will need to get the unit ready for the next tenant
- Prepare to market the rental for a new tenant
- Once they have moved out, it’s time to do a throughout walk through of any damages and begin the itemization for your deposit accounting that is due back to the tenant within 21 days (14 if you haven’t updated their lease with the change in the law in 2016). Once work has begun to get your rental clean and move-in ready, you are ready for your next tenant and the cycle begins again.