Everything You Need to Keep in Mind to Prepare an Apartment for the Next Tenant

Everything You Need to Keep in Mind to Prepare an Apartment for the Next Tenant
Everything You Need to Keep in Mind to Prepare an Apartment for the Next Tenant. Image source: Pixabay

As a property manager, you know that one of the biggest lags in productivity is between one tenant and the next.

The time a rental is vacant means no income is coming in for that property. And the work that has to be done to ready a unit for the next tenant is time you could be spending on other important tasks.

But everything that has to get done to prepare an apartment for the next tenant is essential. The key is to do these tasks efficiently to increase productivity as much as possible.

To do this, you have to streamline the process. When you’re ready to decrease the time you spend getting a unit ready for the next tenant, try these expert tips.

1. Design a Per-Person Checklist

Out of the dozens of things that must be accomplished between tenants, a lot of them can be delegated. But when you think about the time it takes to repeat instructions over and over to new staff, you probably think it’s easier to do the job yourself.

Your time is valuable, though. Instead of doing the work, take some time off to make a few checklists. These could include lists for people like:

  • The maintenance workers
  • Housecleaners
  • The vacating tenants
  • The tenants moving in

These are all people who have repetitive parts in the moving in and out process. Why not make the tasks easier so that anyone doing the job doesn’t need to ask you questions for every step?

Don’t forget a checklist for yourself! Check out this detailed already-made version by LeaseLeads to help you design your own or use it as it is.

2. Health and Safety First

If you have people helping you with the in-between transition, like maintenance and housekeepers, that’s perfect. But there are some jobs that you need to oversee yourself.

When it comes to health and safety, you have to be a hands-on element. It’s your obligation as the manager to make sure the property is maintained safely. If anything goes wrong, you’re the ultimate person responsible.

Inspect the Unit Carefully

You can have other people with you as you examine the property between tenants. During the walk-through, watch for signs of damage or potential safety issues. Make a list of anything that needs to be repaired.

Always do this before you return a tenant’s deposit, of course! If the damages are due to their negligence, you may be able to take the repair costs out of this pool of money.

Safety issues need to be addressed by you as soon as possible. These could be things like a faulty smoke detector, a blocked exit, or a sticky window.

Check for health hazards, too. Mold in the AC duct or condensation buildup along the windows and doors are problems that you’re responsible for fixing. If a tenant lives in a unit with mold or mildew issues, they could become sick.

3. Cover Your Steps

Just because you delegate a maintenance or repair person to do a job doesn’t mean it will get done right. Keep a written log of any problems that need to be fixed and how you handled them. Then, before the new tenant moves in, double-check that the issues were corrected.

Make sure you have a Certificate of Occupancy inspection performed according to the laws of your town or city. Most areas only require this either for the first rental or after a period of years. However, some areas have a rule that the inspection is performed between every tenant.

Section 8 inspections are also mandatory if the tenant is a Section 8 individual. The inspector will verify that the apartment meets the health and safety standards required for the tenant. This is an annual inspection while the tenant is in occupancy of the unit.

To be on the safe side, it’s a smart idea to change the unit’s door locks between each tenant. It’s an expense that adds up if you have a lot of tenants moving in and out. But knowing a previous renter can’t get in the new tenant’s home gives you peace of mind.

It’s a security measure for them and a way to cover yourself in the event of a break-in, making a lock change a priceless step you can’t skip.


Your job as an apartment manager is complex and full of responsibilities. When a tenant is satisfied, they don’t need to come to you much, and they’ll want to stay in their lease longer.

But when you’re in-between tenants, there’s the potential for a lot of wasted time and efficiency. You can streamline this process by following these simple tips.