Tenants will often dream of transferring to a better apartment unit. That thought could move them to begin searching online for an apartment to rent because they feel an emotional need for change.
Should tenants have a process to be in line for a better unit? If they don’t like their apartment, it stands to reason they are c0nsidering breaking their lease. If they have hope another more likeable unit might come available, they may decide to wait.
The Apartment Transfer Waiting List
Nowadays, there is a waiting list for everything including apartment transfers. Your tenants will appreciate knowing more about the transfer process. And you need a professionally managed waiting list, to avoid conflicts, bias charges, and resentment.
It may be best to facilitate apartment transfer requests even you’d prefer to save units for new renters. And here’s an idea: keeping a loyal tenant, charging transfer fees, and reserving transfers for tenants who rank best in behavior, could help you leverage the full value of tenant’s desire to transfer.
Why do They Ask for a Transfer?
Tenants ask about apartment transfers for a lot of reasons including more comfort, better quality and design, one that’s been recently renovated, higher floor, specific amenities, noisy neighbors, nearness to garbage disposal or elevator, other residents are unfriendly on their floor, they feel fearful where they are, they don’t like the view, too many stairs to walk up, or their rental unit has recurring mechanical issues.
Whether you should discourage intra-building moves is your decision of course, but here’s a process and policy you could use to manage tenant move requests professionally.
Apartment Transfer Requests
Residents may request to transfer from one apartment unit to another. It’s critical for management to establish a policy with respect to eligibility criteria, to prevent potential claim of discrimination or preferential treatment.
As a good practice, we recommend management work on the following steps:
- Either residents or management can initiate unit transfer request for a variety of reasons:
- Health & Safety: for example, residents are the victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
- Medical Condition: for example, residents who have physical or mental disabilities which may require a unit with special design features as a reasonable accommodation;
- Change in Household Size;
- Units are uninhabitable due to fire or water damage;
- Change in Financial Status: for example, the household is unable to pay rent due to a loss of a job and income.
- Residents who would like to transfer must make their request in writing by using the Unit Transfer Request form.
- Residents may only request transfer after living in their current unit for at least 12 months, except when the transfer request is safety, medical, or health related.
- Residents must be in good standing in order for management to consider their request.
- Except in certain circumstances involving emergency transfer such as unit is in an uninhabitable condition, members of one household should not be separated into two or more separate households.
- If the appropriate size of the unit is unavailable, household will be placed on the Transfer Waiting List. The household will be notified in writing when the next unit is available.
- Residents on the Transfer Waiting list may decline a unit offer and remain at the top of the List. If the resident denies the offer a second time, his or her name will be moved to the bottom of the List.
- Once the unit transfer request is approved and the household accepts the new unit, the resident is required to pay a new security deposit for the new unit. In other words, no security deposit should be transferred from one unit to another.
- If parking spaces are assigned to specific units, residents will be required to move to the parking space associated with the new unit.
Unit transfer request should not be granted for the following reasons:
- There is damage in the tenant’s current unit;
- The resident has committed a material breach of the lease and house rules;
- The resident owes fees, charges, or past due rent;
- Management has instituted legal proceedings against the household;
- The household does not meet the resident selection criteria for the transfer unit such as income eligibility and occupancy standard.
Your tenants are your most valuable asset. A professional tenant management process helps you ensure fairness in all dealings. Check out ManageCasa’s tenant portal and see how much your tenant communications can be improved.
Please see Gordon’s Leung’s other posts on Tenant Management: Apartment Abandonment | Landlord Building Rules | Filing to Evict Tenant | Landlord Risk Management | Lease Management | More Lease Provisions | Building Ops | Landlord Tenant Law | Tenant Alterations to Rental Unit | How to Manage Property Management Staff
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