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Move-Ins Done Professionally

Move-in Process is a Relationship Building Starting Point

In a previous article, we talked about the importance of implementing consistent screening policy during the leasing process.

After you secure a qualified tenant, it’s the landlord’s responsibility (or property manager) to schedule an appointment for lease signing, tenant orientation, building tour and unit inspection.

It’s essential to establish the move-in date right after you sign an eligible tenant.  It will help you or your maintenance get the rental unit ready and available for the tenant to take possession. Thus, preparing a comprehensive move-in process is key to eventually developing a mutually respectful and positive landlord-tenant relationship. That’s important to creating a happy tenant.

Plan Your Tenant Move In

Use the move-in process to build trust with your tenant. Thus, it is recommended that you try to spend at least 2 hours with your tenant at move-in date.

The most time consuming and challenging part of the move-in process is to explain the provisions of the lease agreement, house rules, and addenda. Although only household members who are 18 years old or above will sign documents, it’s important that all household members attend the tenant orientation so that you get an opportunity to know and identify them. 

A complete move-in packet should include the following documents:

  • Lease Agreement
  • House Rules
  • Addenda e.g. Notice of Pest Control, Lead and Asbestos Disclosures, Pet Policy and Agreement

*** if you own and/or manage subsidized housing or in rent control areas, your property may be subject to additional rules and regulations.

  • Move-in/Move-out Inspection Form
  • Resident Handbook

A resident handbook is a great tool to provide customer service, which should include the property management office’s address, phone number and after hour number, emergency and non-emergency phone number for police department, community information, business hours service request, emergency service request, how to use appliances, maintenance tips, safety tips, earthquake preparedness, use of community facilities, paring information, etc. 

The tenant handbook can be stored online in the tenants account for their easy access.

Once documents are signed, you should collect first month’s rent and the security deposit which should be paid with two separate checks. An acknowledgement should be signed by tenant to confirm the number of keys received.

Rental Unit Inspections

Perform a thorough unit inspection and check all the items listed on the inspection form. Use the opportunity to educate and show your tenant how to use appliances, how to shut off water valve, where the electric sub-panel is located, etc.

Any deficiencies found during the inspection should be noted on the inspection form. It is also recommended that photos are taken as record and proof in case security deposit amounts need to be deducted at move-out in the future.

Both tenant and landlord must sign and date the move-in inspection form to confirm all information is accurate.

Remember, both parties have rights and responsibilities towards each other. As a result, an honest and clear communication between the landlord and tenant is inevitable. Resident privacy is equally important. For instance, it’s inappropriate for landlord to discuss resident’s issues in front of the other residents.

As always, treat your residents fairly and consistently to build a sustainable landlord-tenant relationship and you’ll enjoy a high re-lease rate.

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