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Tenant Onboarding Guide

March 22, 2022

Onboarding New Tenants

This year, given the work from home trend, increased migration, and rising rent prices, tenant churn might be on the rise. It’s likely you’ll be welcoming new tenants.

And you may have your own thoughts and impressions about tenant churn, sometimes good (bad tenants leave), sometimes not so good (losing good tenants).

However, if you make your onboarding process intelligent and smooth, it can reduce your work and make tenants feel very comfortable right from the start. It’s the beginning of a wonderful tenant experience, one that makes them feel comfortable, valued, informed and under lease.

Whether you’re a seasoned property manager or a new startup property management entrepreneur, your tenant onboarding process is something to be respected and mastered.  If for the moment, you consider that the onboarding process provides orientation for the tenant and for your business, you’ll see how the word foundation fits into your success. Your Property Management Solution for instance is yet another foundation of successful business.

What is Onboarding of Tenants?

Tenant onboarding describes the process of introducing them to their new home. It’s where you help them feel comfortable in the house or apartment and indicate the need for being responsible for it.

You’ll be informing or educating them on how to operate equipment/appliances and take care of the property, understand and respect lease requirements, and encouraging them to communicate with you freely.

And the onboarding process helps ensure they’re oriented to a successful living experience to supports their worklife and create a successful life. That in turn, keeps them leased and paying their rent.  In the end, a respectful tenant onboarding experience comes back to benefit you.

You’ve spent a lot of money on tenant advertising, tenant screening, preparing the unit to be occupied. Now you need a simple, repeatable process that makes it easy to onboard your new long term leased tenant.  This ends the churn!

Overview of the Tenant Onboarding Process


1. Application Submission

Still using paper rental applications? You can better manage applications via digital documentation using our property management software. Paper applications bring errors, add time delays, require touch contact, and are easy to misplace or lose. Bringing your application process online makes it more reliable, complete, efficient, and immediate. Your tenants will prefer foregoing paper rental applications and going with digital solutions.

2. Rental Application Review

Efficient Application Processing: If you have a huge a large number of applications coming through, you’ll need to be efficient, but careful. As you may, know many renters feel they’re being discriminated against and they’re taking their complaints to the courts. By meeting tenant screening compliance needs, but still seeing every application, you’re ensuring you do get to the best prospective tenants.

Credit check: Look out for previous debt and bad credit, as well as good credit scores. Good scores are in the 700 range.

Income verification: Ask for paycheck stubs and employer information. Look out for tenants who’s paychecks to rent ratio is too high. Typical rent should be 1/3 to 1/2 of a tenant’s income.

ID Check: Use a certified service to do an ID check by asking potential tenants to provide a government-issued ID.

References: Make sure to ask for references. Take the time to call previous landlords or property managers to inquire about the tenant, their payment history and other criteria you are looking at.

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3. Lease Signing

The rental lease should contain all the relevant information, void of any loopholes, or missing details for this specific unit. At the very least, the points addressed in a lease should be:

  • Legal Names
  • Dates of the lease
  • Deposit and rent values
  • Late fees and penalties
  • Noise, parking, and cleaning acceptability levels
  • Pets

Meet with your tenants, go through the lease together and make sure both parties agree on all points. Sign in person OR send the lease to be signed electronically. Either way, have a copy electronically for both parties. It is worth the comfort and ease of using a eSign service (such as the popular DocuSign app), they may be as cheap as $10 a month.

4. Security Deposit & 1st Month’s Rent

Generally, the security deposit and the first month’s rent is collected together. The security deposit should cover for any possibly damages to the property caused by the tenant, and terms of that should be detailed in the lease agreement. The main obstacle managers come across here is actually receiving the payments. Make it easier for the tenants by making the transaction electronic, and send them an electronic receipt.

5. Keys

You can record and manage rental unit key issues via ManageCasa.  Definitely demand a deposit fee for keys to encourage them not to lose them and to return them upon lease termination.  Definitely keep a tab on the number of keys that were given out. Additionally, consider using more expensive keys which are not able to be duplicated. You can consider only giving replacement keys yourself.  Having to change the door lock is a more expensive option later.

6. Moving-In

Before the tenant comes, do a thorough inspection of the property after you have hired a cleaning service for the property. Note the conditions of appliances, windows, doors, floors, and fixtures, take photos and post onto your ManageCasa account in case it is necessary to reference later. Provide a “move-in inspection” form also for the tenants, and have them fill it out. Make sure if there are discrepancies between observations, it is worked out before they actually move in.

(Bonus*: a great practice for many property managers is providing a small, welcoming present to the tenant. This establishes a great relationship from the get-go).

7. In Person or Remote Onboarding

It’s almost certain you’ll be there to hand the keys to them when they arrive to take possession. During this meeting, you can follow up on all issues not resolved, give them keys, and introduce them to the appliance operation and go over their responsibilities for maintenance.  You can cover important issues too, such as discussing pets, guests staying too long, and the protocol regarding late rent.

You want to build a good relationship with right away, but still be professional and make them own their situation as a renter who must take care of the unit.  That’s why you would show them the appliances and walk through slowly.

You can introduce them to your ManageCasa tenant portal as well, so they’re ready to stay in touch with you, and make them feel comfortable about asking questions. The tenant portal is going to be vital in your communications efforts.

8. Following up

The key to successful property management is following up with tenants. This is done quickly through ManageCasa’s online platform. which includes the tenant platform.  Send your tenant a personal message after meeting them through the ManageCasa communications app to ensure they get the message and see how long it takes them to respond.

ManageCasa has features that make managing your rental properties and communicating with tenants effortless!

Good luck with your tenant onboarding process. Hopefully, you’ll create the right greeting and relationship building protocol to generate a great business relationship.


More Blogs: Learn, Review, Rate Trial Software | Landlord App | Property Management Apps | Rental Market Outlook  How to Choose Good TenantsHow to Write Better Rental Ads | Lease Transfer | Credit Report Checks for Tenants | Background Checks | Tenant Onboarding | Rental Listings | What Good Tenants Want | How to Retain Good Tenants |  Screen for Good TenantsHow to be a Good Tenant | Best Landlord Software | Property Management Apps


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