Steps to take when your tenant gives notice to vacate

Time is always of the essence when it comes to a notice to vacate. As a self-managing landlord, it’s important for you to be proactive to reduce confrontation and headaches, but also move new tenants into your house without losing weeks of rent.

RealRenta has prepared a step-by-step guide to get the best out of your next tenant vacate.

Receive the tenant’s notice to vacate

The notice to vacate should have been sent to you via post, or hand-delivered. But if you have instructed your tenant to send all communication via email, an email will be sufficient. Note that if you are giving them notice to vacate, make sure you’re across the relevant laws that pertain to your state or territory as to the form you need to use, how it must be delivered, and the number of days notice required. Most tenancies, however, will end because the tenant gives notice.

Confirm the tenant’s notice to vacate

Best practice in this instance is to call the tenant immediately and thank them for taking care of the property (if that has been the case). You should then consider telling your tenant that you’ll email them to confirm the balance of rent owed up to their vacate date. Why not offer a few tips to help them get their full bond back? You can keep this conversation informal, but remember that it’s very important. You will make your tenant feel valued by thanking them for keeping the property in good condition and appreciated by giving them a hand with bond return support.
Note: If you give them the notice, it’s important to give the tenant a follow-up call to confirm they received the notice. If you hand-deliver the notice, get the tenant to sign a duplicate copy of the notice saying they have received the termination notice. Sometimes hand-delivered notices are the best option – you can be sure they received it, and won’t have to wait the extra days for postage.

Communicate with your tenant (via email or letter)

The email mentioned in the last point is important – it’s going to give your tenant a clear guide on what they need to do now they’ve requested to vacate the property. Don’t wait several days after this call to send the email – it will lose its effectiveness as soon as you delay. Sending an email to the tenant to explain what happens next is going to save you a lot of headaches in the coming weeks. You should include:

· Confirmation of the tenant’s move out date

· Balance of rent owing until their move out date

· How (and when) the final outgoing inspection will take place

Consider attaching the following items to your email:

· A repairs and maintenance request form

· A moving out checklist

· A copy of the original property condition report

Being proactive at this stage in the process will show your tenant how important it is to follow the moving-out checklist to get their bond back. When you design your moving-out checklist, include a list of things to clean before they hand back the keys. When it comes to damages, ask your tenant to walk around the rental property and note any damages.

Advertise your property on RealRenta.com.au

You may or may not need to advertise again, but most private landlords will find that they need new tenants. It’s ideal to start advertising anywhere between 4-6 weeks before your property is available for new tenants to move in. Before you begin advertising, it’s advisable to speak to your tenant about getting access to the property to show through prospective tenants. This is a difficult time for your tenant, they’re busy moving and probably won’t want the intrusion of people coming through their house. But it’s important to try and get them to agree to several short open house times, spread out over a period of time.

Now it’s time to list your property. RealRenta has everything you need to get a tenant, fast.

Upload your photos and write a good description on your listing to get you the best tenant. Add in your inspection times, so you don’t need to waste time telling tenants when they can inspect. You should start receiving calls and emails shortly.

Consider conducting a pre-vacate inspection

This is optional, but also a good idea. About a week before your tenant is due to hand back the keys to your investment property, visit the house and talk to your tenant about anything that particularly needs to be cleaned or fixed. Sometimes the face-to-face walk-through can make a lot of difference.

Note: The legislation is different in each state and territory, so make sure you check whether you’re allowed to conduct a pre-vacate inspection.

Your tenant hands back the keys

When your tenant hands you the keys, the first thing you should do is double-check that the exact keys have been returned. How do you do this? Compare the keys you are given with the photo of the keys attached to their original property condition report. You should also ask for a copy of their carpet cleaning receipt before you think about refunding the bond.

If your tenant has had pets (i.e. cats or dogs) in the house, which should have been noted in the special conditions of their tenancy agreement, the property must be professionally sprayed for fleas at the end of their tenancy. If they have run out of time to get this done, they may allow you to organise the spray yourself and take the cost out of their bond.

This is your last chance to get a forwarding address for your tenant. You will only need this if things go pear-shaped, or you need to forward on mail after their final inspection.

Outgoing inspection and report creation

Now you’ve received the keys back from your tenant, print off the ingoing property condition report. This will have been completed on the day your tenant moved in.

See if your tenant is able/willing to attend the final inspection with you. Face-to-face inspections can eliminate disagreements and miscommunication over items that need to be cleaned or fixed.

When you do your final inspection, look at the following:

Are the walls in the same condition (plus fair wear and tear) as they were in the original property condition report?

· What condition is the carpet (if any) in?

· Check light fixtures and exhaust fans

· What condition is the garden bed in?

Agree on what is being taken from the bond

Sometimes at the end of a tenancy, a few things will still need doing. Keep in mind that your goal is for the tenant to get their full bond refunded, so explain exactly what they need to do. Your tenant should complete everything to your standard of clean, ready for you to complete an ingoing property condition report for your new tenants.

Fill out the bond claim form online and print it for you and your tenant to sign. Once this is done, you will need to send this to your bond board. The key here is to be proactive and work quickly once you receive the keys back from your tenant. It’s important to remember that as soon as your tenant has returned their keys, they’ll be thinking about their bond.

RealRenta has all the tools that a property manager has, but at over ¼ the cost of a property manager.

Join now and the cost is less than a cup of coffee a week to manage your rental property

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Jason Gwerder
Friday, 22 October 2021

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