Jan 13 2017

Prepare Your Property for Rent

Your first step when renting any property is to prepare it for the tenant. This means restoring it to a suitable condition, much like if you were going to sell it.

If it’s a newly acquired rental, this is your first step. If you’re re-renting a property, this is still your first step.

Both professional property managers and accidental landlords too often skip this step because “it’s just a rental.” That is a huge mistake! Your property’s condition directly affects the type of tenant you attract and how a tenant will treat your property. A poorly maintained property sends a dangerous message to the tenant.

If I don’t care about my property, why should you?!

Like attracts like. Crappy rentals attract crappy tenants. High-quality rentals attract high-quality tenants.

Clean well, make repairs, replace or upgrade necessary fixtures and appliances, landscape, and prioritize safety. (Reference the detailed checklist at the end of this section to make sure you cover all the bases.)

We hire professional cleaners, and it doesn’t cost us a dime.

Tip: Charge a nonrefundable cleaning fee at the beginning of each tenancy to lower your preparing costs.

Cleaning the property thoroughly doesn’t have to cost extra money. We hire professional cleaners, and it doesn’t cost us a dime. This is how we cover the cleaning cost when a new tenant moves in:

Instead of charging a security deposit equal to 1-month’s rent, we reduce the deposit amount 70 percent of the monthly rent and charge a 30 percent nonrefundable cleaning fee. If the monthly rent is $1000, the tenant pays a $700 security deposit and a $300 nonrefundable cleaning fee. We then use that fee to hire a professional cleaner to do a really thorough job. When it’s time to move out, they can leave the property in a “broom clean” condition. We’ll hire a professional cleaning service to prepare for the next tenant.

This way, the tenant pays for the cleaning, not you.

Before you ask, yes, it’s completely legal to do it this way. You can’t, however, deduct the cleaning free from the security deposit under Florida law. (The tenant would have to leave the property in an extraordinary mess.) The two fees have to be separate items and written as such in the leasing agreement: one security deposit and one nonrefundable cleaning fee.

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