What should a landlord do before a tenant moves in

You’ve promoted your rental property, received a lot of interest, screened a few applicants, and you’ve finally got a tenant.  Lease is signed, deposit is paid, and the move in date is approaching.

So, what should a landlord do before a tenant moves in?  

I’ve found, over the years, that doing a meticulous walk-through of my rental properties before tenants move in is a wise thing to do.  

Dealing with frustrated tenants who come up with a punch list of items, that they feel should have been addressed pre-move in, quickly turns an amicable landlord-tenant relationship into a tense one.  Don’t start off on the wrong foot with your tenants.

Take your time, and do a walk-through with your maintenance person about a week prior to your tenant moving in.  Here are some items to consider:

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  • Clean property as needed
  • Change locks
  • Replace missing light bulbs/fixtures
  • Mow/weed eat
  • Check water meter for possible water leaks
  • Ensure HVAC, electric & plumbing are all working
  • Replace furnace filter
  • Check that all fan blades have been wiped down (often missed by cleaners)
  • Make sure all kitchen appliances are in working order
  • Paint touch-ups
  • Fix cracked/broken windows & screens
  • Ensure all windows are operational (can open & shut)
  • Make sure all doors property latch/lock shut
  • Clean out gutters
  • Remove prior tenant’s mail from mailbox
  • Inspect yard for animal waste & clean up if needed

This list is by no means exhaustive.  Obviously, add to it as you see fit, but the point is, it’s much better to handle these items beforehand, so you stay on good terms with your tenants and aren’t bombarded with complaints.

What should a landlord do before a tenant moves in: Final thoughts

As a landlord, a huge concern for you should be finding and keeping good, quality tenants. Start off by doing a thorough walk-through of the property beforehand to make sure everything is clean and in good working order.

Some landlords also opt to do a walk-through with their tenants with both parties signing a move-in checklist.

About the author

Brandon Jones

Desiring to escape the clutches of corporate America, I started investing in real estate in 2015 and left my job in 2020 to become a full-time real estate investor. I now teach other how they can experience freedom through real estate investing.

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