Plan ahead for a smoother PCS season this year.
Of the many challenges in managing a rental property, the turnover process between tenants is one of the most arduous. It requires balancing the needs of your current tenant, the preparation of the property for the next tenant, marketing the listing, and getting the new tenant moved in. So maybe “juggling” is a more apt verb to describe it. Managing all this effectively while trying to reduce the time and expense of turnover and maintain a positive relationship with your tenants is no easy feat. Starting now, months before the heavy PCS season, gives you breathing room to make sure you get things done the right way with plenty of time to deal with any issues that come up.
Where do I start?
Typically speaking, there are three key steps you should take first to get the tenant turnover ball rolling in the right direction:
- Establish your current tenant’s timeline. Know when they’ll be doing/needing what so you can can plan what you need to do around them. Plus, the earlier you know when the property will be available, the earlier you can post a listing for in on AHRN.com. The longer it’s posted, the more people will see it and potentially rent it.
- Share vital information and resources, like the PCS Toolkit, with your current tenant to help their smooth transition out of your property. An organized tenant always makes your life easier.
- Offer a property clearing checklist and gently remind your tenant of lease terms for moving out (cleaning the house, the handling of the deposit, etc). The more specific your checklist, the better prepared an outgoing tenant will be for your walk through.
What’s the deal with orders?
In communities around bases and other installations, most landlords include a “military clause” of some kind in their leases to address most of the common situations that can arise with tenants in the armed forces. Stipulations addressing changes in on-base housing availability, procedures for submitting notice in the case of orders/deployment, all other potential hiccups specific to service members should be included. And remember: whether or not their lease includes a military clause, your military tenants are automatically entitled to the protections of the SCRA (Servicemembers Civil Relief Act).
The SCRA also include a provision that covers a service member’s obligation to provide a copy of their orders in order to be released from a lease without penalty. A service member may give you more than the minimum required notice if possible. But, on the other hand, orders can be cut late, amended, or canceled. So you may have to be flexible on the matter.
Plan for the unseen
When calculating your turnover calendar, always add a little extra cushion to however long you expect it to take. No matter how wonderful your tenant has been or regular their communication with you, you can never fully account for the unexpected. Unforeseen repairs may be necessary or unexpected delays may pop up. Planning for extra time from the start prevents such instances from being major issues.
One of the most effective step you can take in making the turnover as smooth as possible is to establish a good working relationship with the current tenant. That way you can address any significant repairs well before the home is vacant. Small but important things like lawn work, sprinkler system checks, and appliance issues can be addressed during the winter and early spring so the home is ready for listing well ahead of its vacancy. Such an open line of communication will also facilitate showing the home before it is vacant and a smoother move out process.
With a well-planned timeline and a proactive approach to making/keeping a house ready for the next tenant, you can keep the transmission between occupants simple, fast, and hassle free.