Robert R. Rowley PS

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Rent-Ready Checklist for Landlords

Rent-Ready Checklist for Landlords

Rental properties should rent-ready condition. Showing a rental property that is not rent-ready leaves a lot of room for expectations and interpretations by the tenant. The landlord’s idea of a repair or cleanup is not the same thing the prospective tenant hears or expects. To attract good qualified tenants a property should be clean and attractive on the inside and have good curb appeal. The “walk-up” impression needs to positive and immediate. You greatly improve your chances of leasing a vacant rental unit in a competitive market by taking care of any items that need attention prior to scheduling any showings. Here are some guidelines for doing just that: 

1. Landscaping, Driveways and Walkways Check the rental unit’s appearance from the street. This includes the landscaping, driveways and walkways. Keep them as neat and tidy as possible. Remove all trash, property and debris left by previous the tenant. Shrubs and bushes or trees should be trimmed if necessary. 

2. Examine Exterior Paint, Chimney, and Roof Check for exterior paint peeling, blistering and discoloration. Is the chimney and cap in good condition? Make sure the roof and siding are in good shape. Check for leaks in the roof by looking at the ceiling on the interior of the home.

3. Garage + Patios, Balconies & Entryways The garage should be clean and have adequate shelving. Patios and Balconies need to be clean with secure and safe railings. Check for a clean and attractive Entryway (remember the walk-up impression).

4. Windows and Screens Windows should be unbroken, clean and secure – and operating properly. Window locks should work as well. Check the screens for holes and make sure they fit securely. Windows should not be “fogged” or dirty.  

5. Walls, Ceilings & Baseboards A new paint job or wall covering, if needed, will brighten up the unit dramatically and be easier to lease. Check for, holes, nails and bad seams. All holes need to be patched and painted. This establishes a base line for the new tenant.

6. Floor Coverings Check for cleanliness and the condition of carpet and floor coverings. Have carpets cleaned professionally with a truck mounted steam cleaning system. Replace carpet or linoleum if it is to severely worn, badly stained, damaged or outdated. Carpet or linoleum with turned up edges are hazardous and need to be repaired before showings or tenant move-ins.

7. Plumbing – Toilets, Faucets and Pipes Look for leaky faucets, clogged aerators or toilets that run constantly. Make sure the plumbing has proper pressure and there is adequate drainage. Check the shut off valves under each sink and look for signs of leaks. Locate the main shut-off valve for the property. Let new tenants know where shut off valves are located.

8. Bathrooms All sinks, tubs, showers, toilets, cabinets and mirrors should be clean. No one wants a dirty toilet of bath tub. Countertops should be free of dirt, dust and grease. Tile grout should look fresh and clean. Caulk around countertops and bathroom fixtures should be clean or new. Mold and mildew is not acceptable. Do it before the tenant moves in. Set your expectations.

9. Hardware and Locks Locks should be re-keyed. Pay attention to all latches, doorknobs and doorstops. Are the sliding doors sliding smoothly and are the locks working? 

10. Closets and Storage Areas Are the doors and closets in good shape? Check rods, hooks, shelves and lights. The walls and floors should be clean.

11. Kitchen Counters & Cabinets They should be clean, updated, and in good shape. Check drawer and cabinet knobs and other hardware. All cabinet doors should close and stay closed.

12. Smoke Detectors & Carbon Monoxide Detectors Are the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in working order? Test them. Check them during the rental term.
13. Lighting & Electrical Outlets Check GFIs and circuit breakers. Make sure they are in good working condition. Replace burned out light bulbs and check light switches & outlets. 


14. Heating & Air Conditioner  Verify all vents, registers, and filters are in working order. Ceiling area around vents should be clean. Install a new filter. Test the system.

15. Safe & Secure The property should be safe and secure and should have no hazardous conditions.

16. Smell & Odors The property should smell clean and pleasant. It should not smell of mold or mildew. Smell or odors are the first thing a rental home shopper will notice when entering a property after the walk-up impression. A poor visual and a stinking impression will not rent properties.

Keep in mind: The condition of the property at the time it’s shown lets the prospective tenant know the expectations of the landlord.

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