When Dallas-Forth Worth tenants are preparing to move out of your rental home, you want them to leave with a sense that they’ve had a good rental experience with you. It’s also important to make sure that you’ll easily turn over the property and quickly get it ready for your next tenants. Organization is important. So is documentation.

You don’t want to rush through the move out process, and you don’t want to leave it for tenants to figure out on their own. Your residents may be leaving for any number of reasons. Perhaps they’re moving to a new state or buying their own home. Maybe they need to downsize or expand. 

Whatever their reasons for not renewing the lease agreement, don’t take it personally and don’t make things more difficult than they need to be. Provide an efficient, stress-free move out process that leaves everyone feeling positive. 

We recommend that you put together a checklist for when tenants are moving out. This will help you stay organized and it will give them a documented set of expectations that you have for how they’ll leave the property. 

Once they’re out, you can use your checklist to inspect the property and make a note of any repairs that need to be made. 

Here are some of the things that need to be reflected on your move out checklist.  

Accept Notice to Vacate and Establish Move Out Date

Your checklist should begin with your tenant’s date of departure. You’ll need to know when they’re moving out so you can begin preparing the turnover timeline. 

The lease agreement will establish how much notice your tenant is required to provide before ending the tenancy and leaving the property. When they send you the notice that they won’t be renewing the lease, make sure the paperwork has that move out date on it. If it’s missing, get in touch with the tenants to inquire about what their last day in the home will be. 

Some property owners will set a specific time in the lease agreement that tenants need to depart by on their move out day. Maybe it’s 5:00 p.m. or maybe it’s noon. You don’t have to do this; but if your lease does have a time-sensitive deadline, remind your tenants that they need to be out by that time on their move out day. 

Dallas-Fort Worth Tenant Cleaning Requirements

After you’ve accepted the notice to vacate, you need to begin preparing the tenants for their move out responsibilities. 

When they moved in, they moved into a clean home. Send them a cleaning checklist that will help them get their full security deposit back. Your expectation is that they will return the property in a condition similar to what the home looked like when they took possession. 

Checklist items might include:  

  • Moving everything out of the property. You don’t want to walk into the home after they’ve left and find a lot of trash left behind, or a piece of furniture that’s still in the living room. Be specific. Tell your tenants, in their move-out checklist, to check all closets, cupboards, cabinets, drawers, and outdoor spaces. Let them know that anything left behind will be removed and the removal fee will be charged to their security deposit.
  • Cleaning out appliances. You don’t want to inspect the property after the tenant has moved to find a refrigerator full of condiments. There shouldn’t be random dishes in the dishwasher or leftovers in the freezer
  • Wiping down surfaces including sinks, cabinets, and drawers. 
  • Sweeping and mopping hard surface floors.
  • Steam cleaning the carpet. If you have carpets in the home, your lease agreement may require tenants to have them professionally steam-cleaned before the end of the lease term. You can ask for a receipt to provide so their deposit doesn’t get charged for this service. 

Address potential pet damage if your tenants have dogs and cats. 

Your move out instructions should include pet-specific requirements. For example, messes should be cleaned up. 

Keys and Forwarding Addresses

The next checklist item is having your tenants return their keys and provide a forwarding address. 

You might want to check your tenants out in person, or you can ask them to leave the keys in the property.  Be specific so tenants aren’t left wondering what to do. Tenants can often hesitate before leaving a forwarding address, so you should explain that you’ll be mailing back the security deposit. 

Don’t forget that the Texas Property Code requires you to rekey the property before new tenants move in. You can install new locks after your existing tenants leave or once the turnover process is complete and you’re preparing to move new tenants in. 

Convert Utility Accounts to Your Name

It’s easy to forget the utilities, so put this item on your checklist to avoid any gaps in electricity and water services. 

Your tenants will likely turn the utilities off when accounts are in their name. You’ll want to make sure that you get them turned back on or that the account is transferred to yourself. 

You’ll need lights and water when you’re making repairs during the turnover period. You’ll also want a bright and functioning house when you begin to show it to new tenants. 

Move Out Inspection for Dallas-Fort Worth Rental Properties

The inspection actually requires its own checklist. 

Once the tenants have moved out completely, it’s time to enter the property and conduct an inspection so you can see if any damage has been done. You’ll get an idea of how much work is required before new tenants can move in. 

The most important part of this inspection is differentiating between tenant damage and normal wear and tear. 

The wear and tear that’s left behind is your responsibility. You cannot hold the tenant responsible for the natural and gradual deterioration of a property over time. It’s a result of any tenant’s normal use of the home, and it would happen no matter who was living there. Every home is prone to wear and tear, so tenants are not charged to make those repairs.  

A good example of wear and tear is what furniture leaves behind on walls and carpets. If a sofa sits in the same place in the living room for a year or more, there will be indentations in the carpet. There may be scuff marks on the wall. That’s not damage. It’s just what happens.

Tenants can have their security deposit charged for any damage beyond normal wear and tear. Anything that results from a tenant’s abuse, misuse, or neglect will result in a charge against the security deposit. If there’s something a tenant should have done to prevent the home from getting damaged, you can charge the deposit.   

Sometimes it’s hard to judge the difference between wear and tear and damage. If you did a thorough move-in inspection, you should get some help determining what you’re looking at. The move-in report documented the condition of your home before the tenants took possession. So, compare the condition then to the condition now. Inspect the photos and take new photos. What do they show?

Make All Turnover Repairs and Upgrades

After the property has been inspected, you can schedule the work that needs to be done. Bring your vendors into the property to make repairs as quickly as possible. You’re moving fast because you want to re-rent the home as quickly as possible. You also want to have an accurate record of costs, so that if you’re charging the security deposit, you can establish what exactly your costs were. 

Have all maintenance taken care of, and consider whether you want to take this opportunity to make some improvements and upgrades. Fast, cost-effective renovations like new floors, fresh paint, and better landscaping can help you improve your rental value and attract better tenants

Once all the work is done, have the property professionally cleaned. Then, you’re ready to begin marketing the home to new potential tenants.

Dallas-Fort Worth Security Deposit Returns 

Security DepositIn Texas, you have 30 days from the time the tenant moved out to return the security deposit. 

If you end up keeping your tenant’s deposit or any portion of it, you’ll have to provide an itemized list of what was deducted and why it was necessary. 

Send the deposit as well as the itemized list and copies of invoices to the forwarding address your tenant provided. Sometimes tenants neglect to leave this information. If that happens, you’ll have to send the deposit to the last known address, which is likely your rental property. Hopefully, the tenant is having their mail forwarded and the deposit will reach them. 

These checklist items can help you have a successful move out experience with your Dallas-Fort Worth tenants. As you begin to make your repairs and improvements during the turnover, make sure you’re following all the requirements of the Texas Property Code. If you need help with that, please contact us at Assign Property Management. We’d be happy to help you with your move-out checklist.

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