What happens when a tenant vacates one of our properties?
Kevin Davidson, Marketing Director, and Margo Broughton, Director of Operations, discuss the process that takes place once a tenant is no longer in the property.
30 Day Notice and Turnover Process
Initially the tenants give a 30 day notice to vacate which notifies Empire as well as the owner. As soon as our office gets the notification, our staff immediately goes to work on the turnover process because we want to get that property rented as soon as possible.
The tenant receives information from us on what they need to do. This includes things like:
- What do they do with the keys?
- What should they do with the garage remotes and similar items?
- What do they need to do to the property (cleaning standards)?
- We expect them to have the carpets professionally cleaned.
- They need to keep receipts for things like the carpet cleaning so they aren’t charged.
During the turnover process, the tenant receives 3 emails reminding them of their responsibilities at move out.
What happens if the tenant doesn’t give a 30-day notice?
Do they have a deadline? There is something called a skip out, and this prevents us from do all of the preparation process ahead of time. Obviously no one likes this to happen. If they don’t give 30 days notice, we contact them and let them know they didn’t fulfill that obligation, but we immediately start the process as soon as we know.
Analyzing the security deposit
After the tenant actually leaves the property, our team takes care of the security deposit. Texas law gives us, the property managers, 30 days to get that security deposit back to the tenant or the security deposit disposition if they are not eligible to get it back because they didn’t fulfill their obligations. Our expectations are clearly stated in the lease they sign, and it is our job to make sure all obligations were met.
Locks are changed and inspection is completed
The locks are changed between all tenants, and we conduct an inspection. Because we document the property before the tenant moves in, we have a before and after to compare and determine if any differences are just normal wear and tear or if it is neglect (like scratches on a wall or holes in the wall).
Pet Damage and Screening
If you rent with with Empire and there was a pet in the home, we have special programs in place for vetting all pets we place in the home. They are graded on a scale of one paw (not good) to five paws (great) based on information such as:
- Are they up to date on shots and vaccinations
- Size and the breed
- Behavioral on the background (being aggressive towards other people or other animals effects their paws score)
Fortunately we have a pet promise at Empire. If we have vetted a pet and feel confident that that pet is not going to mess up the house, we will allow it. However, let’s say the pet did cause damage and it was about $2000 and the security deposit was only $1000. If Empire is managing your property, we will pay the difference if Empire vetted the pet. It is like an additional insurance policy for the owner – free of charge.
As an owner, you might not want to allow pets in your house because you are afraid they’re going to cause damage and leave you holding the bag. By offering our owners the pet promise, we hope they are more apt to accept pets because a majority of people out there
have pets. If you don’t allow pets, it can take a lot longer to get your property leased because it removes out about thirty to forty percent of the possible applicant market.
Empire has several teams working simultaneously to make this a quick, smooth process
The next step is preparation of a make ready bid. We’re taking into consideration what needs to be done to get it rented and notifying the owners with a list of things that we think need to be bid. After you let us know which ones do you want us to bid and the process is complete, we send out the contractor. They usually knock it out within a couple of days and the property is back on the market. We’re currently at fourteen days on market for our properties. They’re just flying off the shelves right now, so basically what you’re saying is from the time that you get the 30-day notice from the tenant or you realize that they skipped out of the move without giving you 30 notice, it only takes about two weeks to get to turnaround of that property back on the market and rent it – if everything goes as planned.
We do have owners that live all over the world, so sometimes it takes a little while to get in touch with them. That might slow us down a little bit, but typically it is about 2 weeks.
Obviously we want to cut down days off market (or where we’re not getting any income) which is in everybody’s best interest. We’re actually marketing the property during the make ready period, which means we could already have four approved applications before it is even on the market. 14 days is quicker turnaround than you will typically see in this industry.
If you’re self managing, you want to be sure that you get that security deposit back within 30 days and make sure to change the locks in-between tenants. If you’re with a property management company they should do that automatically, but you may want to check with them to make sure. That’s an automatic process here at Empire.
We also offer a Twelve-Month Tenant Placement and love us or leave us promise in our 3 point Promise. There many reasons why Empire is the property management company of choice for investors out there.