Evictions aren’t pleasant—for landlords or tenants. However, knowing what to do after you evict a tenant can make the entire process easier and less stressful. Once you’ve regained possession of your property, it’s invaluable to have a defined course of action. Here are some steps to take to get your rental ready for the next tenant.
Please note this is not intended as legal advice, but for information only. Laws may vary depending on your location.
5 Steps to Get Your Rental Property Ready for the Next Tenant
- Change the locks
As soon as you have possession of your property, change the locks. Even if the tenant handed over the keys, there’s really no way to know whether they’ve made copies—or given a set of keys to someone else. It’s not worth risking squatting or property damage, so this should be your first step.
- Conduct a walkthrough inspection
Once you’ve secured your rental, it’s time to conduct an inspection. Bring a copy of your walkthrough list and move-in inspection so you can easily repair the condition of the property before the tenant moved in and after the eviction. If there’s any damage, make sure to document it with photos.
It’s not uncommon for tenants to cause property damage after they’ve lost the eviction case. However, there are ways you can recover the costs of the damages. Some areas you may want to pay particularly close attention to include:
- Checking for mold, especially in the kitchen and bathroom(s)
- Holes in the walls
- The water heater and other appliances
- Wear and tear on the carpet or flooring
- Leaks in the kitchen and bathroom
- Areas that need to be repainted
- File a small claims case
If the tenant caused a significant amount of damage to the property, you have the option of filing a small claims case to collect the damages.
- Start preparing the rental
Once you’ve assessed the damages, it’s time to get your rental ready for the next tenant. If you only have to worry about normal wear and tear, this shouldn’t be any different from when a typical tenant moves out—and you should already have a system in place. If the property was severely damaged or vandalized by the evicted tenant, you’ll have to work with a contractor to perform the necessary repairs. In some cases, you may want to consider remodeling.
- Reassess your rental process and make any necessary changes
After you’ve put your rental back on the market, take some time to think about the evicted tenant. Can you pinpoint anything you overlooked during the application or screening process? Is there anything you could do differently? Take a look at your lease, too. Are there any unclear clauses or different policies you’d like to implement? Are there any loopholes for tenants to take advantage of? Make sure to address any weak areas in your rental process before selecting a new tenant.
How to Prevent Evictions
Evictions can be expensive, time-consuming, and stressful. Although there are times when evicting a tenant is necessary, it’s best to try to avoid it altogether. It’s easier to reject a potential tenant during the application process than it is to remove an established tenant.
Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself and your property:
- Prioritize tenant screening. Interview tenants during the application process and be sure to run a credit and eviction check, as well as tenant verification. If the applicant doesn’t fill out the application all the way or balks at the idea of tenant screening reports, it’s a red flag.
- Develop good relationships with your tenants. Think of your tenants like customers—because they essentially are. Having a good relationship with them will increase the chances that they’ll treat your property with respect. Make sure it’s easy for them to communicate with you and respond to questions, concerns, and maintenance or repair requests as quickly as possible.
- Keep your property maintained. When your property is well-maintained, it sends a message to your tenants that you care about their living environment—which, in turn, increases the likelihood that they’ll be respectful of it. A well-maintained rental will also attract better tenants.
Protect Your Investment with Tenant Screening Services
Since 1985, Tenant Screening Center has provided thorough, accurate tenant screening services for landlords and property managers across the nation. Our reports can be found online, 24/7, and the cost is deferred to the applicant. Sign up today for free and get started on protecting your investment.
Even with the most stringent screening methods in place, you may still find yourself needing to evict a tenant. After all, circumstances can change. Following a set process, like the one outlined above, can help you get back on track as soon as possible.
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