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Minimising vacancies between tenants

One of the realities of Property Management is that people move house and tenants move on.  Wouldn’t life be easier for all of us if once settled in a property, tenants were happy to stay for longer periods?  Not so – that’s just the way life is.

Now with low vacancy rates tenants are moving less frequently but when one of our landlords recently asked me what we do as property managers when a tenant vacates, I thought it would be worth sharing this information with others.

As a property manager, it is important that we fulfil two key objectives on behalf of our landlords.

The first and most obvious is to minimise the cost of tenancy changeover and we can do this most easily by reducing the ‘turnaround time.”  In the current market with vacancy rates being low, this has not been difficult to achieve.

The other objective is to ensure the property is adequately cleaned by the vacating tenant and prepared in optimum condition for the new tenant.  While this can add a few days to the changeover time, it is easy to justify when considering the need for your property being well maintained and well presented in the market place.

When a tenant vacates a property there are a number of stages or tasks which need to be completed including;

  • Verification of correct keys returned.
  • Vacating inspection by the property manager – sometimes with the tenant in attendance.
  • Review of property against Entry Condition Report from start of tenancy to ensure the property has been brought back to the condition it was at the start of the tenancy.

We want to make sure the property is clean and there is no damage or excessive wear and tear to the property. We check that the fixtures are in place, e.g. curtains and light fittings, keys and locks are all working, and that the gardens are tidy and the lawns are mowed and trimmed.

Occasionally it is necessary for the tenants to go back to the property following the property manager’s inspection or for trades people to be engaged at the tenant’s expense to rectify the problems.

Following this the property manager will re-inspect the property and only then will the release of the tenants bond be finalized.

At the time of these inspections we look for any maintenance works that need to be carried out and the owner is notified of any matters which need attention prior to new tenants taking possession.

It is also prudent for landlords to consider what might need upgrading at the property at this time.  Items such as replacement of floor coverings, tiling in bathrooms or repainting of interior are all best carried out when vacant.

Once all is completed the property manager can return to the property and complete a comprehensive Entry Condition Report for the ingoing tenant.

Whilst all our landlords would love to have a ‘back-to-back’ tenancy, we would not be looking after their best interests if the above process was not followed diligently. This would causes long term deterioration and reduction of the asset value of the property.

On balance, even in today’s climate of minimal vacancy rates, a realistic turn around time of a week or so is really in the best interest of our landlords.

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About

Pamela was a founding director of the Metropole Property Group. She co-authored the top selling book "The Australian Guide to Buying & Selling Your Home." In her articles she freely shares her years of experience as a property investor & developer and a property management expert. Visit Metropole.com.au


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