No matter how careful you are in selecting the right tenants, you never know their true colors until after they’ve moved in. Sometimes, you won’t even know how they treat your rental until they are about to leave. If you’re unfortunate enough to have a nightmare tenant, you may just find yourself with a unit that’s damaged, dingy, and unbelievably dirty.
Nevertheless, you have no choice but to deal with the aftermath that the nightmare tenant leaves in their wake. Luckily, there are several ways you can get your rental in good shape again just in time for potential new tenants to come and see it.
Before they move out
Here are some steps to take before the tenant officially moves out of the property:
1. Let them know their responsibilities
At least a week before they move out, send the tenant a letter or message outlining the responsibilities that they have to take care of before they can officially move out. These responsibilities may include taking out the garbage, emptying the fridge, removing personal effects, patching up holes, etc.
2. Provide bins
Make clean-up easier for the tenant by providing garbage, recycling, and donation bins. Doing this is also a way of silently telling them that you expect them to throw away their rubbish before they leave. If your tenant is considerate enough, they will take the message and throw out their rubbish so that you don’t have to.
After they move out
The tenant is gone. Now, the real work begins. After they move out, here are some tips on how to make repairs and clean-up easier.
1. Hire a removal service
Professional rubbish removal services can help clear out furniture, old appliances, and any trash that your tenant leaves behind. If you’re in a hurry to return the rental into its original state for new tenants, hiring a rubbish removal service can make clean-up faster than throwing out everything yourself. Moreover, this type of service can remove heavy objects that you would otherwise not be able to lift yourself.
2. Look for violations
During the post-move-out inspection, be wary of any signs of lease violations, such as the smell of pet urine or cigarette stains in the bathroom. If you need to have a professional remove the aftermath of these lease violations, you may be able to file a case against your old tenant.
3. Select a good contractor
A good contractor will be able to make your property look good as new again. Damages such as holes in the wall, cracks in the tile, or stains on the flooring can be easily removed by a reputable contractor, so make sure to hire one when dealing with the aftermath of a nightmare tenant.
4. Send the tenant a bill
The best-case scenario is that the security deposit will be enough to cover the damages that the tenant left behind. However, if the repair and clean-up bills exceed the deposit, you can recoup the expenses by sending the old tenant an itemized bill, including documentation such as receipts, estimates, and invoices. If they refuse to pay the outstanding balance, consider taking them to a small claims court.
5. Ventilate the entire place
It’s a good idea to ventilate the entire place after the tenant moves out, even if there are no bad odors. Open all windows and doors for at least a whole day while you’re cleaning to increase the air circulation inside the unit. Turn a fan on if you must, and avoid spraying air fresheners until you’re done cleaning.
6. Hire a deep cleaner
Deep cleaning is a must between tenants, especially if the last tenant was not-so-good at housekeeping. The last thing you want is for the new tenant to find mold in the refrigerator gasket or perhaps food residue in the oven. With that in mind, make sure to deep clean the entire apartment before the next tenant arrives. If you don’t have time for this, hire a deep cleaning service to clean the unit from top to bottom.
7. Make DIY repairs
If you have a bit of handy side, consider doing the minor repairs yourself to save money on repair bills and recoup some of the costs. But if the nightmare tenant has caused damage that is too complicated for your skills, definitely outsource to a specialist so that you can be sure that the repairs are done right.
Nightmare tenants can leave a huge mess behind. To make your job easier after they leave, use these strategies when making repairs, cleaning up, and getting the unit ready for viewing.