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What Landlords Should Know About Tenant Onboarding

The tenant onboarding process starts from the application and ends by the time the tenant moves in. Why would you care about onboarding? At this point, tenants want to know how they can qualify, whether your rental is worth it, and what your expectations are. Your job is to make the most out of this transition. If you need help with this aspect, don’t get stressed - below are tips that help.

1. Let the prospective tenant complete an application.

First things first, ask the tenant applicant to fill out your application. He should be able to meet your income and credit requirements. Do a background check on the tenant. Look into his employment history and speak with his prior landlord. If the tenant applicant needs a co-signer because of a lack of credit history, let him complete a separate application form.

Related: 3 Ways to Screen Potential Tenants

2. Accept or turn down a tenant applicant the right way.

Assuming that an applicant passed your standards, you’re now ready to call and congratulate him. Tell the tenant that the place is his and that you’ll be sending the copy of the lease - via email.

But what if you’re going to turn down a tenant? How do you do it? Never delay notifying a rejected applicant. Do so through a phone call or email. It’s very important to state the reasons why his application got turned down. If credit was the issue, you should tell him the name and address of the credit bureau you reached out to. 

3. Communicate your expectations and allow the tenant to ask questions.

Before the tenant signs the lease, go over the essential terms you’ve included in the lease agreement. Basic areas include the parties involved in the lease, the full amount of rent due, security deposit, and repairs and damages. Explain what the tenant’s responsibilities are and confirm that he understood it.

Let him know that you are ready to answer any questions that he may have. Expect tenants to open up topics regarding payment methods, maintenance, utilities, and restrictions.

4. Offer new tenants a local map and overview of the neighborhood. 

One of the ways to help tenants transition to your neighborhood is act as a tour guide. This means you should give them an idea of your location - the nearest restaurant, supermarket, attractions, and local activities. Hand over a simple roadmap, or even a Google Map that you print out! Tenants will appreciate these simple gestures.

5. Do a move-in inspection with the tenant. 

A move-in inspection or walk-through inspection before a tenant moves in is a must. This process verifies that the rental is in tip-top shape. Most importantly, it serves as a baseline that you can use to compare the condition of the unit when the tenant moves out. Always document! Take pictures, video clips, and a checklist with you.

Related: Doing a Walk-Through Inspection Before a Tenant Moves In 

6. Check in from time to time.

You are running a real business and that means you deserve to know how things are going. You want to protect your investment and solve problems before they get bigger. A simple way to keep tabs is to send tenants a text message to ask if they are okay or if there’s anything they need help with.

But when it comes to entering the rental for periodic inspections or making repairs, give out a 24-hour advance notice. 

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