As a property owner, you want to ensure a smooth transition out of the home when your tenant decides to leave. Palo Alto property management at Real Estate Connections in Santa Clara County, we follow a process that we have found to be successful. Any time a tenant gives a 30 day notice, we send them a letter that details all we expect from them upon their move out. We explain what they are required to clean, how they need to clean it, and what else they will need to do in order to get a full security deposit back. We also note and calculate the amount of rent that is due, especially if we need to pro rate it. Sometimes a tenant moves out in the middle of a month, and we want to let them know what the rent will be. This will reduce any confusion about what is owed, and you will not have a different amount in mind than what the tenant expects to pay.
Send your letter out to your tenant immediately, and give them the opportunity to request a pre-move out inspection. This is now California law, and you must offer your tenant an inspection before they move out so that they have the opportunity to make the necessary repairs in order to get their deposit back. You can use this inspection to review your expectations and to point out what is in the lease so they remember what they agreed to when they moved in. By completing this inspection with you, the tenant can take the time to fix anything that needs attention and do the cleaning they way it is required before they move out.
If tenants wants to clean on their own, or hire their own cleaners or carpet cleaning company to take care of what we require, that’s fine. However, I always tell them that if the property is not cleaned to our satisfaction, there is a possibility that it could be deducted from the security deposit. Communicating expectations and conducting a pre-move out inspection will give all parties the opportunity to agree on what must be done, and it will give the tenant an opportunity to get the full security deposit back.
When you return the security deposit, remember to be fair and swift. There are laws in place mandating how quickly you return the deposit, so do not delay in getting that money back to the tenant. If there are other issues you would like to discuss in terms of smooth move out transitions or anything pertaining to residential property management, please contact us or give Real Estate Connections a call at (408) 873-2100.