Most Houston landlords prefer to renew lease agreements with residents at the end of a tenancy, but sometimes you’ll have to prepare for the move-out process instead. Make things as seamless and efficient as possible by clearly explaining your expectations, preparing to conduct a thorough inspection, and understanding the requirements of security deposit returns in Texas.
A consistent process will keep you organized and help your tenants depart with positive feelings about their rental experience.
Provide Clear Move-Out Instructions
The lease agreement you signed with your tenant will likely establish the amount of notice a tenant needs to give before moving out. Once you receive the written notice that they plan to vacate the property, you need to let them know what they should do before they leave.
This information can typically be found in the lease agreement, but a reminder at the end of the tenancy will yield better results for all parties. Put the instructions in writing, and let the tenants know that you expect to receive the property in a condition that’s similar to the condition it was in when they took possession. Refer them to their lease and make sure they know what you’ll be looking for when you’re evaluating the home’s condition and returning the security deposit.
Complete a Move-Out Inspection and Report
After the tenants have moved out, you’ll want to conduct a thorough move-out inspection. You are doing two things with this inspection:
- Getting an idea of the turnover costs and time so you can prepare for the next tenant.
- Looking for any property damage that goes beyond general wear and tear.
Owners cannot charge for things like scuff marks or small nail holes on the walls. You can, however, charge for damage that goes beyond general wear and tear, even if it’s accidental or due to abuse, neglect, or misuse. Document everything with pictures, videos, and notes during the inspection.
Texas Security Deposit Law
Before your tenant leaves, make sure they provide a forwarding address so you can send their security deposit back. You are legally required to return this deposit, minus the amount deducted for damages or unpaid rent, within 30 days of the tenant moving out. If you have withheld all or part of the deposit, you need to provide an itemized list of deductions with a description of the damages.
Preparing for Your Next Houston Tenant
With your current tenants out of the property, you want to get your rental property re-rented as soon as possible. This will save you money on long vacancy periods and ensure you aren’t losing a lot of cash flow.
Try to make your turnover process as efficient and cost-effective as possible. If you’re working with a Houston property management company, you will likely get this done in a few days. Turn on the utilities so you can provide safe working conditions for your vendors and ensure a bright and inviting setting when you’re showing the property.
The move-out process can quickly become stressful, especially if you’re left with unexpected damage or uncertainty around the security deposit. If you find yourself in such a position, please don’t hesitate to contact us at OmniKey Realty. We work with rental property owners in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and surrounding areas in Dallas County, Collin County, and Houston County.