6 Essential Things To Do Between Tenants

When a tenant moves about, landlords and property managers are always eager to get the unit occupied and generating cash flow again. While you want to keep vacancies as brief as possible, it’s absolutely essential that you take the necessary time between tenants to ensure that the unit is clean and habitable.

Here are a few of the most critical things to check and fix before your next tenant moves in.


How old is the flooring in this property? In rental units, floors typically don’t last as long as they would otherwise. Some people are just harder on floors than others, and renters can be less careful in temporary living situations. Carpets are usually only good for about 5 years, sometimes less. Hardwoods will last a heck of a lot longer, but you might need to refinish them just as often. If you have vinyl that’s still in decent shape but looks outdated, consider simply painting it for a fresh look.


A fresh coat of paint is never a bad idea when turning over a rental property. In fact, some cities/states have made it a legal requirement. You’ll want to spackle over the holes from the last tenant’s wall hangings and repair any other sheetrock damage, of course. If you notice peeling paint or black spots on the walls, you may have a mold problem. If so, it must be remedied as soon as possible.

The Works

Now is also the time to check up on the property’s electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and other systems.

  • Make sure all the lights and outlets work properly and that heavy use doesn’t overload the system. If you notice exposed wiring or burn marks, call an electrician.
  • Look for signs of pipe leaks under kitchen and bathrooms sinks, and make sure drains are free of clogs and all the toilets flush properly.
  • Take the opportunity to have the heater and air conditioner tuned up and confirm that the property meets standards for energy efficiency.
  • Test each appliance that you provide in the home, such as the water heater, refrigerator, dishwasher, oven, and laundry machines. Repair or replace these items if necessary.
  • Test the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the home and replace the batteries if need be.

The Roof

Roof inspections should usually be done in the spring or summer, but a vacancy is as good a time as any. From the ground, you can scan the roof for loose, damaged or missing shingles. If you think you’ve spotted a problem, grab a ladder and take a closer look but try to avoid going on to the roof if you can. While you’re up there, assess the condition of your gutters and schedule a cleaning if necessary. Inside the attic, look for signs of moisture, like mold or rot. This usually means you have a roof leak. Also make sure it’s not super hot up there as extreme temperatures can age your roof prematurely.

Pest Control

Look for pests and signs thereof, like ants, fleas, bees, bed bugs, and (eek!) rodents. Small droppings on kitchen counters are a sure sign of mice. Bees’ nests are easy to spot when built in plain view, but they could also be inside exterior walls. Bed bugs are unfortunately more of a problem than they have been in the past, and they’re extremely difficult to detect until they bite. Whether you see anything or now, it’s a great idea to have an exterminator come through the property, especially during the warmer months.


Once all the structural and mechanical systems are up to snuff, all that’s left to do is clean. If your budget allows, you won’t regret paying for a professional to come in and clean your rentals. It’s a dirty, thankless job. But, if you’re going it alone, start with the kitchens and bathrooms. Scrub the tubs and/or showers, toilets, sinks, countertops, cabinets and floors. And don’t forget the oven, microwave and refrigerator. After the hard part is over, wipe down all the mirrors and windows, dust the blinds, and cap it off by cleaning the floors. If there’s an outdoor area, give that a good sprucing as well.

By taking the steps above you’ll be well within compliance in providing a habitable rental.