by Eva Martinez
It’s only natural that a landlord who is seeking to minimize the time between vacancies in a property should, at one time or another, consider attempting to rent property while still occupied by tenant.
This practice, known in the property biz as “Pre-Leasing,” is essentially concerned with allowing a tenant to reserve a home or apartment well in advance of their anticipated move-in date.
It’s especially common in college towns, where property managers and landlords experience high volume and overturn, and a deluge of students coming and going in the Summer, Spring, and Fall.
At first glance, pre-leasing appears to be a much more financially advantageous proposition than waiting until the property is vacant to begin the long, and sometimes slow, process of advertising, showing and leasing that can leave you in a bind with your mortgage until you find the right tenant.
Remember that diplomacy is of the utmost importance in dealing with the outgoing tenant, if you are going to attempt to pre-lease. The last thing you want is for that outgoing tenant to become in any way disgruntled.
Consider that they have lived in the property for a certain amount of time, and that they are familiar with the house. They know perfectly well how maintained it is, as well as any (probably expensive) problems the house may have. Do you really need that information presented in a potentially negative light to new prospective tenants?
Diplomacy is the Key
If you want to have a chance of leasing your still-occupied property in order to prevent vacancy gaps, you should develop a plan. Trying to get the tenant to work with you is your best bet in working toward leasing out the house again quickly after the outgoing tenants vacate.
6 Tips for Leasing a Tenant-Occupied House:
1. Set up a meeting time that is convenient for the outgoing tenants so that you can sit down with them, listen to any concerns they might have as they are exiting, and explain to them what the situation is on your end and that you would appreciate their help in allowing you to show the property.
2. Promise them that they that they will be notified prior to any showing of the home, and make an agreement with them as to when a good time is, in general, to show the property.
3. Let the tenants know that you will notify them prior to any home inspections or contractor visits for remodeling, etc.
4. Offer to compensate the tenant for every time they allow someone to view the home. You will have to decide on an amount, but paying them, say, $10 every time the home is shown, payable once they vacate on time and within the terms of the lease.
5. Ask what you could do to make this process easier for them.
6. Offer some type of bonus for leaving the home in top-notch condition when they move out. For instance, you could offer them an additional $100.00 bonus in addition to the return of their security deposit. This helps you, in turn, have the place ready for the next tenants in line!
Get the tenants on your side!
No matter what, don’t forget to be diplomatic, friendly, and tactful. Angry tenants can do a lot of damage to your property and to your reputation as a property owner or manager. Time is money, and the faster you get the house under contract with the incoming tenants, the sooner you can move on.