All landlords want to limit tenant turnovers and vacancies as much as possible. Sometimes, this means marketing your rental property while another tenant still occupies it. That said, there are several things to consider while marketing and showing a tenant-occupied rental property. Keep reading to learn how to market a rental that’s currently occupied and landlord-tenant laws to be mindful of during the process.
Why Market an Occupied Rental?
There are a few reasons why landlords may want to market and show an occupied rental property. For instance, if a current tenant’s lease is coming to an end and they decide not to renew it, it’s crucial to find a new tenant as soon as possible to avoid vacancy. After all, showing an occupied property can lessen the days when no one’s paying rent.
Additionally, it’s helpful to market and show a rental that’s occupied because it gives the next tenant a good idea of what the home will look like with all their possessions inside. Sometimes with an empty rental property, it’s hard for tenants to picture it being a livable space.
While there are disadvantages and benefits to marketing a tenant-occupied rental, these are just a few reasons why a landlord may want to do so. So next, let’s go over how to market a rental with current tenants living in it.
How to Market a Rental That’s Tenant-Occupied
Marketing a rental that’s tenant-occupied can be tricky. After all, you don’t want to disrupt your tenant’s everyday life by entering their property with strangers. However, showing your property to interested tenants that will potentially move in right away can save you time and money associated with vacancy. Here’s how to market a rental that’s currently occupied.
- Talk to Your Current Tenants
- Provide Proper Notice
- Include a Lease Clause
- Ask Tenants to Prepare
Talk to Your Current Tenants
First things first, you’re going to want to talk with your current tenants. Reaching out to tenants beforehand to let them know that you’ll be showing the property can reduce hesitance and noncompliance. In addition, they’ll likely be more open to the idea if you bring it up in advance in a friendly manner.
Additionally, you need to find out when you can legally enter the tenant’s property while it’s occupied. After all, you can’t show up any day or any time and expect it to work for everyone. So instead, talk with your tenants and find a time that works best for both of you.
Provide Proper Notice
As stated above, you can’t show up at a current tenant’s rental and tour the property with new potential renters. After all, your tenant has a right to privacy while living in your rental, and this method is highly invasive. As such, it’s crucial to give your current tenants proper notice before showing the property.
Most landlord-tenant laws recommend providing your tenants with at least 24 hours notice of entry. This will give your tenants enough time to make arrangements, clean up the property, and prepare for a showing. Luckily, since you’ve brought it up to your tenants, giving them notice of entry before a showing shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Include a Lease Clause
Just so there’s no confusion toward the end of a tenant’s lease agreement, it’s never a bad idea to include a lease clause. In this case, you could draft a lease provision stating that you may be showing the property near the end of the current term.
Remember that adding it to the lease doesn’t mean you don’t need to give proper notice. For example, you should still discuss property showings with your current tenant and always provide adequate notice before entering the property, even if it’s written in the lease.
Ask Tenants to Prepare
Once your tenants are fully aware that you’ll be showing the property, politely ask them to prepare it a bit. They don’t have to necessarily deep clean the entire property but asking them to tidy up their possessions before the showing is not unreasonable.
After all, a clean-looking property can make or break a rental since most prospective tenants don’t want to live in a dirty home. You could even offer an incentive to clean the property or hire a service to clean for free beforehand.
Pros and Cons of Marketing a Property That’s Occupied
There are several pros and cons of marking a property occupied by tenants already. The most apparent advantage is fewer vacancies and money lost. On the other hand, not every tenant will be happy to comply with a showing, making things more difficult. If you’re a landlord considering this option, here are some of the main advantages and disadvantages of showing a tenant-occupied property.
Advantages of Marketing a Tenant-Occupied Rental
- More Consistent Cash Flow- With little to no vacancy time, landlords aren’t stuck paying for an empty rental property. Instead, the next renter is lined up and ready to move in, meaning you don’t miss a payment.
- Utilities Transfer, Saving You Money- If your current tenant moves out before another moves in, you must transfer utilities into your name. This can be costly and annoying for landlords, so having a new tenant come in right away can save money and time.
Disadvantages of Marketing a Tenant-Occupied Rental
- Less Control Over Property Condition- Unless you hire a cleaning service to tidy up the property before a showing, it’s hard to tell if the property will be in good condition to show.
- Your Tenant May Not Move Out On Time- Unfortunately, not all tenants move out on time, causing delays in new tenancies. If you’re eager to get your property back on the market, consider helping your tenant find a new rental.
Taking Photos of a Tenant-Occupied Rental
These days, you can easily do property showings online through virtual tours or photo galleries. However, taking photos to market a currently occupied property can be uncomfortable and awkward for both landlords and tenants.
Additionally, the law around taking photos of a tenant-occupied property can be tricky. Ultimately, it comes down to the reason behind the photos. For instance, landlords or property managers in Washington DC may take pictures of the property to document repairs or maintenance concerns.
However, landlords cannot take photos of a tenant-occupied property for marketing without proper consent from the current tenant. This is because tenants are entitled to their privacy within the rental unit, including their possessions.
So, if you want to take photos of an occupied property, you’ll have to discuss it with your current tenant. Additionally, add a clause to your lease agreement that allows you to enter the property and take photos in case the property should go up for sale or rent.
Tips on How to Market a Rental Occupied by Tenants
If you’re not sure how to market a rental that’s currently occupied, here are some tips to keep in mind while working with current and potential tenants.
- Combine Showing Times- Consider showing the property to a few potential renters at once. This can reduce inconveniences and time schedules for you and your current tenants.
- Make Times Convenient for the Tenant- Check with your current tenant to see what times will work for them. Since they’ll have to leave the property, asking them what times work best is more polite.
- Ask Tenants to Secure Pets- If your current tenant has pets on the property, make sure they are secured and won’t interfere with a showing.
- Reward Tenant Compliance- Showing an occupied property with all of another tenant’s possessions can be uncomfortable. So, consider rewarding them with a complimentary cleaning service or thank you card for complying.
Rental Property Management Can Help Maximize Your Portfolio
If you don’t know how to market a rental property, whether a tenant’s living there or not, you’re not alone. Managing every aspect of a rental business, including marketing and finding tenants, can be highly time-consuming.
Luckily, Bay Property Management Group can help you out. We offer comprehensive rental management services, including tenant screening, move-in/move-out reports, maintenance, and more. Contact BMG today if you need rental management services in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Northern Virginia, or Washington DC.