Plan to Filling Your Property Quickly After Eviction
Evictions are no fun for anyone, owner or tenant. They take time, cost money (not to mention the rent you are often not collecting), and add stress. Unfortunately, many landlords make the mistake of waiting much too long to file the eviction. Then they don’t have a plan on how to recover from the eviction quickly once the tenant is out. While every situation, property and tenant are different, here are some items you can do to minimize the time your property is vacant.
- Have your cleaners, handyman and painters ready to hit the ground running immediately after the eviction. I usually schedule them for the next day since I want to confirm after court that the tenant is gone. Understand and confirm when you can take possession of the property. Generally, if the tenant does not show up for eviction court and you stop over there and the place is mostly vacant, then it is yours. If they still living there or have lots of stuff remaining, you should probably proceed to get the Writ, which allows you to have the sheriff come over and remove them and legally allows you to lock them out of the property.
- You should have a portfolio of good pictures for every property that you own. Pay a real estate photographer $50-100 to take 20 excellent, well-lit pictures of each property right before the next tenant moves. This insures the property is in the best shape ever in the photos. As part of our property management process, we do that so we always have professional photos of our customer’s properties. Use these pictures to start marketing the unit. Push the showings out a couple of days if the unit needs some work (if you had your crew on standby, they should have this substantially cleaned up in 3-4 days).
- Send emails or call your existing tenants to tell them that this new unit is coming available. If you are a good landlord, your tenants will want to recommend you to their friends and family. Consider even giving your existing tenants $250 if they refer someone.
- When you do show the unit, coach the visitors about the condition of the property. I am constantly surprised by the fact that probably only 25% of people have any vision of what something will look like once it is fixed up. I suspect that others have been burned by a bad landlord saying that he is going to fix something and then never does.
- In Minnesota, you must store a tenant’s left over property for up to 30 days. Don’t let this trip you up to wait to work on or rent the unit. This can really be tough if you are trying to re-rent the property. Your option is to have it moved professionally to a storage unit (you can charge the tenant this cost). I may consider using something like a POD and just leaving it in the yard. I have also used garage to store everything and just told the new tenant that they can’t have the garage for 30 days. Most don’t care
Evictions present their unique challenges to owning and managing rental properties. Unfortunately, they are a necessary part of the business and how you recover from them may decide how you do long-term in this business.