Quick and Efficient Unit Turnovers: A Guide

Unit turnovers are an unavoidable part of the life of rental property owners. The key to a smooth and stress-free experience is having an efficient and organized turnover process. This guide will provide the information you need to ensure quick and efficient unit turnovers yourself.

What is a Unit Turnover?

A unit turnover is the process of transitioning from one tenant to the next. It involves preparing a unit prior to a tenant taking possession of it, and over the course of a tenancy, regularly inspecting and maintaining the unit. Unit turnovers can be a time-consuming process for busy rental property owners, but devoting the time and effort to a smooth and efficient turnaround can prevent more costly repairs and missed rental income later.

Preparing for Unit Turnover

A successful unit turnover requires preparation in several areas. Begin by:

  • Creating policies and procedures: Policies and procedures should outline when and how you will conduct unit turnovers, what is expected of the new tenant, as well as when and how you will conduct regular inspections and repairs.
  • Checking for violations: Be sure to check for any existing violations and make any necessary repairs.
  • Making a to-do list: List the tasks that need to be completed for turn-over and make a plan of attack.
  • Documenting the property’s condition: Take photos of the property, document any existing damage, and use the condition form provided by the jurisdiction.
  • Providing tenant education: Provide your new tenants with the necessary information to help ensure they understand their rights and responsibilities as tenants.

The Actual Unit Turnover Process

The actual unit turnover process begins when you’ve received a request from a tenant to move out, or when an existing tenant’s lease is due to expire. Here’s how you should proceed:

  • Conduct a thorough walk-through of the unit: Inspect all areas of the unit for damage, cleanliness, and make sure the unit is in move-in condition.
  • Have the tenant sign off: Have the tenant sign the condition form, documenting any existing damage and its cost for repair. This should be turned in to the landlord before the tenant is released from their lease.
  • Check out the tenant: Check the tenant out of the unit, collecting any remaining rent and any damaged items.

Getting the New Tenant Ready

Once the unit is ready for occupancy, it’s time to get a new tenant ready to move in:

  • Provide information: Give the new tenant all the necessary information about the rental unit, including your policies, important contact information, and rental history.
  • Do a walk-through: Give the new tenant a chance to do a walk-through of the unit and make sure he or she understands the condition of the unit.
  • Verify security deposit: Collect the security deposit and verify it has been paid in full before the new tenant moves in.
  • Create documentation: Create a lease or rental agreement for the new tenant and collect all the documentation needed to complete the tenancy.
  • Check in: Check your new tenant in at the unit and verify the condition of the unit.

Post Unit Turnover Inspections

Regular inspections throughout the tenancy are essential for a landlord to ensure the property is being properly cared for. You should:

  • Conduct regular inspections: Conduct regular inspections of the property, making sure all areas of it are safe and properly maintained.
  • Communicate with tenants: Make sure tenants are aware of their responsibilities and any problems that need to be addressed.
  • Document all repairs: Make sure to document all repairs that have been completed and any remaining problem areas.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Conducting Unit Turnovers

Unit turnovers can go quickly awry if the rental owner is not prepared or organized. Following these tips can help ensure a smooth transition:

  • Don’t forget to cross-check documents: Make sure you thoroughly review all documents to ensure accuracy.
  • Don’t overlook safety hazards: Make sure electrical, plumbing, and safety issues are taken care of before the initial move in.
  • Don’t forget to inspect: Take the time to inspect the unit regularly to ensure that any problems are addressed promptly.
  • Don’t forget to educate your tenants: Make sure your tenants are aware of their rights and responsibilities as tenants.
  • Don’t forget to document: Create a system to keep track of all paperwork related to unit turnovers, and make sure any issues are documented.

Making Unit Turnovers Easier

Technology has changed the way rental owners operate. Automation tools and software can make unit turnovers easier and minimize manual effort. There are a variety of tools available, such as:

  • Rental management software: Rental management software can be used to track tenant information, such as lease expiration dates, rent payments, and conditions of the unit.
  • Online payment and communication platforms: Use an online payment platform to accept rent payments and communicate with tenants.
  • Inspection software: Use a mobile app to document the condition of the unit prior to tenant move-in and conduct regular inspections.

Tips for Quick and Efficient Unit Turnover

Being organized is key to a stress-free turnover process. Here are some tips for quick and efficient unit turnovers:

  • Keep track of turnover dates: Track lease expiration dates and contact tenants ahead of time about renewing.
  • Create a checklist: Create a list of what needs to be done for each turnover and track the progress.
  • Keep organized documents: Keep all documents related to each tenant, such as leases, forms, and payments, in one location.
  • Stay on top of maintenance and repairs: Make sure any repairs are addressed promptly to keep the unit in good condition.
  • Use technology: Make use of available technology to automate workflows and minimize manual effort.


Quick and efficient unit turnovers are essential for rental property owners. By staying organized, properly preparing the unit, and making use of available technology, rental owners can ensure a smooth transition between tenants. Follow the tips and advice in this guide and you’ll have no problem quickly and efficiently turning over your units.

What are the most important steps for an efficient unit turnover?

1. Clean Thoroughly

2. Inspect Property and Appliances

3. Make Necessary Repairs

4. Update Interior Design

5. Place “Welcome” Sign or Gifts

6. Examine Health and Safety Regulations

7. Address Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

8. Photograph Property

9. Contact Utility Companies for Transferring Service Accounts

10. Finalize Lease Agreements and Collect Rent Security Deposit

What should property owners consider when prepping a unit for turnover?

1. Cleaning: Have the property professionally cleaned, including carpets, upholstery, and appliances.

2. Repairs: Have any necessary repairs done before showing the unit to potential tenants.

3. Curb Appeal: Ensure the yard and exterior are maintained for proper curb appeal.

4. Safety: Make sure the unit is up to code and any safety issues are addressed.

5. Updates: Consider if any updates should be made to the unit to attract tenants and/or increase its value.

6. Spacing: Make sure all closets, shelves, and other storage areas are organized.

7. Paperwork: Gather and organize all necessary information about the unit, such as rental agreements, leases, and landlord/tenant laws.

8. Amenities: Consider what amenities you can provide to make your unit competitively priced.

9. Inventory: Create an inventory list of what comes with the unit.

10. Photos: Take high quality photos of the unit to use for advertising.

What paperwork is required when preparing a unit for turnover?

1. Lease Agreement: A legal agreement between the landlord and tenant outlining the rental terms and conditions.

2. Move-in Checklist: A detailed list of items that must be checked off prior to occupancy to ensure the unit is in good condition and ready for move-in.

3. Security Deposit Receipt: Evidence that the tenant has paid the security deposit to the landlord on the unit.

4. Lead Paint Disclosure: Required in all rentals built before 1978, this document outlines potential hazards related to lead paint in the unit.

5. W-9 Form: This form is provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and is used by the landlord to collect federal employer identification numbers from tenants who are paid by the landlord or property management company.

6. Acknowledgement of Rules and Regulations: This document outlines the rights and responsibilities of the tenant and confirms that the tenant has received and reviewed the rules and regulations of the rental property.

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