Savvy landlords know the keys of a back-to-back move-in/move-out process: 365 days of uninterrupted revenue.

With 2017 occupancy rates predicted to be 94.6 percent, landlords nationwide are trying to maximize payout and minimize lost time and revenue by moving old tenants out and new ones in as quickly as possible – often within the same 24-hour period! With the median price of a two-bedroom apartment ranging from $749 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to $3,023 in San Francisco, California, most landlords with a zero-day turnover can hope to have an extra $1,000 per unit per year each time they pull this off.

That extra income all starts with your leasing language. Let’s start with three of the most important issues that should be included in your lease:

1 | Set the move-out date/time to the last day of the month at 10 am and a move in date of the first day of the month at 3 pm.

This allows you a full 29 hours to prepare your unit for the new tenant. That 29 hours will need to encompass carpet cleaning, touch up painting, general cleaning, and any small repairs. Send maintenance in to visit the unit as soon as you receive confirmation of notice to vacate at lease termination, no later than 30 days pre-expiration. This allows you to prepare for anything unexpected in the unit’s condition. If your city requires you change the locks after turnover, make sure you schedule this as well.


Include and review your policies at move in so tenants are ready and expect to hear from you about 90 days before their lease expires. Your policy on pre-inspecting the unit prior to move-out and the latest date you allow a notification to vacate the unit should be loud and clear in your leasing document.

2 | Include a distinct section in the lease about showings.

Specifically, require the lessee to allow the landlord to show the unit during the 45 days before lease expiration. You may want to add incentives or penalties to assure you have protection for more forgetful or uncooperative tenants. For example, you might offer gift cards or cash bonuses for cooperation or assess penalties for repeated failure to allow a showing.


Consider using lease language like this (a real sample):

“Showings will be scheduled between the hours of 9 a.m. and 8 p.m., all seven days per week. If a showing is refused it will result in a $100 deduction from your security deposit.”

3 | Be very specific, in writing, about the condition of the unit.

Detail exactly how the unit must appear when the tenant moves out. For example, include in writing that the unit must be restored to the original state or a fee will be deducted from the security deposit. Consider including a full list of fees and necessary repairs to provide the tenant with a reference point. You may include provisions for touched up walls, appliances cleaned inside, outside, and behind, no trash or personal belongings left behind, and a requirement that the windows be clean both inside and out.

Send this information at the 90-day and 60-day marks, along with an offer to assist with the cleaning process. If a tenant is busy packing, they may gladly agree to pay for your full-service deep cleaning team to complete the final work.

Extra rental income starts with a review of your lease and rental policies and keeping a careful calendar. Stay far ahead of lease-expiration dates and maintain open lines of communication with your tenants throughout the process, and you can dramatically increase the productivity and profitability of your rental properties.

Note: When properly implemented, these policies can help you and your tenants smoothly transition into and out of rental units. However, you must check your local and state regulations to ensure that you are abiding by all applicable renters’ rights laws in your area.

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  • Linda Liberatore

    Linda Liberatore is the founder and president of My Landlord-Helper-SecurePayOne, a unique virtual assistant solution for DIY real estate investors, and the author of Daily Inspirations to Achieve Your Real Estate Investment Goals. Contact her at

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