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Is Your Home Ready To Rent? Use This Checklist First

Preparing your rental property for new tenants begins long before you sign a lease or post the “house for rent” ad. For some homeowners, this period is short and limited, often between old tenants moving out and new ones moving in. For some, this preparation period will be longer. Maybe it’s the first time preparing your house for rent. No matter how much time you have, there’re a few things you need to keep in mind when preparing your rental property for tenants. 

What does your home need to be rental ready?


1. Deep clean odour areas

Many areas get missed in cleaning a rental that can create a musty “lived-in” aroma. Make sure you clean behind all appliances and in drawers. If your rental has carpet, get it professionally cleaned. Consider getting all drapes cleaned or wipe down curtains. Get the drains cleaned. Many tenants will pour cheap products down the drains if they aren’t draining well, and these products can make matters worse in the long run. It’s worth it to get drains cleaned in between long-term tenants.   

2. Service appliances and repair where necessary

Appliances are an expensive fix when they break. Maintaining appliances and taking proper care of them when you can between tenants will help them last longer. Clean out all appliances and service them where needed. The top things to remember are cleaning dryer vents, running a full cleaning cycle on the oven and cleaning out the dishwasher filter. 

3. Check and test necessary smoke alarms

For insurance purposes, you will need to test smoke alarms regularly. If you’re working on a year lease basis, this is a great opportunity to test all smoke alarms and replace batteries. 

4. Change the locks and provide new keys

It is always a good idea to have locks changed between tenants. Even if your lease states that a tenant is not allowed to make copies of keys, many of them do. If you do not want to have to get a locksmith in to change the locks between every tenant, consider installing a Smart Key system that allows you to change the keys yourself. 

5. Paint and repair walls and floor damage

Over time a rental will start to look lived in. This general wear and tear is not the tenant’s fault, but it is a good idea to plan ahead for repairs regarding general wear and tear on walls and flooring from time to time to keep the place looking fresh and new. If there’s major damage to a rental property, this repair should be covered out of the damage deposit. 

6. Clean ventilation and fans

Never forget to clean the hood vent above a stove. This area can be full of dust and oil and the longer you leave it, the worse it gets. Also, pull covers off of bathroom vents and clean these fans out well from dust. 

7. Replace Screens

If your rental property has screens on windows or doors, make sure there’re no tears and that they are cleaned and rolling on the tracks well. 

8. Lights, Camera, Action

Replace lightbulbs where necessary. Exterior lights, or lights in common areas of a rental property, that are a safety issue are a landlord’s responsibility. Although lightbulbs are generally a tenant’s responsibility to replace, it’s nice to move into a home where all the bulbs are bright and working. 

9. Treat for pests where necessary

It’s a landlord’s responsibility to treat for infestations or pests. Whenever you do not have tenants in your rental property, inspect for signs of pests in unused spaces such as attics and crawlspaces. 

10. Inspect the landscaping and tidy up the exterior

Maintaining the landscaping of a rental property is the landlord’s responsibility unless otherwise agreed upon and noted in a lease. When you do not have tenants in your house for rent, get all of the major yard work done. Remove dead branches and brush, maintain and repair irrigation and plant any hedges or gardens while you’ve got the rental property vacant and to yourself. 


Maintaining a house for rent can take a lot of time and effort. If you want quality tenants, you have to put the time into maintaining your rental property. This checklist can help you remember the key areas to focus on between tenants or before you even start your search for your first tenants. If you’re looking for a property management company to help you navigate the confusing world of rental properties, Pemberton Holmes is here to help. Get in touch today, and we can help you create the rental income of your dreams.

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