Home Preparation: Tenant Move-In Checklist  By

Home Preparation: Tenant Move-In Checklist

Congratulations! You’ve set up a rental or exchange for your home and are preparing for your guests’ stay. While you probably have many things on your mind regarding your own travels, it is important to prepare your space so it is ready for your new tenant.

We have compiled a new tenant move-in checklist so your home is ready and welcoming.

1. Leave important contact information

Contact Information Section Image. Photo of a man typing a list on a computer.

Be sure to create a list of contacts, including your own, just in case your tenant needs to get in touch. This should include a few friends or neighbors who are happy to answer questions about your home or the neighborhood.

Your tenants will appreciate it if you provide a building manager or trustworthy handyman who can help with little fixes around the house or contact a plumber or electrician if needed. Even better, include the local police and fire department contact information in case of emergency.

Be sure to email the list to them as well as print out a copy to keep in a central spot of your home.

2. Household instructions

Think of things that might be mysterious to your new guest: your internet password, how to use the quirky oven, what not to put in the garbage disposal and other helpful pointers are welcomed tips. Many of us now have some combination of TV, satellite or cable that might seem incomprehensible to someone who has never used it, so a quick bullet point list of instructions would be very welcome!

It’s also helpful to make a few notes on anything that happens on a regular schedule, like trash collection day or automatic sprinklers. Make a note on what your city allows in recycling containers, if they compost and which items go into which bins. Explain how your heating and/or air conditioning system works and what is a reasonable temperature to set each at, depending on the season.

Extra credit for making a few notes on where you will keep a few replacement items like light bulbs and extra batteries for smoke detectors. Click here for more inspiration and ideas.

Be sure to provide a printed copy of this along with your contact information so everything your tenants might need to help take care of your home is at their fingertips.

3. Have a spare key made

Have a Spare Key Made Section Image. Photo of a key inserted in a front door.

This is a simple but sometimes overlooked task while going through the new tenant checklist. You will want to be able to give your tenants a spare key while keeping your own with you. Remember to also include entry codes to shared front doors or gated areas that your tenants will need to access your home. If your tenants will have access to a separately locked garage or shed, include that key as well.

At the same time as you are organizing this, think about having extra keys made so your tenants have a spare. And, bonus points for having an extra spare key to give to a trusted neighbor in case your tenant is locked out!

4. General clean-up

A fresh, clean space is inviting and feels like home. If you hate to clean and can afford to hire a cleaning service, consider scheduling professionals to come about two days prior to your guests’ arrival. Sometimes a person who does not live in your space all the time may see areas or corners that really need a good scrub or dusting.

However, if you do not mind doing a deep clean on your home yourself, then put on some gloves and start scrubbing! Providing a clean home that smells fresh might be the most important item on the tenant move-in checklist!

Related: How Clean is Your Home?

5. Clear off horizontal surfaces

Clear Horizontal Surfaces Section Image. Photo of a clean desk with a plant and laptop.

Horizontal surfaces are at a premium in any home. It’s where we set everything down. Imagine walking into a home and having nowhere to put your purse, your briefcase or your keys. Be sure to clear off some horizontal surfaces in your home to accommodate your guests. You will most likely want to put away some of your personal items anyway, so this is an easy way to do both.

Before you start, take a walk around your home as if you have not been there before. Is there an entryway to put keys, bags or coats? In the living room, is there a coffee table or sofa table that has a spot to put your guests’ books or a cup of coffee?

If you have an office in your home, clear off any desk space to create a space where someone can really concentrate. Make sure that bedside tables in the bedrooms are inviting and clear your stack of reading and extra glasses. Lastly, in the kitchen, sort through that pile of paper or junk that always accumulates and recycle or file them.

6. Put away Personal Paperwork

This is a good thing to tackle the month prior to your new tenant move-in date. Ensure that any personal financial paperwork or files are secure. Your guests probably are not interested in these items, but be smart about not leaving bank statements and other confidential papers scattered out and about.

Some owners like to organize their key financial paperwork and items like social security cards or passports in a locked fireproof safe within their home. If you are interested in a fireproof safe, you may also consider storing the safe at a friend or family member’s home while you are traveling and while your guests are staying in your home.

Within our SabbaticalHomes community, it is unheard of that any guests would do anything inappropriate with your paperwork or information. Because our members check each other’s references and backgrounds before agreeing on their rental or exchange terms, generally there is a feeling of mutual respect when staying in each other’s homes. However, it is always good to be safe and to know exactly where your important paperwork is, especially if you are traveling for an extended time period!

Related: Checking References

7. Make Room in the Closets

Make Room in the Closet Section Image. Photo of a bedside table and a closet in a bedroom.

Making some space in the closet for your guests’ hanging clothes and shoes is a really nice touch. Think about staying in a home for a few months but not being having space to unpack your suitcase, and let’s do the opposite!

An easy way to do this is to make some sections with your own clothes and shoes:

  • Items you will be packing with you to take on your own travels (this space in your closet will obviously be vacated)
  • Your out of season clothes, i.e. if you are traveling in the summer, move your sweaters and boots and warm pants into storage boxes that will fit under the bed or in an attic or storage space in your home
  • Move any clothing that will stay in the closet towards the back (and even place them in hanging garment bags if you have them so they do not collect dust)
  • Provide at least 10 hangers per guest in the cleared spaces and have a goal to make enough space in the closet for each guest to be able to hang up a few long items like dresses or coats and some shorter items like shirts and suits
  • Get inspired to clean out your closet with some creative storage solutions at popular stores like The Container Store and Ikea. You may already have some boxes and baskets that you can repurpose to streamline your home. (*Note: SabbaticalHomes is not partnered with Ikea or The Container Store.)

8. Stock up the Bathroom

Stock up the Bathroom Section Image. Photo of a stack of clean towels.

Leaving simple toiletries like toilet paper, soap, shampoo and conditioner within reach in a bathroom or powder room is a welcome gesture for your new guests. While they will eventually stock up with their own, it is thoughtful to have something waiting for them when they first arrive.

It is also thoughtful to provide a hair dryer and any other niceties you might appreciate in a bathroom when checking into a welcoming hotel.

You may choose to purchase a new set of towels specifically for your guest or just put out a clean set you already have. Be sure to have extra hand towels and wash cloths set out so guests know where to find them

9. Put Fresh Linens on the Beds

In the bedrooms, put fresh linens on the beds and make the beds so they look welcoming.  An important part of your tenant move-in checklist is to gather extra sheets, pillows and blankets and leave them in an easy to find place so your tenants can feel comfortable adjusting to their personalized sleeping patterns.

If your tenants are staying in your home with children, set out any items you may have like a portable crib or small air mattress for little ones who might need to sleep near mom and dad for a few nights.

10. Stock the Kitchen with some Staples

Stock the Kitchen Section Image. Photo of a small bowl of olive oil..

One wonderful thing about staying in a home rather than a hotel is that your guests can make their own meals. You may already have a fairly stocked pantry or you may have tried to use up some of that food before leaving on your own travels.

Either way, think about providing your tenant some basics like coffee, tea, olive oil, vinegar, spices, some dried pasta and a few canned goods so your new tenants do not have to stock up on everything to cook a meal.

It is even more thoughtful to provide some refreshments like a few bottles of water in the refrigerator and some quick snacks in the pantry or refrigerator for hungry travelers as they first arrive.

‘How to’ provides our audience with tips on subjects that are most relevant to travel, aiding any question and/or concern one may have throughout their experience. We strive for each individual to enjoy their travels, especially when it comes to foreign situations. Let us know what you think! Connect with us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest.