7 Tips For Showing A Rental Property With Tenants

By Alicia Geigel on December 7, 2023

In the world of real estate, there are times when you may have to show a rental property while it’s occupied. This is not always the most comfortable and convenient of scenarios, but sometimes, it does have to happen. Whether your tenants don’t want to renew their lease or you want to rent the property at a higher price, there are a number of reasons why you might have to show future tenants your property while it is still occupied.

Keep reading for tips on how to show a property currently occupied by tenants!

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1. Communicate Your Plans First: Before you even put your property up for sale, be sure to communicate your future plans with your tenants first. Though their lease may only be for a year, they may expect to renew it after it ends and may be shocked when you candidly mention that there will be other people viewing the property to rent it in the future. First and foremost, ask your tenants if they have a free moment to talk. Once you agree on a time, take the time to explain to your tenants that you plan on renting out the property to others, perhaps for several reasons, such as a rent increase or a future renovation project that requires them to leave. They may be surprised by this, so be prepared to have empathy and compassion toward their feelings. Once you get this introductory conversation out of the way, you can move on and begin to arrange showings.

2. Coordinate with Your Tenant’s Schedule: The most important aspect of showing an occupied property to potential renters is not inconveniencing the tenants themselves. As you arrange showings, you must keep the satisfaction of your tenants in mind and do your best to be as transparent, understanding, and flexible as possible. As your tenant or tenants the best times that work for them in regards to property showings. This could be when they’re at work, when they are out of town, etc. Regardless of the circumstance, just make sure that the showings don’t conflict with anything your tenant may have going on. Kasia Manolas of Avail suggests saying something along the following to approach the subject of scheduling, “Hi X, I need to show your unit to prospective tenants this weekend. Do any of these times work for you: Saturday at 10:00am or 1:30pm, or Sunday at 9:00am or 12:30pm? Please let me know at your earliest convenience.”

3. Provide Ample Notice: Even though you and your tenant may have had a conversation that established a specific schedule for showings, you are still legally required to give them at least 24 to 48 hours’ notice before a showing occurs. Once you have your time slot established with your tenants and a schedule of prospective tenants lined up, contact your tenants via phone and email to inform them of the scheduled showings. Doing so via phone and email gives both you and the tenant a concrete, written confirmation of the showing schedule, and allows your tenant to have multiple means of being notified in case they argue that there was no notice.

4. Kindly Ask Tenants to Clean Up: When showing an occupied property, the last thing you want to do is inconvenience your tenants more by asking them to go out of their way and clean their property. However, a messy or dirty property could lower your chances of securing a prospective tenant in the future, so it is worth asking your tenant now to avoid problems in the long run. The property may be already tidy and clean, which is a plus in your case. If it needs some cleaning up, kindly ask your tenant to do their best and clean up the place before the showings. They may not have the time or may not have the best ability to do so, which in that case, it would be beneficial to pay for a cleaning service to do the job.

5. Keep Showings Short: Property showings should take 15 to 20 minutes max. Out of respect for your current tenants, keep your showings short, within that 15 to 20-minute window, and follow up with the prospective tenants if they have further questions or potentially missed anything during the showing. Having quick showings shows your tenant that you respect their time and their space.

6. Avoid “For Rent” Signs and Lock Boxes: While you may be compelled to put up a sign for your rental property, avoid doing so. Having a “for rent” sign on your property may lead people to knock or wander around the property, which could make the tenants uncomfortable. The same goes for lock boxes. While it is definitely easier to put up a lock box and not attend every showing, lock boxes can encourage last-minute showings, which can be disrespectful to tenants.

7. Properly Thank the Tenant: Having random people enter your home can be inconvenient and uncomfortable, regardless if you rent or not. It takes a lot of compliance and understanding for a tenant to go through this, and it is in your best interest to properly thank them once the showings have concluded. Gift the tenants a gift card to a retailer or restaurant with a thank you card for their cooperation, or better yet, give them a rent abatement for the inconvenience.

Showing an apartment with tenants can take effort to effectively coordinate your showings with the tenants schedule and comfortability. However, if you are transparent and communicative throughout the process, your tenant will likely cooperate and make everything go smoothly.

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