Tip #23: Build a Tenant File Checklist
Whether it’s doing your taxes, collecting unpaid rent, filing an eviction, or defending a lawsuit for injury or discrimination, what you have — or don’t have, in your files will decide the outcome.
Here’s a good way to organize your tenant files, so you are sure to have the information you need, when you need it:
The signed, completed application
The screening reports
Notes from all reference checks– personal, employment and emergency contact verifications
The signed lease
Copy of the first check/s
The signed move-in checklist and any amendments, along with photos, videos (or links to retrieve them)
All correspondence, including phone messages, repair requests, notes of conversations
Record of each month’s payments
Tenant updates, including lease amendments, updated credit screens (long-term tenants), updated employment, reference, contact info
Copies of restraining orders, divorce decrees, police reports
Move-out Checklist and Photos/Video
Security deposit reconciliation
Much of this information is confidential so make sure you keep it private, and safe.
Kudos if you calendar 90 days before move out — so you can take steps to retain your tenant before they start to look around. Remember not to shelve files where there’s unpaid debt — you have years to collect it.
Did we leave anything out? What else do you keep in your tenant files? Comment below if you have more suggestions.
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American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts for landlords on products and services related to your rental investment, including real estate forms, tenant debt collection, tenant background checks, insurance and financing. Find out more at www.joinaaoa.org.
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