Stop! You`re Doing Too Much for Your Tenants

by Wallace Gibson, CPM
HeadacheOne of the quickest ways to burn out as a landlord is to DO TOO MUCH. Many landlords think they have to do EVERYTHING whereas they really only need to do a few things – and do them well.

When turning over a property to a tenant for the first time, landlords fail to have the property professionally cleaned, the carpets professionally cleaned and the yard professionally cleaned up and maintained from DAY ONE of the tenancy.

By establishing the benchmark for these conditions AND having the bills as documentation, the landlord does not get worn out doing these items themselves AND the same service firms can be used when the tenants vacate to RETURN the property in the same or similar condition.

In my move-out check-out letter, I provide the names and contact information of these 3 vendors in case the residents do not have the time to perform all of these tasks themselves. I provide a 2 page cleaning check list AND move-out/key return instructions.

Many professional landlords indicate they do the cleaning because they can’t find a cleaning service who will move the refrigerator.

I have that on my cleaning guidelines and because I recommend the cleaning firm to over 60 potential clients ANNUALLY, they perform according Happy faceto my guidelines ” the cleaning gets done, I have the deposit to return to the residents or to use for late fees or other charges, AND the property is properly maintained.
OH!!….if the departing residents attempt to do the work themselves and it is NOT done correctly, my lease provides for a 20% markup/service charge if I have to have the work done and charge their deposit….a win-win.
Wallace Gibson, CPM, is the owner/broker of Gibson Management Group, Ltd., a full-service property management company offering 45 years of professional property management services for investment property owners in Central Virginia * Charlottesville, Fluvanna, Louisa and Greene counties. Her firm’s website is and she blogs at
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