General Landlording & Rental Properties

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Kosh Vokter
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Tenants wanting keys day before lease start

Kosh Vokter
Posted Jan 27 2022, 22:35

Tenant requested that they receive keys 5pm the day before the official lease start date. They wanted to move in and get a head start moving on Friday 5pm, since the actual lease start date is a Saturday. I would be open to it, but want to make sure there won't be any liability problems. The renters insurance would begin on the day of move-in i.e. Saturday, should I ask the renters insurance to take effect on Friday instead of Saturday? 

How do you normally get the 1st month rent on the day of move-in?  Can I ask the rent to be deposited in the bank account on Friday so that it's deposited before I give them the keys instead of getting a check from them? 

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Rumen Mladenov
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  • Newark, DE
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Rumen Mladenov
  • Investor
  • Newark, DE
Replied Jan 27 2022, 23:14

I have no problem giving the keys a day or two before the lease start date, provided the utilities are transferred to the tenant's name as of the day they get the keys. If it is more than a day or two I usually prorate. Giving them the keys 5 pm on Friday would not really cost you anything, but it will help your tenants and create goodwill. 

As for move-in money - I must have 1st month and security deposit in good funds (cash, cashier's check, venmo/cash app/zelle) before I give the keys. I do not accept personal checks at move-in, learned that lesson the hard way... Asking them to deposit it to your bank account on Friday comes with the risk that they may deposit a personal check made out to you that later bounces. 

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Nathan G.#1 All Forums Contributor
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Nathan G.#1 All Forums Contributor
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ModeratorReplied Jan 28 2022, 05:02

Make sure insurance coverage starts the day they move in so you're covered for liability. Other than that, I normally won't have a problem giving them the keys the night prior. If they're asking for a full day or multiple days, I'll make them pay prorated rent and utilities.

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Mike S.
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Mike S.
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  • Huntsville, AL
Replied Jan 28 2022, 05:28

My normal procedure is to meet at 5pm the day before to collect any remaining balances due, conduct walkthrough, and finalize the lease then give them the keys. 

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Adam Martin
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Adam Martin
  • Rental Property Investor
Replied Jan 28 2022, 06:47

I don’t consider them a tenant until I have deposit and first month which is often a couple weeks before move in. Almost always though I let tenants move in a few days early and usually I am the one offering.  The place is empty and I would rather someone be in there so it is not vacant and if they move in early the utilities are out of my name sooner.  Leases end last day of the month but start on the first so that creates a dilemma sometimes.  I’m renting 2 story sfhs and you just can’t efficiently move in a day so I usually offer it to them the weekend before the first.  We start on good terms and I’m probably working on the first and don’t want to have to take off to deliver keys.  I did have tenants early on that kept pushing the date up and before I knew it they had me pinned on 2 weeks early for free and I had to take off work early to make it happen.  I won’t be that lenient again but a couple days is fine.  

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Joe Splitrock
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Joe Splitrock
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ModeratorReplied Jan 28 2022, 06:58

@Kosh Vokter I always collect first months rent and deposit in the form of a cashiers check. You could also do Venmo or Zelle. Otherwise ask for it several days ahead of time, so you know the check clears. There is still risk, so I would collect guaranteed funds for the first month (cashiers check, Zelle, Venmo). No big deal having them move in the day before, provided you have rent payment and they have switched over utilities. 

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Bruce Woodruff#3 All Forums Contributor
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Bruce Woodruff#3 All Forums Contributor
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Replied Jan 28 2022, 07:14

After all I've heard lately about cashiers checks I would limit it to cash or Venmo/etc. Cashiers checks are not like cash any more, they are more similar to regular checks. Ask your bank. Or even get a regular check several days in advance and go to their bank and cash it.

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Chad Hale
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Chad Hale
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  • San Jose, CA
Replied Jan 28 2022, 08:15

@Kosh Vokter You could have them sign a one page addendum that says they are granted early access starting on DATE and TIME and are assuming all responsibilities as outlined in the lease agreement.

Broker CA (#01878782)

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Dena Puliatti
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Dena Puliatti
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  • Huntsville, AL
Replied Jan 28 2022, 10:23

I don't give keys early.  If they want to get a jump on moving, then they get to start the lease on the day they want to move in.  Too much liability with insurance.  

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Rick Albert
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Rick Albert
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Replied Jan 28 2022, 11:58

I would do it as everyone has mentioned but I would also have them sign something that states you are giving them the keys early and not liable for anything. The last thing you need is a trip and fall incident before the lease starts.