Would you let tenant move small items in early?

18 Replies

Lease is starting November 1st. 

Property is sitting vacant and tenant already paid first, last and security to hold it 25 days.  They would like to know if they can move small items in around end of October. 

Would you let them or not because technically lease does not start till November 1st and they are not paying rent till November 1st..

I wouldn't personally mind but I wouldn't give them the keys until lease starts

What would be the downside in letting them move in things early? You have first, last, and security. Even if they actually move in, I don't see the downside.

As long as they have paid everything needed for move in, I see no problem with it.  The only issue might be liability for theft if they don't have renters insurance in place yet.

Nothing wrong with common decency.

If I were going to let them move any property in, I would have them sign an addendum starting the lease earlier and have them show proof of renters insurance and utilities in their name on that earlier start date to cover it, even if I didn't charge them extra for rent.  Even though I'd already have security and first month's rent, I'd still be nervous letting them in  early for any reason without changing the start date on the lease as what if their things were stolen or damaged, etc., or someone gets hurt moving them in before lease officially starts.  And if they have a key to move things in, they are likely moving in early, anyway.   

Utilities is a good point that @Lynn M.   Made.  I required the tenant to show confirmation numbers from the utilities when I allowed it.  But, I would always do that anyway.   

I would not be holding the unit. I do not hold unless they are paying for rent. Obviously if they are paying for rent than they can move in. If they needed to move in early than why aren't they taking possession of the unit sooner.

@Nate M.  I don't see anything wrong with the concept. One thing my lawyer told me to do when I asked him this question. Draft a quick addendum that says the rent for the property FOR STORAGE PURPOSES ONLY begins on (date they can start moving stuff in) and will be an extra $10, and this extra period is covered under the same terms and conditions as the primary lease except for cost and occupancy. 

That lease should already include covering the requirement of having renter's insurance, transferring utilities, etc.

This is necessary to cover liability in both directions.

I will allow them to move in a few days early, paying a per diem.  I don't want them entering the property or storing things there if they are not officially renting the unit - and paying rent.

I have allowed someone to store some items in the garage before, but I prefer not to.

I would and have allowed tenants to move in a few days early if the unit is vacant.   I make the lease start on the day they move in and add a note stating the specific dates that are free.

That said, I would have never done what you did.  For one, no way will I hold a unit for most of a month.  I would have told them they were accepted and we can sign a lease a few days ahead of time and they can move in then.  I would have also told them I will continue to market the unit and try to get a tenant sooner than Nov 1.  If I find a qualified tenant who will move in sooner, I will give them the right of first refusal.  Say I find someone to move in on the 15th.  I would offer them to sign a lease and move in on the 15th.  If they don't want to, I would let the second applicant have it.

Also, when I sign a lease, I expect them to give me the full deposit and first month's rent in cash or equivalent.  NO CHECKS!  I give them the keys.  So I would have never done all these steps this far in advance.  If we were, say about Oct 25th and the qualified and wanted it I would do a non-refundable hold agreement.  They pay me an amount equal to the deposit and I stop marketing the property.  Then, provided we sign a lease on the 1st, the hold deposit becomes the security deposit.  If they back out, I keep the hold deposit.

At this point, though, given what you've already done, I'd let them move in.  I would amend the lease giving them October free (see why I don't do this?) and they get the utilities in their name and I hand over the keys.  You're already committed to losing the rent for October, so you might as well have someone looking after the place.

I think ill let them move stuff in early, a few days early, I just wont give them the keys. I dont mind holding it a few weeks, still wrapping up the work on the house. new hvac unit is in and a few odds and ends yet to take care off...  I did go as far as asking to see their current house they rent from and they did not have a problem. I did do a walk thru of the current place they live in and it looked ok, first time I ever did that and it was kind of weird lol.

thanks everyone for the advice and input, I am still learning as a landlord, only been doing to for 3 years and just closed on my 4th property and really have learned alot.

my policy is if lease starts on say November 1, I will allow them to schedule the walk through up to 48 hours prior.

As long as the utilities has been switched over, lease been signed, all deposits and advanced rent paid, they are able to do the walk through 48 hours prior and get the keys and move in.

At lease signing as I discuss the agreement and terms I would stress to them they need to pin down the move date.  If its November 1 occupancy and their current lease runs out on October 31, they have a maximum of 48 hours to execute the move.  I encourage them to at least overlap by a full weekend in case rain, truck availability, or other factors impedes the move.  I would normally prorate a daily rent for however long they want minus the 48 hours freebie.  At times I have even waived it down to practically nothing like $5 a day just so they can enjoy a less stressful move.

I do as @Lynn M.  wrote. I start the lease a few days early so that utilities can be put in their name. Once utilities are switched and renter insurance is in place, I let them have keys; I don't want to be bothered for each little piece that are moving using a car. For a few days, I don't even worry about additional payment, but if it were a week or more that might change things. I offer it as a move in bonus if sorts. 

Now, if you are still working on the unit, then you might have the issue of stuff being "missing" or "damaged", so you might have to restrict placement if belongings to areas that won't be having work done. And that could also happen to YOUR tools and supplies that you might leave in the unit during that time. 

Everybody seems to have different ideas about this, so you'll sort of have to figure what will work for you. 

There is an advantage to allowing tenants to begin their move-in early... they are more likely not to be in a rush and therefore not as likely to cause damage to the unit when moving things in, especially furniture. It also builds good will from the start. We will allow a few days for this at no extra cost in rent, as a "move-in bonus." If they want more time, we do it as prorated rent. The tenancy begins then and that's the date on the rental agreement. Utilities, renters insurance, etc. in place.

I wouldn’t mind either since the end of October isn't that far away from November the 1st. As long as you still have the keys on hand, I don't see why there could be problems arising from them moving some small things much earlier. This could also help to create a positive impression of yourself as the landlord and encourage a healthy relationship between you and them.

Wow! Somebody resurrected an old post!

Originally posted by @Jimmy S. :

Lease is starting November 1st. 

Property is sitting vacant and tenant already paid first, last and security to hold it 25 days.  They would like to know if they can move small items in around end of October. 

Would you let them or not because technically lease does not start till November 1st and they are not paying rent till November 1st..

 No. They either have possession of the property or they don't. The day you issue keys and the lease starts is the day they can move in whatever they like. Not a moment before.

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