Newbie here. Question on timeline for signing lease.

8 Replies

Hello all. I am new here and we are buying our first rental property. I am absorbing all I can and taking notes on the whole application process but have hit a snag. The timeline from when notifying an applicant they are approved and signing of the lease and handing over keys.

In one reference they suggest:

Notify applicant

Review and sign lease as soon as possible requiring 1st month and security deposit then.

Wait 2 weeks, then give keys to move in (to allow payment to clear) and do condition walk through.

In another reference they suggest:

Notify applicant

Require a holding deposit within 48 hrs

Review and sign lease on move in date requiring 1st months rent (holding fee turns into security deposit) l. Do property condition walk through and give keys.

Which is best and why (or some alternate timeline?

Please and thank you!! :)

Cash is preferred to collect FMR and deposit. It makes no difference the process steps as long as you have all their money in your hand and lease signed before they get the keys. Every lease has a start or move in date. Tenants get the keys on that date never in advance.

So I should add the home is vacant. Not sure if that changes advice. I get that if there was a tenant I would be signing a lease before the current tenants move out. So it sounds like no other reason to delay between signing and handing over keys so long as everything else is in order. I thought we shouldn't accept cash though, only money order or cashier's check. I'm not in an area of high crime but you just never know and I wouldn't want that much cash on me with people knowing about it. 

Hi @Michelle Bottorff , I'm not a landlord just yet but I work for them. Here is their policy:

Tenant writes down a move in date on the application. (We don't typically accept more than a month out.)

After they get approved (takes about 2 business days), I schedule a lease signing date right away. The sooner the better to prevent "buyers remorse" or maybe they've applied for multiple places. They know they can forfeit the application fee anytime before they sign the lease if they find a better place.

With that said, at lease signing we only accept certified checks or money orders for the 1st month rent and security deposit. Personal checks are allowed every month after that. Right after they finish signing the lease, I give them the supers phone number for them to schedule a specific time to meet with him on the day they selected to start their lease. (Sometime before that the locks are changed)

The day they selected for their lease to start is the day the go pick up the keys with the super and do a final walk through to make sure everything is okay. (If they change their mind and want to pick it up any day sooner then their lease start date, they get charged a prorated amount). Specifically we only allow key pick up on weekdays (bc that's when super is on duty) but they can do the actual move any day they want.

Lease gets returned to landlord for them to sign as well. (There's two original copies of the lease, 1 for tenant and 1 for landlord). 

Long winded but hope it helps as a detailed guide.

In addition to a few of the above comments, I require proof of renters insurance as well as making sure any utilities (paid by the tenants) are put in their name before they get keys on move in date.  I never give out keys before lease start date and if so I prorate the additional days.  Always do a move in and move out walkthrough and make sure it’s documented and signed by all parties.  Never allow anyone to move in without getting that first month rent and security deposit.  Screening tenants thoroughly is of utmost importance for your rental business.  

Good reminder on the renters insurance. I already had in my notes about proof of transferring utilities. So sounds like whether lease signing being the same day as move in will be more dependent on what their needs are. Thank you so much for everyone's fast responses!