How to Continually Improve as a Landlord by Using a Move-Out Survey [With Sample!]

by | BiggerPockets.com

Tennis professional Venus Williams once said, “The day I’m not improving is the day I hang up the racket.” Therefore, the final item in our Move-Out Packet includes a survey for the tenants to fill out that asks specific questions like:

  • How would you rate the service you received from us?
  • How would you rate the quality of service you received while renting your home in regard to handymen and contractors?
  • How would you rate your overall experience with us?
  • What is your overall impression of the home you rented?
  • What did you like most about the home you rented from us?
  • What did you like least about the home you rented from us?
  • Do you have any suggestions for improvements we could make to the home?
  • Would you rent from us again or refer others to us in the future?

Related: 4 Steps to Pre-Screen Prospective Tenants Over the Phone

Questions like these make it easy for the tenant to answer honestly and will either validate a job well done or show you areas where you need improvement. Either way, your tenants are your “customers,” and while the motto “The Customer is Always Right” definitely does not apply to tenants, their insight into the home and the way you operate your business is extremely valuable. We should always be striving to improve our business, and the survey is a good way to hold your feet to the fire. The more we can improve our business, the more efficient we become, the happier our tenants will be, and the more cash flow we can potentially produce. We’d call that a win-win-win.

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It may seem like a small thing, but having a solid rental application is the first step in finding great tenants. Since BiggerPockets is all about helping you succeed in real estate investing, we’ve put together a complimentary Rental Application for you to use. Download it today and go find some great tenants!

Click Here For Your Free Rental Application

Move-Out Survey Sample

Related: 13 Things Tenants Don’t Understand About the Rental Process

Streamlining Your Tenant Management

Remember, everything you include in the Move-Out Packet is there for a specific purpose:

  1. You want the rental returned to move-in ready condition by the tenant so you can move on with as little hassle and turnover time as possible.
  2. You want to reduce questions, confusion, or misunderstandings as to how the move-out process works.
  3. You want to reduce the temptation for bad or lazy tenant behavior at move-out.
  4. Lastly, with the survey you provide for your tenants to complete, you want to know in which areas the tenants were happy and in which areas you can improve on both the administrative side and the property side.

[This article is an excerpt from Brandon Turner’s The Book on Managing Rental Properties.]

Do you use a move-out survey? If so, is it similar to the one above?

Let me know with a comment!

About Author

Brandon Turner

Brandon Turner (G+ | Twitter) spends a lot of time on BiggerPockets.com. Like... seriously... a lot. Oh, and he is also an active real estate investor, entrepreneur, traveler, third-person speaker, husband, and author of "The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No (and Low) Money Down", and "The Book on Rental Property Investing" which you should probably read if you want to do more deals.

4 Comments

  1. Kevin Childers

    If I was a tenant and had a survey to fill out, it would go in file 13. One of my pet peeves is having to answer questions about a service that the person or persons giving to me should already know the answer to. A survey is wasting my time and energy that I could be using on other things. If they have a question about their service, call me and I’ll let them know point blank how I feel about it. I never have and never will be one to beat around the bush about things. If you don’t want to know my honest answer, don’t ask the question. If you do want my honest answer ask me in person, not by way of a piece of paper. That’s like saying hey, I want your honest opinion but I’m afraid to ask you for it in person.

    Not trying to sound like a jerk, just the way I view surveys in general.

  2. Nicollette Roth

    My last rental residence was managed by a property manager. When I moved out, they had a form that they used to collect my forwarding information and it had a few survey questions on it. Basically, what suggestions would you give us and why are you moving. And, I had the ability to just not answer. But, I actually appreciated that they gave me an opportunity to voice my issues. If I was the owner of the property, I would be interested in knowing why my tenants were leaving. If you have a good tenant, the whole point is to try to keep them in the property as long as possible and reduce turn-over right?

    The sole reason that I was leaving was that the rent kept increasing year over year, at a rate faster than the market was bearing at the time. I was honest with them that that is why I was leaving. I was also frank with the fact that I would have stayed if they hadn’t kept jacking the rent up. As it was, I lived in their property for about 2.5 years, maintained the property like I owned it, and the most they ever spent on the property was replacing the kitchen sink (probably $100, if that). Maybe I think I’m more important than I am, but I believe that the information I left was valuable feedback for them.

    • Dan Heuschele

      You sound like a great tenant but replacing a kitchen sink is much more than $100 even when the work is performed by the handyman and not the plumber. Kitchen sinks cost more than $100. In my area a handyman is $25 to $35 an hour and most have a 2 hour minimum. Plumbers start at around $85/hour. The landlord should expect things to fail and need to be replaced. They should never charge their good tenants above market rent. Sounds like your landlord was trying to leverage that moving takes work/time to get above market rent and you were justified finding a better landlord.

      • Nicollette Roth

        I didn’t explain it well… They didn’t replace the kitchen sink. They only replaced the faucet portion.

        I hear you on the minimum time frames and costs for plumbers, but this was the Property Management company’s handyman, who took about 15 minutes to install a new faucet. In fact, the guy didn’t even end up buying it for my rental unit; he just had one laying around in his service van! It was definitely no more than $100. 🙂

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