Renting Out a House for the First Time? Use This Landlord Checklist


Things can get pretty scary as a new landlord, especially when you’re renting out a house for the first time. Some landlords confess that they went through a lot of sleepless nights wondering if they had found the right tenants. Others can’t help but overthink if they have taken care of all the legalities and other seemingly endless details.

Naturally, you want everything to fall neatly into place to avoid running into any troubles in the future, especially during the move-in day, right? So, what should a novice landlord do to avoid any hiccups before, during, and after the Big Day? Simple. You need to have a landlord checklist!

Why Do You Need a Landlord Checklist?

It’s so easy to lose track of things, especially when you have heaps of things to do, most of which you’re doing for the first time. Thankfully, you can avoid getting into this situation if you have something to remind you of all the tasks you need to complete before the move-in day.

A general landlord checklist allows you to visualize what your major tasks are and helps identify what actions you need to do to accomplish your goals on time. Thus, this nifty tool can help you standardize processes, put a system in place, and stay organized so you can work smarter, not harder.

What Should Be Included in a Landlord Checklist?

A general checklist can be broken down into five basic categories: marketing and promotion, tenant screening, preparation of lease agreement, financial matters, and property preparation. Here are some items that you should typically include in your next landlord checklist.

Marketing and Promotion

  • Identify best platforms for advertising the property
  • Take high-quality photos of the property
  • Create promotional materials
  • Prepare for showings
  • Set open house date (if necessary)
  • Create a document with rental standards
  • Draft a sample questionnaire for potential tenants

Tenant Screening

  • Create a rental application form
  • Undertake a complete credit and background check
  • Get employment verification form
  • Get previous landlord verification form
  • Get copies of tenant IDs
  • If the potential tenant is an immigrant, check their legal status to determine their right to rent. Depending on where you live, this can go beyond identification and can include things like securing a copy of their passports, permanent resident cards, travel documentation, Right to Rent document from any immigration bureaus, or proof of registration as a legal citizen.

Lease Agreement Preparation

  • Explain all policies and procedures to the tenant, including landlord’s right of entry to the property, agreements for maintenance, accountability to damages to property, limitations on tenancy, prohibition of illegal activities and other disruptive practices, and rights to keep pets.
  • Discuss the amount of rent and the terms for security deposit and other applicable fees
  • Ask the tenant to sign the lease agreement (including any addendums, if necessary)
  • Clearly indicate the start and end dates of the lease

Financial Considerations

  • Create a system for issuing and collecting payments
  • Collect the security deposit
  • Secure the entire first month’s rent
  • Ask renter to purchase renter’s insurance
  • Create a system for returning deposits

Property Preparation

  • Perform routine checkups and repair any damage to the property
  • Secure an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
  • Clean the unit
  • Change door locks
  • Transfer all utilities to tenant’s name (if applicable)

Note: Some tenants may also have special requests (e.g., disability accommodation requests, wall repainting, pet accommodation, etc.) so be prepared to deal with it. If the request is based on need, existing laws may compel you to follow through, but if not, you can decide whether or not to grant their request.

Move-In Checklist

In addition to the items listed above, you may also need a move-in checklist to make sure nothing goes wrong during the Big Day. Here are some information that you’ll need when creating a move-in checklist.

  • Tenant’s name and address
  • Move-in and move-out dates
  • Property inspection results (upon move-in and move-out), including photos and videos documenting the condition of the unit
  • Safety inspection results (upon move-in and move-out) proving that the unit has functional smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems.
  • Tenant and landlord’s signatures

After everything has been successfully taken care of, it’s time to officially welcome your new tenants into their new space. While this step is not required, going the extra mile will instantly make them feel more at home and set the tone of your tenant-landlord relationship. You don’t have to do much, either. A warm welcome note or a simple welcome package will do the trick.

In addition to formally receiving your new tenants, your welcome note should also include some essential information about living in your property, which may include the following:

  • How and where to pay rent
  • Setting up utilities
  • Reporting maintenance issues
  • Trash disposal and parking information
  • The nearest restaurants, convenience stores, and service stations
  • How to contact you in the event of an emergency

Renting Out a House for the First Time? You Need Help – Fast!

Investing in rental properties comes with handsome payoffs, but unfortunately, not everyone is cut out to become a landlord. Are you one of them? Don’t worry if you’re not. Chances are, there is a credible property management firm in your area that is willing to take on the job.

Managing rental properties can be especially challenging, especially if you’re new in the industry or are not keen about taking care of the daily operation of the business. If this describes you, you should seriously consider entrusting your business to a credible and dedicated property management company like Tenant Planet, Inc.

Tenant Planet, Inc. is not your typical property management firm. We like to think of ourselves as the “Modern Landlords”. We don’t adhere to the antiquated approach that most of our competitors use and we don’t believe in charging our clients to pay for services they do not use, either. Instead, we strive to provide a new standard of service for each of our clients by using modern technology and working with a new breed of capable and dedicated team members.

We want to see you succeed and we’ll do everything we can to make sure you do! After all, your success is our success.

Interested in what we have to offer? To learn more about us and what we can do to help you on your project, please feel free to Request a Proposal. Got questions or comments? Email us at

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