Tip #42

Specify Move-in/Move-out Times in the Lease

Written on May 19, 2014 by , updated on June 11, 2014

Specify-Move-TimesA great way to maximize rental revenue is to ensure that your property is never vacant.

Vacancy is the ultimate profit killer. (tweetable?)

I always try to create back-to-back leases so that someone is paying rent every day of the year. As soon as one lease ends, I want the next one to start the next day.

What About Turnovers?

Between tenancies, I have an obligation to make any necessary repairs and ensure the premises are thoroughly cleaned for the next tenants.

It’s a lot to handle when I have back-to-back leases. The trick is buffering enough time to accomplish everything, and not waiting until the last minute for something that can be done during a tenancy.

For example, a door knob can be fixed while tenants are living there. However, a thorough, floor-to-ceiling cleaning can only be done when the place is empty.

Specify Move-in/Move-out Times

To minimize the time a unit sits vacant while still leaving me enough time to turn the property over, I specify move-in and move-out times in the lease.

I include the following “Term” clause in all my leases:

Move-in/move-out times are not that uncommon. Hotels specify check-in/check-out times and charge by the night, rather than by the day. Likewise, my renters have access to the property every day of the lease term, except that the first (or last) day lease is simply shortened when you specify a move-in/move-out time.

To be honest, it seems like some tenants even prefer to have a “check-in/check-out” time. It’s a familiar concept, and it helps them schedule their move more efficiently if they have a timeframe to work within.

If I don’t specify a time, they always end up asking “how early can we move in?

28 Hours

The 40 Minute War

The 40 Minute War

Assuming that my tenants don’t holdover the property, creating this time buffer guarantees that I have at least 28 hours to replace carpet, paint rooms, changes locks, clean, etc, without losing any rent.

If I’m smart about scheduling contractors in advance, I can accomplish most anything in 28 hours. After all, the Anglo-Zanzibar War only took 40 minutes.

Give it a try and add move-in/move-out times to your lease. You’ll be glad you did.

photo credit: Express Monorail via cc
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65 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Eva

    I leased for a6 month period and now the tenant is refusing to leave or pay rent. Can I just take the police to get them out or will ihaveto spend time taking them to court? The property is in indiana.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Eva,

      Please don’t perform a self-help eviction (changing the locks yourself or shutting off utilities). You will get in serious trouble if you take the law into your own hands.

      To remove a tenant who’s lease has been terminated due to a violation or non-payment, you still need to go to eviction court. Then once you’ve won the judgement, the sheriff will come to remove the tenant by force.

      You should read this article: http://www.landlordology.com/indiana-landlord-tenant-laws/

  • Ellie

    What if your tenant does not meet the move out deadline, and is still moving their possessions out and cleaning for a few days after their lease has expired?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Ellie

      That’s called a “holdover” and you can charge them for it and for any other damages they cause – like prohibiting a new tenant from moving in.

      I suggest charging them a prorated daily amount based on the monthly rent price and withholding that amount from their deposit.

      Please know that not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice. That’s just want I would do in your situation.

      Also, if you inform the tenant that they are being charged daily, they might hurry up.

    • Catherine

      If tenant moves out on 31st but has paid the next month at beginning of lease (first & LAST months rent) does LL pay back that last month rent while not occupied?

  • Iris

    I’m in the process of buying a house. I’m renting an apartment. We were supposed to do the closing in the house on the 15th of this month so I gave my landlord my 30 days notice. I just found out there is a problem with the land where the house is so we won’t be closing on the 15th. My husband is thinking about cancelling the deal. Can I tell my landlord that we are not leaving? Can he forced us to leave? We don’t have where to go. Please advise.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Iris,

      I suggest contacting your landlord immediately. If he/she has not already signed a lease with someone else, your landlord should be okay with letting you stay another month (or however long).

      But since you already gave notice, your lease will terminate on the date you previously discussed – unless you do something to change it.

      Just work it out with your landlord, and be apologetic about the situation.

      If it’s too late, and he/she has already signed a lease with a new tenant, then you’ll have to move out. If you refuse to, the landlord will file an eviction action with the court, and sue you for any damages (which might include the loss of the new tenant). Once the judgement is awarded, the sheriff will come to force you out of the house, and you’ll have a debt on your credit. So, I don’t recommend staying in a unit longer than you’re permitted to.

      Please know that this is just my understanding of the system as an experienced landlord. I’m not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. If you need to force your landlord’s hand, you should consult an attorney to research your legal rights.

  • Allen

    If as landlords, we all create leases that begin on the first day of the month and end on the last, how do renters make the transition? It seems like in that perfect (for us) world, they have to spend a night on the street with their belongings in a moving truck.

    I’m a first-time landlord and am trying to figure out best practices. This year I need a week of downtime for some serious work, but am writing leases for next year and trying to figure out what my applicants are supposed to do if they have to leave at 10am on the 31st and don’t have a place until the next day.

    It seems like this is handled in the field by landlords having a few days of flex, in virtually every case. I’m trying to reconcile that with this policy.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Allen,

      The transition is really for the landlord to figure out. And though most leases start on the 1st of the month, it’s common for leases to start on other days too. I never want any of my tenants to spend the night on the street, but they never do – not a single one of them. Most of the time, they just find a place with a lease that starts a few days before the end of our lease, so they have a few days to move. That’s typically what happens with my tenants. But sometimes, a tenant cuts it close, and they might have to stay with a friend, or in a hotel for one night – but that’s their choice.

      The bottom line is that my tenants are adults and they have to figure it out. If they want to stay a few extra days, and I have the ability to grant it to them, I will. But they rarely need it. It’s not uncommon for tenants to have to pay rent on two places for a few days while they transition.

      I always think the more specific you can make a lease, the better off everyone will be. Cheers.

  • Mike Richardson

    Aren’t you screwing the tenant out of 28 hours of rent that they paid for?

    • Lucas Hall

      A fixed term lease is an agreement from one point in time to another. There is no guarentee that a “month” within that lease is exactly a 30 days or whatever. If a resident wants to negotiate a half day proration, they could do that at the lease signing. Do you think a hotel is robbing from you when you check in at 2 and out by 10?

  • Diana

    Hello,
    My lease expires on June 1, does this mean I have to be out by May 31 and hand over keys by June 1 or do I have to pay for June and stay all of June therefore being able to move in July?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Diana,

      The “end date” on your lease is the last day that you can occupy the unit. You would need to turn in the keys that day, and be fully moved-out. If you stay in the unit even a day longer, the landlord could make you pay for any financial damages that your holdover causes.

  • Doris amaro

    Hi I’m a landlord and I have month to month least.my tenant give me 30 days notice,but it falls in the 15 … I can’t have none one move in that day ..can I make her pay for the entire month or not

  • Debbie

    my lease end on September 30, is this the day I move out or October 1, if so won’t I be charged for not moving on the 30th

  • Cassandra

    Hello !
    My lease began on September 22 2015 its 12 months shouldnt it end on September 22 2016 ?

    • Lucas Hall

      Not necessarily. Usually a landlord will prorate the first month to get it on a full-month schedule. But, on the other hand, your lease should say exactly when it ends.

  • Jennei

    If the land Lord said I could move in this Wednesday and my lease starts the first of October do I have to pay this month.??

  • Nicole

    My lease began on October 25th and the end states September 30th. That is not a full 12 month lease?? What should the end date be? I think they short changed me by a month. Thanks!

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Nicole,

      The end date is whatever is stated in your lease. If it’s not a full 12 months, then you signed a lease that isn’t a full 12 months. There’s nothing wrong with that. How did they short change you? Did you pay in full for 12 months?

  • Jessica

    My apartment complex is charging me from the 20th of Sept til October 1 but I have not signed a lease or have gotten keys to the apartment. I am signing the lease officially tomorrow Sept. 28, 2016. Is he legally allowed to charge me from the 20th even though no lease or keys were given.

  • Jon Larkins

    Hello my lease expired after a year and then went to a month to month option. We asked to stay 3 more months and the landlord agreed. 3 days later the landlord emailed me and said he spoke to soon his son is moving in and we have to be out on the 30th. Wasn’t to happy about it but what ever the landlords are kinda jerks anyway. So the 30th hits and I get a call from the son saying he is going to move his stuff in now while I’m moving my things out. I explained to him that once my things are out I need to clean the place. Doesn’t matter he proceeds to move his things in while I’m moving my family out. Long story short since he refused to give me time to clean the place can a cleaning bill still be assets to me. Son is property mngr as well.

  • Victoria

    Hi, my tenancy commences on the 30th November, please tell me what date should it expire. I am a yearly tenant. Thank you.

  • april

    I am going to rent from a friend but I in California and I moved in my dresser on November 12,2016 is that the official moved in date?

  • Adele

    This inigsht’s just the way to kick life into this debate.

  • Meranda Bryson

    I turned my keys in a week before my lease was up. I put in my 30 actually I gave them 45 days notice. I paid until the end of my lease and do not expect the week of rent back. But they called me now saying I am being charged 1650 for an early termination fee. Oh and they won’t give me the keys back to return a week later because one they have them they are unable to give them back. This is in Oregon is it legal?

  • Ashley

    My lease end May 2017 am I still paying for the month of May and then moving out by June2017? Or do I submit my 30 days notice April?

  • vero

    two month before the end of my lease i gave my notice. now at the end of april i should beleaving because of illness I am not able to move and ask to stay one more month. the landlord refuse saying that he rented out already the appartment. do i have a recourse to stay for 30 days

  • Suzette Sutton

    I am renting an apartment. “The lease terms will begin on October 01,2016” . The tenant told me she would not be moving in until the 3rd, YET showed up October 01,2016 at 9 AM, demanding her money back because the place wasn’t ready. By 3:00 PM, October 01, I took photos of a ready to move in apartment and texted them to tenant. I also have a text the night before move in informing her she can move in after 5:00 PM on October 1st (but not part of the lease)

    She is now taking me to small claims court claiming “the premises was not ready for occupancy on the date promised therefore in breach of the lease agreement”

    I never specified a time, but the apartment was ready by 3:00 move in date. Please help

  • Shavon Turner

    I giving my landlord a 30 day notice which I have to move out on the 17th of June, how much will i need to pay.

  • Robbie

    My daughters are renting their first apartments, separate units in the same complex. They were “approved” several weeks ago, pd their app fee and security deposit at that time, and received a letter showing how much they would owe at move-in. But now, after asking for weeks if they could come by to sign a lease, the leasing agent tells them that the manager says their application is still in the review process, they have not been officially approved. They have to be out of their current place by July 16th (the date they had been told they could move into this new complex). But still no lease to be signed. Manager conveyed the message through the leasing agent that no leases are signed more than 30 days prior to move-in. True? Thank you

  • Willie

    Lease room and the lease is up today. Roommate refuse to move out. Okay I owe 600 on deposit. Willing to give half and other when He moves his belongings. Is there anything I can do. Have New roommate moving in tomorrow.

  • Jeff Spratlin

    my renters lease was up on the 4th of july , i told him i was not renewing the lease . told him on the 17th he had to be out by the 28th . It doesn’t look like that was going to happen , now what do i do.
    I need help thanks

  • Elizabeth Parker

    I started renting a home in February 2017 on an 8 month lease. I’m curious as to when my lease would be up, I feel like my landlord is trying to extend our lease beyond 8 months.

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