Sometimes your tenants want to leave the apartment and don’t want to renew the lease agreement. The reason could be anything. For example, the tenants may need to live in a different city, seek a cheaper option, or don’t like your apartment, etc.

Whatever the reasons are, as a landlord, you also want to make sure that the apartment or home does not become vacant after a tenant leaves.

On the other hand, the existing tenant has family members and privacy concerns. They may not like strangers coming inside the apartment and their living rooms.

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But as a landlord, if you can’t show the apartment to new people, you may end up with a vacancy. At least for a couple of weeks or a month.

From the above explanations, there is no doubt that there is a conflict in showing an occupied apartment to prospective tenants.

At this point, you might be thinking of the following 4 questions:

  1. What is the solution?
  2. Should you show your occupied apartment?
  3. Do you need to wait until the existing tenant leaves?
  4. How can you secure the property so it does not become vacant?

In this article, I will answer all these questions and explain the steps you need to follow. So your tenant won’t get scared and you get a new tenant as soon as the old one leaves. Also, I will explain why it’s more beneficial to show an occupied property than a vacant one. Shall we proceed?

Let’s get started.

Should you show the occupied apartment to the prospective tenants?

Property manager showing an occupied apartment to a prospective tenant

As a landlord. you have the right to show your property to the prospective tenants until this is not prohibited in the lease agreement. So, you can show the apartment while it’s occupied (assuming there is no restriction in the agreement). Even based on jurisdictions, you have the right to show your rental property.

But there are proper & professional ways to do it. Also, you must adhere to ethical considerations. I will discuss more on these considerations as I go through this article.

Proper & professional ways of showing an occupied property

Things are not as complicated as you may think. Here I will show you a couple of simple steps that you can do to show your currently occupied rental property to the prospective tenants.

Step 1: Discuss with your existing tenant regarding the next tenant screening and showing their occupied property

Discussing with tenant

Finding the right tenant can be a bit time-consuming and it may need multiple interactions. This is not such a thing where you bring one prospect and he agrees to live or get selected by you. That’s why your first step should be to frankly discuss with the existing tenant. So he/she will know what to expect.

But if you send them a notice as the first step and bring strangers to your own schedule might cause issues and definitely conflict with the tenant’s expectations.

Step 2: Ask for their flexible time to visit

Ask about their flexible time

Instead of your own schedule or the prospective tenants, ask for the existing tenant’s flexible time to go inside. It indicates that you value their time and privacy. The tenant might be more flexible and he/she will be open to your suggestions. Because you value what matters to them.

Not to mention, there is a chance of rescheduling. Because there are three parties who have to be available at the same time. Who knows the prospect may have difficulties at that time.

So when fixing a time, be sure to communicate well with the prospect as well.

Step 3: Inspect to see if the property needs cleaning before showing the prospect

Property inspection

It may not be applicable for every property especially one that is already clean enough. However, if your property needs cleanup and enhancement, do it accordingly. This will make your property more attractive to prospective tenants. But don’t charge the existing tenant for this cleanup & enhancement. As a landlord, you should bear this cost.

Also, the existing tenant will like this extra value even if they are going to leave the home in the near future.

That should be it! These are the three main steps landlords should follow when showing an occupied apartment to prospective tenants.

Showing vacant Vs occupied property – which one is the best

Vacant vs occupied property

There is debate whether you should show a vacant or occupied property to the prospective tenants. Both options have some advantages and disadvantages.

As a property maintenance contractor, before giving our opinion I want to point out those advantages and disadvantages first. This will help you to easily consume our take.

Showing a vacant property to prospective tenants

You don’t need any discussion and permission.Prospects will underestimate the property value.
Time flexibility to show around.Hard to imagine the attractiveness of the home.
There is no chance of losing the tenant’s goods.Prospects will ask lots of questions regarding vacancies.
You can bring as many prospects as you wish.Suspicion of landlord’s rude behavior, higher rent & environmental factors.
There is no privacy concern.Prospects will demand more features & benefits than you already have.

Showing an occupied property to prospective tenants

Easy to imagine how the home will look after they enter and it will provide them with a realistic view.You need to discuss and agree with the existing tenant’s time.
Raising the rent will be easier than the current one.Not enough flexibility to show the property to many prospects.
Prospects will have a clear expectation about the features and benefits.You will be responsible if someone steals anything from the occupied property.
Minimize the time to vacancy between tenancies and maximize rental income.Your tenant will be exhausted if you need to show the home more than 1/2 times.
Easy to showcase features to the prospects.There is a privacy concern.
Which one is the best option?
Thinking poses

You learned the benefits & problems of both sides. Based on the above comparison and side-by-side differentiation, there is no doubt that showing an occupied apartment is the best option. However, things are not always in your hands. You may not always get the chance to do it. But you also should not wait until the exiting tenant leaves.

Whenever it’s possible, you should try hard to show the occupied properties. As a landlord, this will minimize the loss, and vacancy between tenancies, and maximize the rental profit. Not last but least, it will help you to get new tenants more easily than a vacant property.

This is the best advice I can give based on my practical experience working as a property maintenance contractor since 2009.

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Wrap up

Minimizing the vacancy between tenancies and making the highest rental income is every landlord’s expectation. Whenever a tenant decides to not renew a lease agreement, it’s a little tricky to show the occupied property to the prospective tenants. Sometimes it’s hard. In this type of case, landlords get into trouble as they have to wait until tenants leave. The vacant property not only impacts the rental revenue negatively but also causes other issues that I discussed in this article.

There is no legal barrier to showing occupied properties to prospects. But you have to consider the tenant’s privacy and need a discussion about their flexible time. Also, as a landlord, you have to clean up & enhance the occupied property for free before showing it to the prospects (if needed).

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