person painting

November 15th, 2018

How to prepare a rental unit for new tenants

Whether you’re new to the position of landlord or you’ve gone through your fair share of tenants, there is still a readying process that must occur when you get your keys back from one person and plan to hand them over to the next.

The costs of unit maintenance should be in your landlord maintenance budget. It doesn’t have to cost much, either! 

In this post, we give you some easy tips to follow each time you find a new quality renter.

Conduct a walk-through

After an old tenant leaves, you’re going to want to do a walk-through of the unit and inspect things, noting any new changes or damages.

Notice any mould? Broken or disconnected smoke detectors? Slanted doors or missing window screens? Is any flooring ripped up?

This is a quality control step, and lets you see what needs to be fixed, cleaned, painted or replaced before you get a new paying tenant inside. Your previous tenants might have left things in poor shape, but it’s nothing you should leave for your new tenant to fix.

They’re paying to rent a unit in good shape. Plus, overlooking this property maintenance step will lead to further (more expensive) property damage down the road.

Now that you’ve taken note of what needs to be done, time to start doing it!


Landlords are usually the ones responsible for painting the interior walls of a unit, and in Ontario a landlord is “responsible for maintaining a rental unit in a good state of repair” which includes repairing worn paint. New paint is more or less expected in a new unit.

If the paint job is more than a couple years old, you should throw on a new coat for the new tenant(s). You can do it yourself or hire a professional.

New coats of paint help the unit feel clean, revamped and updated for the tenant, who will only appreciate the effort. Common curtesy goes a long way in establishing a positive landlord-tenant relationship.

Check utilities

Even if your previous tenant was great, are all the appliances still working? Is the fridge and oven clean? Was anything left in the cupboards? Check all of the indoor and outdoor lights and change any lightbulbs if needed.

Test everything, turn on the faucets and test the thermostat. You can avoid an immediate maintenance request by checking if things are in working order before the new tenant gets in.

If appliances are indeed broken, schedule appointments for new ones.

Clean the unit

When a tenant leaves, there’s no way to predict how clean they’ll leave the unit. And once they’re gone, it’s essentially left up to you.

Cleaning a unit, mopping the floors and scrubbing the tiles can be done inexpensively by yourself. Alternatively, you can hire professional cleaners who will do a stellar job.

If your unit has carpets, you’re going to want to get it professionally freshened up.

Change locks

Changing the locks for new tenants is a good practice, even if your previous renter gave back all the unit keys. You can never really know if a previous tenant cut your keys in multiples, so to enhance the safety of your new tenant’s contents, get new locks for the doors.

If garages or entryways have codes, consider re-coding them for the new tenant.