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5 steps you should take to prepare for a new tenant

After you have screened and chosen a tenant, it is time to prepare your property. While there may be unique steps you have to take depending on whether your tenant receives government assistance or what condition your property is in, there are some general things you should do to make the process easier and minimize complaints. Follow these tips to fulfill your responsibilities as a landlord in New York.

1. Repair damages and resolve health and safety issues

If your property has a broken window, hole in the wall or any other existing damage, make sure it is repaired before your tenant moves in. You will also want to verify that there are no health or safety problems. Check for mold, ensure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working and verify there are two ways to exit the unit.

2. Check plumbing, heat and electricity

All utilities of your property must be in working condition. Even if your tenant will be responsible for covering utilities, you must make sure they work. Heating should work in all rooms; overhead lights should be operational; electrical outlets should work; and there should be no leaks or clogs in sinks, toilets or showers.

3. Clean your property

Regardless of whether the property is brand new or you are turning over an apartment with previous tenants, cleaning is necessary. In cases of turnovers, have the unit thoroughly cleaned with special attention given to toilets, showers, refrigerators and stoves. With a new property, sweep and vacuum to clear the unit of any debris.

4. Review and sign the lease with your tenant

Meet with your tenant and discuss every section of the agreement. Your tenant should fully understand every term before signing the agreement. Once you have both reviewed the agreement and you have answered any questions or concerns, both of you can sign and date the lease. This will reduce the chances of either of you breaching the lease.

5. Collect security deposit and rent

If the full security deposit and rent for the first month are not paid on time, future payments are likely to be late. Collect these payments before your tenant moves in. If you are leasing to a tenant receiving government assistance with Section 8 housing, you will receive a check after the tenant moves in, but the tenant is still responsible for the security deposit.

Taking these steps before your tenant moves in will increase the likelihood of a better landlord-tenant relationship. If you experience any issues with your tenant or are having trouble resolving disputes, contact a landlord-tenant law attorney.

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