November 6, 2017

Sometimes when managing a property, you will run into a scenario where you need to show an occupied unit. While it is ideal to show the property after tenants have moved out, this is not always possible.

Showing an occupied unit will often occur when a tenant is breaking their lease or looking for someone to sublet. If you need to show an occupied rental property, check out these five helpful steps to ensure the process is smooth.

Step 1: Communicate With The Current Tenants

Not every tenant will be thrilled with the idea of you showing the unit while they still live there. It is a good idea to include information about this in your lease. Each state has different laws regarding the steps you have to take and the rights you have to showing an occupied rental. Talk to your local attorney and include language in your lease that complies with local regulations.

Be sure that you not only abide by local laws but that you are also courteous to existing tenants. The clearer your communication, the smoother the process will go. Give adequate warning about showings and give your existing tenants an idea of what to expect. Make sure you are consistent in your communication and never surprise tenants with a showing.

Step 2: Visit The Property Alone First

While you may trust your tenants to keep the property clean and in good condition, it is wise to do your own walk through alone before any showings. You never know what you might stumble upon during a showing and it is far better to handle things with your existing tenants one-on-one than with a potential tenant standing by.

Step 3: Schedule Showings

Once you have established that the rental unit is in good enough condition to show, start scheduling the actual showings. Try to be considerate to your existing tenants when you create a schedule. For example, if you are going to show it to a few interested parties, consider scheduling your showings back to back during the same slot of time. This will be less of a hassle for your tenants.

Step 4: Show Like A Pro

Once you have the showing scheduled, it is time to prepare for the appointment. Be sure you have information about the next steps for applying with you. For example, if you are utilizing an online rental application, be prepared to let interested parties know what they need to do next.


During the showing, try to help the interested applicants see the rental as their future home. This can be trickier with someone else living in the home but make sure you highlight all the best features of the property. It is also worth pointing out what will be staying and what belongs to existing tenants. For example, if the washer and dryer come with the unit, let the applicants know. This will help them prepare mentally for what the property will look like when the current occupants leave.

If there are items that will need to be repaired or replaced after the existing tenants leave, let the applicants know you will be handling these items before they move in.

Step 5: Say Thank-You

Once you have completed the property showing, be sure you thank the existing tenants for allowing you access to the property. While you are the rightful owner, saying thank-you to those living there goes a long way in establishing a positive relationship. This can go a long way in protecting your property from disgruntled tenants who may trash the place as they leave.

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