Property Management Blog

Showing a Rental Property with Tenants


Bob Preston - Monday, February 22, 2021
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Showing an empty rental unit is less of a hassle than showing one with tenants in it. When your unit doesn’t have tenants, you don’t have to worry about fitting anyone else’s schedule. 

You also don’t have to worry about how the house will appear to prospects. You’ll be able to count on it being just as you left it.

But when you own a rental property, some things are out of your control. Navigating a property showing when you have tenants occupying your units can be effectively handled, even if it can be challenging at times. 

Making a solid plan for how to show an occupied unit is an important step in getting your property ready to rent.

There are certain benefits to showing a rental property that’s still occupied with tenants. Most importantly, you’ll still be collecting rental income. 

In addition, homes with furnishings tend to be rented more easily. Prospects prefer to see a rental unit that has furniture, rather than a vacant home.

However, there are drawbacks to showing a rental property that still has occupants. When people are living in your rental unit, you’re limited in terms of your ability to clean up or decorate the space more attractively.

If repairs are scheduled for after your current tenants leave, your prospects may be able to see parts of the rental property that need fixing.

It can also be tricky to arrange a schedule that works both for you and your current tenants. Tenants who are dealing with a move will generally have a packed schedule, so coordinating schedules can be hard.

By using the following tips, you can ensure the showing of your tenant-occupied property goes smoothly.

How To Show a Property That Has Occupants

Discuss the Matter With Your Tenants

Your tenants retain some authority over the unit until their tenancy has expired. To show your respect, communicate to your tenants about the alternatives of showing the rental property. 

discuss with tenants

Being open allows you to find ways to serve your needs without infringing on the tenant’s rights. After all, you don’t want to disrupt the tenant’s quiet enjoyment of the rental home.

Provide Sufficient Notice

Opening your home suddenly to strangers can be uncomfortable. Keep this in mind to protect the privacy of your tenants. It helps to give ample notice of the dates you’ve arranged for property showings. 

Prior to the day of the showing, you can even send another round of reminders to the renter.

It’s best to coordinate the schedules with each other. Some tenants will want to be around for the showings, while others prefer to go someplace else. If you plan to conduct several rental showings in a single day, it’s advisable to give notice to the tenant. 

Of course, you’ll also want to provide enough notice to adhere to California’s landlord-tenant laws.

Find a Convenient Time

Since you’re inconveniencing your tenants to some degree during a property showing, make it as easy for them as possible. This shows respect and also makes them feel that you haven’t taken away their sense of control over the rented unit. 

Provide several choices when it comes to setting the time. This leaves them with the decision to pick the one they prefer.

As much as possible, try not to burn bridges. Even if the tenants are leaving and you’ve stopped earning income from them, it’s essential to still retain a good relationship. In the future, you might need each other for references. The tenant may know someone looking for a vacant space. It’s always good to remain cordial with tenants.

Politely Ask Tenants to Clean Up

Reducing the sight of clutter can enhance the possibility of prospects choosing your rental over others. 

While you shouldn’t expect your tenants to perform maintenance that is your responsibility, it’s reasonable to ask the current renter to clean up a bit. However, if this is not possible, you can always opt to pay for a cleaning service. 

Your goal should always be to ensure that your units are presentable to prospects.  A professional cleanup can also reach hard to clean corners that normal people overlook. When you hire a professional to handle the cleaning of your property, you can expect a truly thorough job to be done.

Prospects will be impressed to see an attractive and clean rental home. This is a definite advantage to meet your goal of finding tenants quickly.

Offer an Incentive

For cooperative tenants, you can offer an incentive such as baked goods, restaurant coupons, or useful home presents for them to take to their next home.

This is a token to thank them for opening the home they’re still occupying. By allowing a disruption to their regular routine, they’ve been considerate of your needs as a landlord to earn continuously.

Another way to show your gratitude is to give a discounted rental rate for the last month of the tenant’s stay. This acts as an incentive and encourages the renter to work with you and be more supportive. 

Be Mindful When Scheduling

Avoid showing a rental property without thought to which times of day are most convenient. Carefully schedule and limit the frequency over a week’s period. It can be annoying to the current tenants to keep opening up their homes.

In fact, you can arrange a concentrated flow of property showings instead of daily viewings. If you can compress them into a short window, it will be a relief for your tenants. For your part, it will also be a more efficient use of your time.

As an added bonus, if you schedule an open house viewing with numerous tenants at once, it can create a competitive atmosphere where prospective tenants will want to sign a lease to avoid missing out.

How Far in Advance Should I Show My Property?

You'll want to be strategic when deciding how far in advance to start showing the property. 

A tenant could be in the middle of the process of packing and moving out their belongings. In this case, their property might not be in showing condition. 

Consider showing the property 30 days prior to the move-out, to alleviate the chance of showing a property that's in shambles with boxes everywhere.

Also, your strategy will depend on if your tenants have pets. You'll likely want to make arrangements with your tenants for the animals to be taken offsite during showing times.


If you find that the property is not in a showable condition and it's too difficult to arrange a schedule that works for all parties, you may want to wait to show the property until after the tenants have vacated and the property has been cleaned so that it is in top condition to show to your prospective tenants

The Bottom Line

Showing a rental property when you have tenants doesn’t need to be complicated. Proper communication and gratitude to your tenants will make the task easier. Never forget to show a token of appreciation.

Looking for help managing your rental property in the San Diego area? Get in touch with the experts at North County Property Group. We have extensive experience helping local property owners maximize the profitability of their real estate investments.



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