Should I Show My Fayetteville Rental Property When it’s Occupied by a Tenant


A question we received recently from a Fayetteville, North Carolina landlord managing their own property was concerning showing his rental property when it is occupied by the tenant.

The scenario he presented was that his tenant was vacating next month, and he wanted to show the property. The tenant was giving a little pushback on when, and how, the landlord would be able to show the property.

Here are a couple of things to think about from a property owner’s perspective.  And also some takeaways to make you a successful property manager and investor.

What Does the Tenant’s Lease Agreement Say About Showing the Property

As silly as it sounds, and for whatever reason, many landlords forget to check the lease. This is a simple step, and is actually the most logical one.

The first consideration for the landlord should always be, what does the lease say. The lease should expressly state when the landlord may enter the property, for what purposes, and how much notice must be given.

As we have mentioned before, your lease should be rock solid and address almost every scenario that could possibly come up.

And as a matter of practice, if your lease is on the standard form used by almost all property management companies, there are gaps in the lease that should be addressed.

This is why we tailor our leases for our clients.  As the only property management company owned by a retired military attorney, and licensed North Carolina lawyer we, by law, have the ability to do this for our clients.  Other property management companies can’t do the same.

How Much Notice Is Required to Show the Property in North Carolina

The simple answer to this question is none.  The better answer to it is, you should provide notice before showing the property.  Giving notice before showing the property is a matter of common courtesy.

Think about it, would you want someone knocking on your door telling you: ” Hey Carl, we have someone who wants to see the house.  Do you mind putting your pants on?”

That wouldn’t be nice.  And it’s best to play nice when there is no reason to bring out the big guns.  It makes for a better business relationship with your tenants.

So what does the law say about showing your property when it is occupied by tenants?

In North Carolina, there is no legal notice requirement, but as property managers for Fayetteville, North Carolina landlords, our advice is to give the tenant 24-48 hours notice in the majority of circumstances. There are other times, such as emergencies, or possible lease violations, which may warrant no notice.

Giving the tenant 24-48 hours notice is especially important when showing the property to prospective tenants.

Not because you want your tenants to be fully clothed (which I think we all do), but because we can’t expect a tenant to live in a museum.  The notice prior to showing the occupied property gives the current tenant an opportunity to clean up. It also gives the current tenants a sense of respect and ownership of the showing process.

Remember, tenants are humans too.  The more buy in and sense of ownership you can get from the tenant, the more willing they will be to assist you.

Remember, you and the tenant are both stakeholders in your success.  The tenant is your lifeblood.  Treat your tenant with respect at all times.  This, of course, is dependent on if the tenant has been a good or bad tenant.

But. . . . and this is a not so big but. . . .even the bad tenants deserve some respect, even if you are going through the eviction notification process.

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Is it Necessary to Show the Property While the Tenant is Still Occupying it

This seems like an obvious one, similar to checking the lease first, but it still needs to be discussed.

Remember, showing your property when it is occupied by a tenant is a strategic decision, with the goal being acquiring a long term tenant.

The long term tenant is the lifeblood to your cash flow.  The long term tenant is indispensable to your success.

You should consider if a rush to show is absolutely necessary. Will your rental show better with a tenant in place, or will a clean up, fresh paint, and an empty space be more appealing.

This is a judgement call on your part. If your current tenant is an interior designer and their home looks like something out of a magazine, by all means go for it.

But, as much as we all would like to have every interior designer as a tenant, that simply isn’t the case many times. Instead, we tend to have the exact opposite.

So what do you do if your existing tenant is a mess? The only answer is to hold off on showing the property.

Sure you could send notice that you are going to show your property a week in advance, and give the tenant time to clean up.

You might also consider going a step further, and do something that has a little more teeth.  One way is to send the tenant a warning letter if their mess violates the rental agreement.

But at the end of the day, you might end up with an uncooperative tenant, who makes showings a nightmare.

And going back to the number 1 rule in property investing and property management, YOU MUST PROTECT YOUR BOTTOM LINE.

At the end of the day, you want to error on the side of caution, as opposed to just rushing to get a possible vacancy filled. Patience may be a virtue in this case.

So wait the client out, and have a cleaning crew and handyman on standby for a quick turnover.  There are bound to be things wrong noted during the move-out inspection.  Your goal is to get the property rent ready as quickly as possible.

Should You Show Your Property When Convenient for Your Tenant

Showing the property when it is convenient for the tenant goes hand in hand with the notice requirement.

Convenience and notice increase the chances of a successful showing. Again, an uncooperative tenant can tank your showing, and cut into your bottom line.

One of the key points to consider is trying not to overly burden your existing tenants.

Although they are moving, your tenants have been loyal to you, hopefully, throughout the term of their lease. They deserve respect.

And remember, respect during the process breeds cooperation.  Cooperation leads to quick tenant placement.  Quick tenant placement leads to maintaining revenue.

So keep the showings as few as possible, while not sacrificing getting tenant’s placed.

Keep the property showings to about 3 times a week, and if possible hold them all on the same day, and back to back. Holding them back to back has advantages not only for the current tenant, but also for the landlord. You can read more about that HERE.

If you can’t keep them reduced, or on one day.  Remember to give the tenant as much notice as possible.

There are many variables in play when considering whether or not you are going to show an occupied property. As a property investor, although your goal to maintain occupancy while maximize return on investment, you must consider all factors.

At Linchpin Property Management, we have developed a clear concise method to ensure your Fayetteville, North Carolina property gets and stays rented. Our process is based on over 22 years in real estate and property management helping landlords manage their properties.

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The Team at Linchpin Property Management.