How to find a new tenant during COVID-19
All Cubbi COVID-19 articles are in progress and will continue to update. We are actively improving Cubbi as you read this article. In the meantime if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.
The two biggest problems facing landlords who need to find a new tenant right now is: the slower rental market and social distancing laws. Learn more.
This is the process we recommend:
Note: These steps are not mandatory. However, if you follow all these steps the only time you absolutely need to be at the property is during Step 1. The rest can be done 100% virtually, even the Condition Report and handing over the keys. After Step 1, the next time you will need to be a the property is when your tenants move out because we are bringing out a new service Virtual Routine Inspections.
1. Prepare property for rent
This step has never been more critical because you don't know how often you (and potential tenants) will be able to attend the property between now and when they move in (and for the foreseeable future).
Try to get this big step done in one hit, it may take you a full day or so. If you do this step correctly the rest of the entire tenancy will be simple and straight forward. Put the hard work in now, while you can.
Proactive maintenance: Fix leaking taps, lose door handles, exposed wires, replace blown light bulbs, leaking/full gutters etc. It likely to be a lot cheaper (and better for your tenant) to do them now rather then later.
Clean and declutter: Make it shine! Good tenants want a clean property and there are fewer around right now.
Take photos: Book a photographer here or take your own photos. Floor plans are also a great way to help tenants decide if the size of rooms and the layout is suitable.
Alternatively if your property is on the high-end side you may like to pay for a top quality 3D Virtual tour (~$300). In most cases we don't think this spending is necessary.
Decide on rent amount: People still need to move but asking rents are going down, so consider the loss of rent during vacancy. For example, if the rent was $450 and your property sat vacant for 4 weeks, over the space of 12 months it's comparable to renting the property at $420 with the property vacant for 1 week ($21,600 vs $21,420 yearly rent income respectively). This strategy aims to reduce your stress and most importantly attract better tenants.
Separately, when you find a tenant ask them if they are open to signing a 6 or 9 months lease to start with. You could add this content into your ad description "Open to a 6 or 9 months lease to start with, considering the current circumstances, then if you love the property we can discuss signing a longer lease".
More info here.
If you want the ability do everything else virtually you will need to take video recording of each room for the Condition Report and install a lockbox. See below two points:
Entry Condition Report: Get your phone out and record the condition of each room (unlike the Video Walk Through being much shorter and the entire property is done in one take). You don't need to upload the these videos into Cubbi now, just do the recordings now and keep them in your phone. You just need to upload them into Cubbi before your tenants move in. We only recommend this step if the condition of the property will not change between now (when you shoot the videos) and when the tenant moves in because the videos must represent the condition of the property when the tenant moves in. Do only Step 1 of the Video Condition Report to learn how to do these videos.
Install Lockbox: At Cubbi we don't have a facility for you to purchase (or hire) a lockbox just yet however we're happy to assist. You will need one that does not require the internet to open, rather just a code for the tenant to enter to get the keys out. If you can change the code remotely that is also ideal (so you can give potential tenants the code to Self Inspect the property - see Step 5). The keys you put in the lockbox should be the keys your tenants will get on Move in Day (you can put remotes to the garage etc in a kitchen draw). Take a photo (or video) of each key that is in the Lockbox and upload that into your Entry Condition Report.
2. List your property for rent
Get your property on all the major websites. More more here. If you have done all the hard work above, this step should be easy.
Don't list any 'Open For Inspections' as they are banned however you are still able to do Private (one-on-one) inspections.
Add Professional Screening: This is important for the next step but not compulsory. Cost is an additional $99. Learn more.
3. Ask Tenants to Apply online (before inspecting)
When a tenant enquiries about your property, after they have viewed the Video Walk Through and you have answered any other questions they have. Tell them to apply online. A link to the online application from is in the automatic email they get from Cubbi when they enquiry about your property (from any website).
It's not normal to ask tenants to apply before inspecting the property. If you have good photos, a floor plan, and most importantly a Video Walk Through they should have enough information to know if the property is suitable and therefore most tenants will not have an issue with applying for the property before inspecting in person. Tenants don't want to waste their time inspecting a property if they don't know if they'll be able to rent property, and they too want to avoid contact with other people as much as possible.
4. Cubbi Screens application
If you have Professional Screening turned on we'll do this automatically for you. Reference checks are sent out automatically 30 minutes after a tenant submits their application, then within 2 days a real estate experienced member from Cubbi will look over the entire application including references and make any phone calls required to provide you with a Recommendation for that application so you know if you should proceed or not with the tenant. Learn more here.
5. Inspection (Physical or Virtual)
When you get the Recommendation from Cubbi on proceeding with the tenant you should do at least one of the following:
Private (one-on-one) inspection: Organise to show them through privately. Noting as of 30 March the Government limited public gatherings to 2 people but it's unknown if this effects a private rental inspection.
Live Open For Inspection: Instead of doing an inspection in person, organise to do a video call at a particular time. Use FaceTime or Zoom or any other video call service and show the tenant around live while on the call. They can ask you to look at anything in particular and ask any questions they like. Learn more.
Self Inspection (using a Lock box): You could put a lock box at the property and provide them with the code to inspect the property themselves. You should only do this with Recommended tenants by Cubbi (from step 4) and who have a verified bank account set up in Cubbi for additional security. Contact us if you would like us to set this up for you.
6. Approve your tenant
Once the tenant is happy with the property and you are happy to sign a lease. Get your free Tenant Check as per Professional Screening before signing the lease.
When you click to Approve the tenant from your Cubbi dashboard will be asked for additional information to complete and sign the lease (online of course!)
Note: If the tenant has not physically viewed the property yet, as an option, you could sign the lease subject to a physical inspection. Here's how.
From here everything is guided and back to our normal processes, just follow our prompts. You will be told when to upload the videos (for the Condition Report that you did in Step 1) before your tenant moves in. If you have a lockbox you can just give your tenants the code to collect the keys so you don't need to meet up on Move in day (this will be extremely convenient for your new tenant as they already have enough logistics to work out during their move in day).
If you're unsure of anything or have any questions talk to us. No question is silly!