How to Prepare a Rental Property for Tenants in Riverside CA

Preparing your property for tenants is a very important part to having a successful leasing process. You need to understand that the condition of your property is paramount to what type of tenant you are going to attract. For example, if you have a beat-up, run-down property with no central air or garage, you will most likely get a terrible tenant, no matter how well you try to screen them. It is not the error of the screening, more so the error of the preparation. 

This is also where you need to decide whether or not you want to keep the property furnished or unfurnished. Furnished property allows for a higher rent, but gives you less people in a tenant pool, as well as increases the risk of damage to your appliances / furniture. Unfurnished property gives you a lower rent, but an increased tenant pool, and decreased amount of damage/risk of damage to your property. We highly recommend keeping the property unfurnished, due to the fact that it is incredibly difficult to find a tenant to lease the property to for a long-term period of time. 

Successful preparation has many different looks, but I do have a “Minimum Property Standards” list that I am more than happy to share with you. This list has given us an amazing track record of tenants and has also allowed us to not have any evictions from tenants that we have screened from the past 12 years (knock on wood). 

Minimum Property Standards

All Interior Areas:

 ● Sweep and mop all hard flooring

 ● Vacuum all areas and have all carpets professionally cleaned (must provide

 vendor receipt)

 ● Wash (and scrub if needed) all walls, ceilings, doors, doorknobs, and

 baseboards. All need to be free of dirt, dust, and grease with any scuffs,

 pencil/crayon, fingerprints, and/or other marks removed

 ● Sanitize and remove all fingerprints or other marks from light switches and

 outlet cover plates

 ● Wipe down and sanitize all handrails.

 ● Dust and wipe down all light fixtures, ceiling fans, cold air returns, and vent


 ● Clean all windows with sills and frames washed (bleached if necessary)

 ● Clean all window runners and tracks and dust blinds/screens

 ● Dust and wipe down all closets and shelves


 ● Sweep and mop flooring under and behind all moveable appliances

 ● Wipe down the front of refrigerator/freezer, discard ALL food, remove all dirt

 and grease, and sanitize all shelves

 ● Clean oven inside and out removing all dirt, food, grease, etc. and sanitize.

 ● Ensure all traces of oven cleaner have been wiped clean

 ● Remove and clean underneath burners, controls, rings, drip pans, and

 stovetop. Wipe down front and side of range.

 ● Remove lower drawer and clean underneath if possible

 ● Remove all dirt and grease from the exhaust fan

 ● Wipe down the front of the microwave and dishwasher. Interior of both

 appliances should be sanitized and free of dirt, food, and grease

 ● Wipe down and remove any grease from the exterior faces of all cabinets,

 drawers, and cupboards

 ● Remove all items from every cabinet, drawer, and cupboard

 *Additional cleaning will be performed before any move-in if the Premises has

 been vacant for more than 30 days*

● Scrub and sanitize the interior of each cabinet, drawer, and cupboard and

 ensure that they are free of all dirt, food, dust, hair, etc.

 ● Dust and clean on top of all cabinets and cupboards

 ● Scour sinks, remove all stains, sanitize, and clean fixtures

 ● Clean and sanitize all countertop areas


 ● Sweep and mop all flooring

 ● Toilet bowls must be scoured and sanitized with disinfectant. The exterior of the

 bowl including: seat, rim, tank, and base must be cleaned and sanitize with


 ● Bathtubs and showers must be scoured to remove any rings. Interior should be

 cleaned, sanitized, and free of any mildew or mold. Sides of tub enclosure must

 be clean and free of any soap build-up

 ● Sink must be scoured and sanitize with faucets polished. Clean and sanitize all

 countertop areas

 ● All glass doors and mirrors should be cleaned with all water spots removed

 ● Scrub and sanitize the interior of each cabinet and drawer. Ensure that they are

 free of all dirt, food, dust, hair, etc.

 ● Wipe down the exterior faces and top of all cabinets and drawers


 ● Remove all exterior debris from the property. This includes trash, personal

 property, and any other items that do not belong on the premises.

 ● Any storage area must be empty and swept

 ● Clean and remove debris from entry and patio area

 ● Remove all trash and personal property from garage with area being swept

 ● Mow And Edge lawn. Remove all weeds/debris from yard (if applicable)

 ● Additional dusting/sweeping/mopping if needed before move-in following

 property showings.

 *Additional cleaning will be performed before any move-in if the Premises has

 been vacant for more than 30 days*

Minimum Property Condition

 Defined as the condition in which the property is expected to be

 rented in, and includes the following:


 ● No visible mold or mildew

 ● Door locks work

 ● Door handles are secure and functional. (If it takes longer than a minute for you

 to get in due to a sticky lock, it needs to be serviced or replaced.)


 ● open/close

 ● must have the ability to lock for ground level windows


 ● must function as designed. If not, have them repaired, replaced, removed.

 ● No missing parts

 ● No damaged parts (most sets have extra slats at the bottom to replace)

 ● Installed

 ● Clean

 ● Function as designed


 ● All lights turn on/off

 ● All bulbs work

 Heat and AC vent covers and cool air return covers: 

 ● must have covers for all switches

 ● lights must have covers on them if they are designed to have them

 ● Fans will turn on/off and function as designed.

 ● All outlets must have power and be in a secure working condition

 ● Must have covers on all outlets

 ● Garage doors function as designed. Openers function as designed.

 ● garage light works if opener has the option


 ● All appliances function as designed. All burners working, knobs working,

 display working, buttons working, oven working and venting properly.

 ● Ice machines and water dispenser in the fridge Does Not have to function.- no leaks

 ● All appliances must be clean and free of bad odor.

 ● Washer and dryer need to function if in the home at move in.- no leaks (the owner will not have to repair them after the tenant has

 moved in). If they do not repair, replace or remove.

 ● Fireplaces (gas or electric) Do Not need to function. If they do not it needs to

 be noted in the system that they do not, and NOT listed as an amenity.

 ● Wood Burning fireplaces are not to be used by a tenant. List as a cosmetic


 ● Thermostat must function as designed

 ● Heater must function as designed

 ● A/C must function as designed

 ● Swamp cooler must function as designed- no leaks

 ● vent cover of swamp must function and be clean

 ● ceiling area around swamp cooler vent must be clean- free of visible damage


 ● No leaks or drips

 ● Hot and cold function as designed

 ● Counter and sink in good condition

 ● Drain stoppers work as designed

 ● Toilet seat functions as designed

 ● Flush handle works as designed

 ● Bath/Shower doors open and close

 ● Faucets work as designed

 ● Exhaust fan working if present

 ● No cracks over 5 in on mirror

 ● Cabinetry drawers and cabinets in good working condition


 ● Closet doors function as designed

 Utility Room:

 ● Furnace in working order

 ● Area around furnace cleaned

 ● Filter cleaned and correct size-installed correctly

 ● Water heater in working order

 ● No leaks

 ● Washer and dryer if in the property must function as designed when the tenant

 moves in (the owner will not have to repair them after the tenant has moved in) If

 they do not repair, replace or remove.


● Countertops and sinks In good condition- no noticeable damage- clean

 ● Drawers/cabinets in good condition- no noticeable damage

 ● Drawer/cabinets close/open smoothly

 ● No leaks

 ● Hot/cold function as designed

 ● Clean inside drawers, cabinets and under sink

 ● Disposal- if installed must function property with no leaks

 ● Appliances work as designed

 ● Appliances do not leak

 ● Appliances are clean and free of odors

 ● Ice machine and water dispenser in the fridge Do Not have to function


● Paint in good condition

 ● Free of excess holes/dings/scrapes (more than 5 on a 3 ft section of wall)

 ● Touch up paint must match

 ● Baseboards, door jambs, and window seals are free of major dings or paint


 ● Clean

 Carpet, Linoleum, Hardwood, Tile:

● No major stains

 ● No major rips or tears

 ● No damage

 ● Must be clean

 ● No odors

 Exterior/Yard Standard:

● gutters attached and aligned

 ● No overgrowth (trees, bushes, grass, garden, weeds)

 ● Maintained and in good clean condition.

 ● mailbox is standing/mounted legitimately

 ● junk/trash removed from the home

 ● garage doors (roll up or man door), along w/ operating correctly, should be able

 to secure

 ● step/stairs/rails/walkways can't be unsafe, whether it's to a deck, patio or


 ● Fences cannot be leaning or fallen over

Following this list will not only help you understand exactly what you need to do to make more money on a rental property, it will also help you mitigate damage, place better tenants, and secure the safety of your asset in the long run. If you would like to learn more about how to prepare a rental property for tenants, please feel free to schedule a call with me here