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The Lifecycle of a Tenancy (TM)
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The Lifecycle of a Tenancy TM

Begin your research with

the Cycle’s of a Tenancy

Cycle One - Before the Tenancy

Cycle Two - During the Tenancy

Cycle Three - The End of a Tenancy


Residential property management is a complicated business. The days of renting a flat with a handshake are part of the last century, not the current one. Today’s residential property owner must be knowledgeable about lease drafting, tenant’s rights, hazardous materials such as asbestos and underground tanks, naturally occurring hazardous substances such as mold, Fair Housing laws, recycling, building codes, construction, LEED designation, Megan’s Law issues, privacy legislation, federal credit protections, banking, finance, cap rates, accounting, conflict resolution and the list goes on and on, and grows larger each year.

The easiest way to think of all the subjects surrounding your rental units is to view the entire process from beginning to end as a lifecycle: the lifecycle of a tenancy. From the time the unit is vacated by the last resident, to the inevitable day when the unit once again becomes vacant, your apartment unit will routinely traverse and repeat a cycle of activities. Some of these activities will be predicable. Some will be new with each resident.

With each tenancy you must be ready and prepared for the predictable set of repeated issues. For the routine, you must be ready for and prepared to address these events as the landlord or property manager, putting your time, energy and resources behind them to work towards and attain resolution. Beginning with the process of getting ready to market the flat or apartment by cleaning and restoring it to tip-top shape, to accepting applications and selecting your new resident, to dealing with situations with residents and between residents, through the move-out process, the tenancy lifecycle covers a wide variety of topics and paperwork, not to mention legal considerations.

For the things you cannot anticipate, you must have a complete set of resources and tools to enable you to problem solve, effectively and efficiently. Property ownership and management is a small margin business. A rental housing providor cannot waste time or resources and you cannot repeatedly recreate solutions. 

The system:  Create your property management solution once, standardize it, document it and automate it.

To follow the tenancy lifecycle, we have organized our information topics into three major sections:

The most effective way to manage your residential rental property is:

  • Be well organized,
  • Set policies consistent with your individual risk tolerance levels,
  • Follow those policies consistently each day,
  • Clearly document the property management procedures you follow to adhere to those policies; and
  • If for any reason you find it necessary to waive a policy, document the waiver and document why you waived it.  Although, if you do waive a policy, seriously consider having recognized exceptions to your policy; adopt those exceptions in advance and document those exceptions as part of the basic policy.

A key part of efficient property management organization is to develop a system that makes it easy or you or your staff to follow and document these property management protocols.  Your rental policies should be clearly set forth and documented in your residential lease documents and the forms you use.  Your documents, your forms, your policies and procedures, as well as your actions must be internally consistent with one another. If they are not, you will confuse yourself, your co-workers, your residents, members of the public and ultimately get yourself into trouble.

For example, it does no good to have a residential lease that provides for a late fee to be charged on the fifth day after the rental due date, if  your late notice goes out on the 10th and states the rent was late on the 3rd. Consistency is essential. Part of preparing the residential unit for rental is to have good advice and forms available to you, or available to those persons involved in the day-to-day property management of your rental units.

However, even if your rental documents are consistent, if you repeatedly waive or forget to enforce the rules, you can make tenancy problems worse than if you have inconsistent or no lease documents. It is essential your rental documents, forms, procedures, standards and the application of the procedures and standards are consistently adhered to in the day-to-day property management of your residential rental investment property. Objectives

Our objective at is for the site to become the most comprehensive and complete web compendium of property management advice and superior resources available to the rental owner and manager on the Internet. With time, hard work and a strong dose of luck, will grow into a destination full of best practice advice and information, guidance and quality expert advice to help our members satisfy their customer residents and to keep our member property owners out of trouble when the inevitable property management or investment problem is encountered.

And so, please join on the journey of residential housing ownership - the lifecycle of a tenancy!


Other Resources and Links:

Visit othe Information Centers

Inman Real Estate Landlord-Tenant Library of Articles


Last Revision: 10/10/2009

SP 10.3.2009 ML

Revision: 01.04