Your Tips for a Smooth Apartment Handover

Doing apartment handovers the right way will save you unnecessary questions and misunderstandings. Make your tenants feel at home in your apartment from the first day.

When new tenants move in, the situation is unusual for both parties. As a landlord/-lady, you are putting your apartment into new hands, and for your tenants, a move often marks the beginning of a new phase in their lives. In the case of temporary furnished housing, the tenancy agreement is usually concluded online. When you hand over the apartment, you and your new tenants therefore usually meet in person for the first time.

If you prepare the change of tenancy well and carry out the handover carefully, you will save yourself a lot of unnecessary questions and misunderstandings, and your tenants will feel at home in your apartment from the first day on.

Before the new tenants move in

Check that the apartment is in perfect condition

There is nothing tenants appreciate more than arriving at a clean apartment where everything works and the furnishings are all in place. At the same time, you want to avoid surprises when you hand over the apartment. For this reason, you should check that everything is in order in the apartment before your new tenants move in. You can check the apartment with the previous tenant when you take possession of it if it was rented immediately before. 

As a general rule, the apartment should be handed over as described in the listing and as agreed in the rental agreement. The apartment should be handed over according to the regulations:

  • Check the entire apartment and the furniture for defects and damage. Do all technical devices including Wi-Fi work? Do all windows and doors open and close properly? Are the heating, all taps and the toilet flush functioning properly? Do batteries or light bulbs need to be replaced?
  • If necessary, arrange for the necessary repairs to be carried out. If the damage can only be repaired after the new tenants have moved in, inform them about the upcoming repairs no later than when you hand over the apartment.
  • Check the equipment in the apartment to make sure it all is in place. Are there any individual pieces of cutlery or crockery, bottle openers, tools or clothes hangers missing that should be replaced before the new tenants move in? Have towels or bath mats become unsightly over time and need to be replaced? 
  • With an inventory list you can easily keep track of the equipment in your apartment. In it, list all the equipment as precisely as possible, for example, note the number of plates (instead of writing a blanket number of dishes) and the brands of the technical devices. You can download our template for the inventory list here.
  • Does the apartment still match the description and the photos in the listing? If necessary, take new photos and update your listing. Tips for the perfect apartment listing can be found here.
  • Organise a cleaning appointment timeously. A thorough cleaning, ideally including window cleaning, immediately before the tenant moves in is essential so that the new tenants feel comfortable in the apartment. If the apartment has been empty for some time prior to the new tenancy and the last basic cleaning took place some time ago, have it cleaned again and remove the dust.

Make the apartment homely

Tenants of temporary furnished homes usually arrive with light luggage. You can make their start in the new apartment easier with a few homely details so they can settle in straight away. Decorate the apartment in a homely way so that the new tenants feel at home right away.

  • Ensure that you have a full range of basic supplies in the home, such as cleaning products, hoover bags, spare light bulbs and batteries. 
  • Make the beds and provide towels.
  • Put the Wi-Fi password in a clearly visible place in the apartment. A reliable internet connection is usually very important for tenants of temporary furnished apartments. Often they use the internet not only for business, but also to keep in touch with their family abroad.
  • A starter kit makes it easier to get settled in the new apartment. This includes a few rolls of toilet paper and soap in the bathroom; washing-up liquid, sponge and rubbish bags in the kitchen. 
  • Especially if your tenants move in over the weekend, they will be happy to have basic kitchen supplies such as coffee and tea, salt and pepper, vinegar and oil.

Based on our experience, we have compiled additional Tips for the ideal furnishing of a temporary furnished apartment in a handy checklist for you.

The handover of the apartment when new tenants are moving in

The apartment is ready; the new tenants are at the door. In most cases, the tenants’ decision as to whether they will feel at home in their temporary home is made when they move in. In addition, the course is also set for the tenants to move out smoothly. Therefore, you should make sure to allow enough time for the handover of the apartment.

Keep a handover protocol

During the handover, we recommend that you record the condition of the apartment and the furniture in a handover protocol. To do this, check the apartment room by room along with your tenants. If possible, the handover should take place in daylight so that you do not miss anything. 

  • Make a note of any defects and damage in the handover report and describe them as precisely as possible. You are welcome to use our template for a handover protocol, in which you can enter all the information. When the tenants move out, this handover protocol will help you to identify any damage that may have occurred during the tenancy.
  • We recommend that both you and the tenants take photos of the apartment, the furniture and the appliances and send them to each other. In this way, you will have documented the date on which the photos were taken. You can attach these photos to the handover protocol. You can also use the method with the photos if you are not personally present at the handover of the apartment, but leave the keys at a trustworthy place for the tenants. However, we recommend handing over the apartment in person if possible or sending a representative to avoid misunderstandings.
  • You can attach the inventory list to the handover protocol in order to document the furnishings of the apartment. 
  • Finally, try out all house and apartment keys with the tenants and note the number of keys handed over in the handover protocol – or use a separate key handover protocol for this purpose.

Clarify unanswered questions

The more details you can clarify when handing over the apartment, the fewer questions will arise afterwards.

  • Explain to the tenants how the appliances work, including the cooker, the washing machine, the dishwasher and the heating. If possible, keep all instruction manuals in a folder or drawer and show them to your tenants.
  • Show the tenants where they can find the Wi-Fi password
  • Also advise the new tenants regarding the use of water, heating and electricity in terms of the contract.
  • It may also be a good idea to give them tips on how to properly ventilate the apartment.
  • Inform them about any house rules, such as noise at night or no smoking. If there are written house rules, hand them out to the tenants.
  • Your tenants will certainly appreciate a few tips on shopping centres and restaurants in the area, as well as public transport services.

In addition, issue your tenant with the Landlord’s/-lady’s confirmation of residence, which they need to register (Anmeldung) with the registration office.

Once the keys are handed over, the actual tenancy begins and you can sit back and relax. 

The apartment inspection when the tenants move out

As the rental period ends, things start to get interesting again. On one hand, you don’t want to miss anything when your current tenants leave. But on the other hand, new tenants might be ready to move in soon, so you have to make sure the apartment is ready for them in time.

Perform a preliminary inspection if required

It is worthwhile to carry out a preliminary inspection, especially if the rental period is very short. This enables you to identify any repairs that may be needed early on. Using the handover protocol from the move-in, you can quickly identify any damage and assign it to the tenant. 

If you draw your tenants’ attention to any new damage or defects during a preliminary inspection, they will have enough time to take care of the repair or remedy the defect themselves. This way, the apartment will be ready for the next tenant quickly. If the tenants do not take care of repairing the damage they caused, you may be able to offset the costs incurred against the rent deposit

Remember that only damage caused by improper use, such as burn holes, red wine stains on the sofa or cracked tiles, must be repaired by the tenants. Normal wear and tear, such as lime scale marks in the shower or scratches on the parquet floor do not have to be repaired by the tenants.

Identify the perfect time for the apartment inspection

Arrange a date for the final handover of the apartment with your tenants well in advance. This way you can find a date that suits both parties and gives you enough time to prepare the apartment for the next tenant. 

  • Choose a date as close as possible to when the tenants move out
  • If possible, carry out the apartment inspection in daylight so that you do not miss anything. 
  • Allow enough time to clean the apartment thoroughly for the next tenant and carry out any minor maintenance such as changing light bulbs or batteries.

Create a relaxed apartment inspection

When the tenants move out, answer as many questions as possible during the final inspection of the apartment. This way you and the tenants can end the tenancy in a relaxed manner without the hassle of having to communicate again afterwards, especially if the tenants move abroad.

  • Walk through the apartment room by room with the tenants as you did when they moved in. Keep a Handover protocol and compare the equipment of the apartment with the Inventory list. The handover protocol is now used to determine the condition of the apartment upon its return. Has there been any new damage to the apartment or the furniture? Is anything missing from the furnishings, such as kitchen utensils?
  • The tenants hand over the apartment in a broom clean condition. What broom-clean means is not defined by law. According to a ruling of the german Federal Court of Justice, “The obligation to return the rented apartment in a ‘broom-clean’ condition is limited to the removal of coarse soiling” (AZ VIII ZR 124/05). This means that the apartment must have been swept or the carpets vacuumed, any adhesive residue on windows and coarse lime scale deposits in the bathroom and kitchen have been removed and the rubbish has been disposed of. In the Wunderflats rental agreement the costs for the final cleaning have already been agreed upon. 
  • Inform your tenants when they can expect the deposit to be returned. If damage caused by the tenants is discovered during the inspection, you may be able to deduct the repair costs from the deposit. This may delay repayment. Communicating openly can save you a lot of questions afterwards.

Did you know that furnished apartments are re-rented on average every four months? By using our templates for the handover protocol and the Inventory list, you are well prepared so that the handover of the apartment runs smoothly both when your tenants move in and when they move out.

Full-Service with Wunderflats Plus

Don’t have time for the apartment handover or are you not even in town? Our Wunderflats Plus team is happy to take care of the entire rental process for you (in some German cities). In addition to handling the apartment handover, we also organize viewing appointments, any necessary maintenance and repairs, meter readings, final cleaning, and much more. Additionally, we handle the entire contract creation process with our verified tenants. If your apartment is not furnished at all or only partially, we are also happy to take care of the complete furnishing and equipment for you. Feel free to reach out to us for this. 

Learn more about Wunderflats here or create your listing now.


Please note: This article does not constitute legal advice – the contents of this page have been prepared solely for your information. As we act as a platform, we can and may share our views, but we cannot give you any legally binding advice on how to proceed on your own.


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