Should I Show a Rental Property While a Resident Still Lives There?

March 18, 2021 | By Charleston Property Company

Updated May 12, 2023

Scheduling and conducting rental property showings can be challenging when coordinating potential renters with their availability and your availability. If it's a property with current renters still occupying it, scheduling showings becomes even more difficult. 

The easiest thing to do (and the Charleston Property Company approach) is to wait until your current renters move out before showing your Charleston, SC, property. An empty rental is easier to show because you don't have to worry about interrupting current residents or providing notice before entry.

However, when it's time to find new renters, can real estate investors show a property while residents still live there? Today we talk about what you "can" do vs. what our Charleston property management team recommends.

Should you show an occupied property to prospective tenants?

What Are the Rules?

Rental property owners must follow laws when entering a rental property occupied by renters. Even though you own the home, your renters have a right to privacy when they sign a lease and move in. 

Investors or property owners can't show up unannounced, so how can that impact showing a property to potential renters when the current renters still live there?

If you plan to start showing a property soon after receiving notice that a renter won't renew the lease agreement, you must give adequate notice to current residents that you've booked a showing in the rental. 

It Can Be Challenging to Schedule Showings

Violating privacy laws can lead to significant legal issues for property owners, so it's crucial to understand the law. In Charleston, SC, investors must:

  • Make sure current residents don't plan to renew the lease. Showing a property to new renters if the current renters don't intend to leave (or aren't subject to an eviction) can violate the law. 

  • Give current residents a 24-Hour Notice of Entry. With proper notice, rental owners can legally enter a property. If you plan to show the property while it's occupied, let the current renters know the day and time of the showing and encourage them not to be in the home. 

While your current renters aren't required to leave, it's often best for everyone if they can take a walk or grab a coffee while you show the rental property. However, this can be incredibly inconvenient and frustrating to residents who simply want to finish their lease term in peace.

It can be better to prioritize the relationship with your existing residents (even though they plan to leave at the end of the lease) and give a good first impression to prospective tenants instead of showing properties while tenants still live there.

Other Things to Consider

Keep in mind, showing a rental property while a resident still lives there means you must work around their furniture, belongings, pets, and the condition of the property. It can be in poor taste to ask residents to make adjustments to the property or change their lifestyle so you can focus on the next tenants moving into the home.

However, if you're worried that you won't have time to conduct a thorough make-ready process to impress a new resident if you wait until current renters move out, you can do a few things to minimize the work needed for the property at the end of an active lease.

Keep Up With Routine Maintenance and Repairs

While your renters have responsibilities to help keep your property in good condition, ultimately, the state of your rental depends on your commitment to routine maintenance and prompt repairs throughout a lease term. A Charleston property management company helps investors with a proactive maintenance plan to keep rentals in excellent condition. 

Then, after a renter moves out and it's time to show the property to potential new residents, investors don't have to worry about completing a long list of maintenance projects to fix up the property and make it presentable. Instead, your property stays well-maintained, and it's ready to show when your current resident decides not to renew their lease. 

Encourage Residents to Follow the Lease Rules

Hopefully, you've had a wonderful experience with your current residents, and it's simply time for them to move on to another home. With quality renters, you shouldn't have an issue gaining cooperation with them to follow the lease while they live at the home.

This means that in the best situations, your renters have cleaned up after pets, taken out the trash regularly, kept the home clean, and reported maintenance issues as they occur (instead of ignoring them or delaying notification).

With a well-kept property and responsible tenants, property owners shouldn't have to worry about needing to repair significant damage or a property that will take weeks or months to make ready for showings or new residents after current tenants move out.

A Charleston property management company shows an empty property to potential tenants.

The Charleston Property Company Approach

Showing your property as soon as you can after you know you'll have an upcoming vacancy can help minimize rental income loss, if you're ready to work around tenants in the home and understand how to avoid tenant privacy rights violations.

However, as an experienced Charleston property management company, we prioritize renter relationships and privacy while also working hard to maximize revenue and minimize vacancy times for owners.  

Our approach includes:

  • Starting the renewal process earlier to encourage renters to renew

  • Taking excellent care of properties throughout the lease term to reduce the volume of make-ready tasks needed to get the property ready to show

  • Having property listings ready to go so we can begin reviewing applicants and showing properties quickly after residents move out

  • Applying a proven process and vetted resources to conduct quick (yet thorough) property updates, repairs, and cleaning in between tenancies

So, while property owners and other property management companies may legally show occupied rental properties, we generally do not show properties still lived-in by tenants in the last few weeks of their lease. However, by being proactive throughout every lease term, we are able to quickly welcome new residents while minimizing vacancy times. 

The Best Charleston, SC, Property Managers Navigate Property Showings

When it's time to find new renters, the best Charleston property management team has a plan to respect tenant privacy while minimizing downtime between residents. Charleston Property Company knows how to navigate renter privacy laws while helping property owners maximize revenue and enjoy the best quality renters in the area!

If you need to reduce vacancy times and find better Charleston renters, contact us to learn how our property management services can help! 


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