Nowadays, people are moving all the time. No matter if it’s because of a better neighbourhood, change of career path, or lower rent, thousands of UK citizens decide to change their living accommodations every day. That said, while moving house can be a positive and perhaps life-changing experience for the tenant, the same definitely doesn’t apply to their old landlord.

When your favourite tenant, the one who never misses paying their rent and doesn’t make any noise, decides to move out of your property, it’s not something to be happy about. Besides losing the best renter you’ve ever had, you get to “enjoy” time spent taking care of quite the number of documents. 

To make things easier for all of you landlords out there, we came up with this nifty end of tenancy checklist that will help out in dealing with moving tenants. 

A notice to/from the tenants notifying the end of tenancy

As a landlord, the first thing on your end of tenancy To-Do list should be to give your tenant a notice, of course, only in case you need him to leave the property. If the moving out decision is made by the tenant, they have to provide you with the same adequate document. You can find the time frame of leaving described in the tenancy agreement that was created prior to their moving in.

Also, the written notice should contain exact information on why the tenant is leaving the property and the date of the moving. 

When it comes to the deposit, it’s not a good idea to let your tenant pay their last rent with it. If you find any issues in the property, such as damaged furniture or missing items, you won’t have the budget to fix or replace the items.

With that being said, any deductions from the deposit need to be talked through with the tenant. Note that it doesn’t matter if the occupant has agreed to leave you the deposit prior to moving in, they can still dispute the decision if they wanted to. In such cases, it’s best to use a dispute resolution service.

You can find more in-depth information about the legal documentation and procedures that need to be met, here.

What if the tenants appear to have abandoned the property? 

If you suspect that your tenants have moved out with no notice, we don’t advise entering the property without hard evidence. No matter how abandoned the place looks, if the occupants haven’t ended their tenancy by any of the above-described conditions, you can’t go inside without a court order. 

Now, if the tenant has left their keys behind or have personally given them back to you, you can safely conclude that your property is no longer inhabited.

Perform an end of tenancy inventory inspection

Don’t expect to find your property in the state you rented it out in, after all, things wear with time and use. Also, don’t be surprised if you spot that the furniture colour has faded a bit. It’s perfectly normal and your tenants shouldn’t suffer from a deducted deposit because of that.

What the tenants can be charged for is serious damage to the property, that doesn’t include natural wear and tear, missing items or any sort of breakage. Because of these, an inventory checkout inspection is a must.

This sort of inventory includes the full description of the property’s condition prior to the complete evacuation. Its purpose is to check what has changed inside the house or flat during the tenancy. The recording must be done very carefully, so both you and your tenant can compare it with the inventory check-in list for any differences. Here is what a general check-out report includes:

  • The date and full names of both the landlord and tenant per the letting agreement;
  • A thorough description of the interior and exterior condition of the property: contents, decorations, appliances, and all fixtures and fittings;
  • A recording of the meter readings, alarm checks and codes, the serial numbers of all equipment and etc;
  • Keys and locks;
  • A full report with photos of all of the described sections, that will be signed on the back by the tenants and properly dated;
  • A recording of the furniture condition;
  • Signs and initials by booth the tenant and landlord placed on each page of the report.

Ensure that your property is left clean

Before your tenant moves out completely, it’s their job to make sure that they leave the property clean – in the condition in which they’ve found it. And we aren’t talking about mopping the floors and removing a few cobwebs. No, the property needs to be spotless. This means that all rooms like the bathroom, kitchen, living room and bedroom have to be deep cleaned. Same applies for hallways, stairs and closets. When it comes to appliances, they need to be scrubbed both on the inside and outside. Furniture and light fixtures must be taken cared of, too.

If the occupant fails to restore the space, you as a landlord have the right to deduct money from their tenancy deposit upon evacuation.
Here is the full landlord-aproved end of tenancy checklist that even the professional cleaners at Fantastic Services follow. You can use it when inspecting the evacuated property to ensure that your old occupants have cleaned it properly.

How to deal with items left by the tenant

If you see any items left behind by your tenants, don’t think of them as gifts. There is a big chance that the old occupants have just forgotten them while moving. Now, the first thing that you should do is to send them a letter describing the possessions they have left and their whereabouts. Also, write down an exact date on which you intend to dispose of the items. Make sure that you give a big enough time frame for your old tenant’s convenience. 

In case you don’t have the tenant’s new address, getting a professional tracing agent to help you out is a good solution.

Settle council tax and all utility bills

Unpaid Utilities

Before your tenants move out it’s important to check the meter readings and inform the utility providers. It’s best that you do this on the day they leave. In case you’ve hired a professional inventory clerk, you can skip this step, because it’s a standard part of the provided services.

If your tenants aren’t up-to-date with their bills, there are two things that you can do – ask them to handle the payments themselves or suggest deducting the required sum from their tenancy deposit.

No matter how you decide to take care of the bill situation, make sure to release the deposit (or what’s left of it) within 10 days after the tenant’s evacuations.  

Council tax

Similarly to the utility bills, you should make sure that all council tax matters have been settled by your tenants. Once you’ve got your property occupied again, make sure to inform your local council about the new tenant and give them their details. This step isn’t a must, but it will save your new tenants some troubles.

Note that in the time in which you don’t have people living in the property, the task of paying the council tax will be transferred to you.

Release the tenancy deposit within 10 days

In a perfect world, your tenants would have left your property in tip-top condition and you would have happily returned their full deposit back. However, this rarely happens. This is why you should do a thorough inspection before returning the secured money. If everything looks fine, all bills are paid and there is no damage caused to the property, you should release the tenancy deposit within a 10-day time frame. Remember that you need to provide solid proof for any issues or unresolved payments. 

Put the property back on the market

Now that you’ve settled everything with your old tenants, it’s time to start thinking about placing the property back on the market. 

Your best option would be to find new occupants while the current ones are still in the property. If you’re lucky, you’ll find tenants that need to move in fast. With that being said, we recommend letting people know when is the house or flat available for rent. By doing this, you’ll catch the attention of more people looking to move in sooner.

Takeaways

  • No matter if it’s your decision or your tenant’s to move out, a detailed notice must be written prior to evacuation.
  • It’s best to hire a professional inventory inspection clerk to check your property.
  • You have to release the tenancy deposit of your renters within 10 days, no matter if it’s full or if you’ve deducted a part from it. 
  • After the tenants have moved out of the property, until you find new occupants, it’s your job to take care of the council tax.

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Images source: Shutterstock / jannoon028 and Phat1978

  • Last update: September 19, 2019

Posted in Moving and Packing Tips

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