Landlord Advice

The check-out report: A crucial part of the inventory process

The inventory process is an incredibly important part in regards to any landlord/tenant relationship. It can be a great help in quashing disputes that come from property misuse and damage. A check out report is the crucial last step of the inventory process that can decide whether a tenant’s deposit is returned or not. So, let’s take a look at what check-out reports are, how much they cost, and how they can benefit you.

So if you:

  • have a property coming to the end of its tenancy;
  • are having trouble with deposit disputes;
  • want to protect your property and possessions;

Read on! 

What is a check-out report?

Generally, check-out inventory is taken after a tenancy has finished. You would have had to finish a standard inventory at the beginning of a tenancy to make a check-out inventory. This is because it will compare evidence and photos taken before a tenant has moved in, to the condition it’s in at the end of a tenancy. 

As mentioned, it’s important to have an accurate inventory before having a check-in. Inventories are a massive help, as they provide you with evidence of everything within a property so that you can cross-reference the condition of the property and furniture later on. 

Can you carry out an inventory and check-out report yourself?

Absolutely! That being said, it is a time-consuming, intensive process. You’ll need to take pictures of any furniture, appliances, and fittings in the home, detailing the exact condition that they are in. Not only that, you’ll need to take meter readings of the water and boiler. 

If you are a landlord who is managing one or two properties, taking inventory yourself could be right for you. Now, if you are an HMO landlord, or manage multiple properties, it might be better to get a professional inventory clerk in. The inventory clerks usually work from a checklist and will go room to room, cataloguing every item within.

Why a check-out report is important

As mentioned previously, it is used to determine whether the tenant’s deposit is returned. This is the perfect reason why your original inventory needs to be comprehensive and detailed. Moving properties can be an expensive process, so tenants will want their deposit, and fight tooth and nail if they believe they are being robbed of their money. 

That said, if they have caused damage to anything in the property, they are liable to pay for repairs, or to replace it. As long as you have the images and photos to back up your claims of tenant damage, they won’t be able to dispute it. However, if something is damaged through fair wear and tear, your tenants aren’t responsible for fixing it. 

What counts as fair wear and tear?

So, what is fair wear and tear? Fair wear and tear is any damage that could occur naturally over time and with normal use. Generally, if you hear a claim of fair wear and tear, it’s always best to investigate it, as it’s difficult to determine. Normally, we expect to see worn-down keys and carpets after heavy use. Or say a door handle that has gotten a bit wobbly over time. 

Fair wear and tear is often the cause of many tenant disputes and, if those cases go to court, it can be a difficult battle for either side to win. Hence why having an inventory check is important to have. 

Tenant responsibilities

It’s important to note that your tenant should have access to the same evidence taken from the original inventory. Not only is it their right as a tenant, but it helps renters understand what is expected from them in regards to the property. Plus, it can be a helpful tool for tenants come the end of tenancy, as they’ll be able to clean the property to the same standard as it was given to them. 

Along with the cleaning responsibilities, there are a couple of other things that your tenants need to be aware of before moving out. The tenancy agreement stipulates that at the end of the tenancy: 

  • Freezers must be defrosted;
  • Lightbulbs must be replaced if they aren’t working or broken;
  • All food needs to be removed;
  • All of the furniture is in the same place as it were when the original inventory was taken;
  • Garden should be left in a good condition;
  • All utility bills should be paid in full before tenants move out.

If your tenants are also paying for internet and cable suppliers, they should notify their service providers that they are moving. Your tenants should make sure that their post is being redirected to a new address as well. 

The check-out process

Regardless of whether you are getting a professional inventory check, as a landlord, you should try to attend the checkout report. The same can be said of the tenant. This means that if there are any potential disputes, you’re able to discuss it directly with the tenant. Keep in mind when making the inventory schedule to notify the tenant. This way, you can try to work out a day that works for both parties.  

Generally, you will be going room to room, cross-referencing the evidence from the original inventory with the condition of the property currently. Detailed descriptions will be made of all items and fixtures in the property, and meter readings will need to be carried out again.

Finishing the process

Once the property has been checked thoroughly, a check-out report will be made. This will be the comprehensive result of everything included in the inventory. At this point, you can decide if any deductions to the tenant’s deposit should be made. Your tenant (if they are present at the check-out inventory) can then agree, or dispute it. 

If your tenant does dispute your claims, there are a couple of different avenues that you can take. You can try to reach an agreement with your tenant, possibly to share some of the cost with them to replace or repair an item. However, if the tenant rejects your claims, they can use the free dispute resolution service detailed within their tenancy agreement terms. You will both need to agree whether to use the service, however. 

Any disputes, agreements, or rejections should be recorded within the inventory report.

Inventories not included in the charge

Keep in mind that you can’t charge your tenants for the inventory fee. Prior to 2019, inventories could be paid for by the tenant, though not anymore. 

Still, even though the cost will come out of your pocket, it is still a worthwhile undertaking. Inventories ensure that you are protected from paying for repairs that should fall to your tenant, so we will always recommend getting one prior to a tenancy. 

How much does a check-out inventory cost? 

Generally, it will differ from company to company. Obviously, if you want to carry out the inventory yourself, you won’t face any extra costs. For a professional inventory service, let’s have a look at our own prices to give you an idea of what to expect. 

No. RoomsUnfurnishedFurnished
1 bed or studioFrom £45From £55
2 bedFrom £60From £80
3 bedFrom £80From £110
4 bedFrom £95From £145
5 bedFrom £130From £185

As you can see, we determine our prices between whether the property is furnished or unfurnished and how many bedrooms are in the property. For any properties that have more than 5 beds, you’ll need to complete your booking by calling our offices and specifying the size of your property. 

Need an inventory report? 

Fantastic Services has got you covered. We use professional inventory clerks who complete a thorough inspection of your property and possessions, which you can refer to at later dates. Not only that, but we also provide a check-in service (that you won’t even need to attend), in which we run through the inventory report, and hand over the keys to your new tenant. 

Why go through the arduous process of doing an inventory yourself when you can give the job to the professionals? So what are you waiting for? Contact us today! 

Tenants moving in or moving out?

Get an inventory booking today!

Add a valid postcode e.g. SE1 2TH

Takeaways

  • Inventories can help solve tenancy disputes.
  • Check-out reports  should be paired with an original inventory, in order to cross-reference evidence.
  • If you believe a tenant to be negligent, you can deduct from the security deposit.
  • When determining damage, you should ask yourself whether it could fall under fair wear and tear. 

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We hope you found our article on check-out reports useful. For any questions, or if you want to share your own experience with inventories, leave a comment with us below!

Img Credit: Shutterstock / Boophucket

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