Landlords and the End of Tenancy

What do landlords need to do when renters are moving out? Here’s a rundown of an efficient tenancy check-out procedure.

The end of tenancy period is a critical time for any landlord, as they want to inspect the property, return deposits and turn the place around as quickly as possible so that it’s ready for the next tenants. It’s all about minimising disruption and maximising rental revenues. These are the essential check-out steps landlords need for a great tenancy check-out procedure.

Meeting the Tenants

Arrange to meet the departing tenants at the property so you can go through the entire place with them and note its condition. Discuss the tenancy check-out procedure

with them. Landlords should have made an itemised inventory before the tenants moved in and they can now use this to check that all the items are still there and not damaged. This includes everything from kitchen appliances to curtains, carpets, light fittings and everything else that was provided at the outset of the tenancy.

If something is damaged or not in the condition it should be, make notes on the inventory and take photographs and/or videos with your phone. These may be useful later if a dispute arises with the outgoing tenants and the case ends up in court.

Making Allowances

Landlords cannot reasonably expect that the flat or house they rented out will be in the same pristine condition when the tenants moved in. They have to allow for some level of wear-and-tear that naturally occurs with living in a property. This can be slightly frayed rugs or carpets, as well as marks or stains on the kitchen worktop, walls and elsewhere. Determining what’s fair in these situations can often give rise to problems, however, as landlords can sometimes insist that there’s just too much wear-and-tear.

As a guide, the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) says fair wear-and-tear should be considered against the length of the tenancy. They should then take into account the average lifespan of appliances and items and where they were at that point when the tenancy started; the number of people in the property; and the expected usage of items.

How to Successfully Evict a Tenant

Returning Deposits at the End of Tenancy

Most rentals are of the assured shorthold tenancy type. If this is the case, landlords are legally obliged to place tenants’ deposits in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme. For other types of tenancies, it may be possible to place a valuable item, such as a car, as a security deposit — but unlike with assured shorthold tenancies, it won’t be protected.

Under the law, landlords have to return tenants’ deposits with 10 days of both parties agreeing how much will be paid. This can vary if there is damage to the property and a sum is deducted from the deposit to cover repairs. All of the deposit sum should be paid back, however, if the tenant met the terms of the rental agreement, didn’t damage the house or flat and paid their rent and bills in full.

Being prepared for an end of tenancy will ensure the entire process goes smoothly and you can start to get read for the next renters. If it happens, however, that tenants refuse to leave a property during a tenancy check-out procedure, landlords are not permitted to remove them by force and must instead begin the eviction process.

If you would like to know more about the end of a tenancy period and what your responsibilities as a landlord are, contact Horton and Garton today. We are experienced landlord agents and can tell you all you need to know.