Thursday 7 December 2023

How to move tenants out

There are a variety of things that should be carried out when a tenant vacates their rental property in addition to the obvious - getting the keys back! Unlike when starting a tenancy there aren’t many legal requirements at this final stage of the tenancy, but there are a few things that should be done to help ensure it’s a smooth process. 

Just like at the move-in, here at CRJ Lettings we use a checklist to ensure nothing gets forgotten. Final meter readings and a forwarding address for the departing tenants are taken, meaning the utility providers can receive the correct details so as to send the tenants their final bills. This should stop any debate over who owes what, as the date and meter readings will be documented for both parties (a copy of the checklist is both retained and provided to the tenants).

It’s then time to receive back the keys and check over the condition of the property. This is when it becomes so important to have had a thorough inventory (with photos) in place at the start of the tenancy. Most people’s memory simply isn’t good enough to remember every imperfection that existed (sometimes years before)! It also ensures the process is fair to the tenants; providing proof of any discrepancies, whilst ensuring they aren’t made responsible for something that wasn’t their doing.

My top tip for landlords would be to visit the property a few days before the move-out date to undertake a ‘pre-check’ with the tenants. This basically means inspecting the property and telling the tenants anything that might be an issue in regards to the full return of their security deposit.

This then gives the tenants an opportunity to remedy any issues prior to the actual move-out appointment. Assuming they take this advice on board, it’s good for me as I’ll be able to re-let the property promptly without having to arrange repairs. Moreover, it’s good for the tenants as they won’t have monies unnecessarily deducted from their security deposit (and if they don’t remedy the issues highlighted to them, they can’t say they weren’t warned or given the opportunity to make things right).

If there are any issues that remain when the tenants move-out (subject to fair wear and tear) this should be pointed out to them, noted and discussed in regards to the best way of resolving matters. This is why I recommend tenants are present when checking the property; so that any issues can be raised immediately and the course of action mutually agreed.

This process (including the ‘pre-check’) should ensure the tenants are aware of their responsibilities, are able to return the property in the required condition to receive most, if not all, of their security deposit back and it should minimise any void periods caused by having to put things right.

If you’d like a free copy of my ‘move-out checklist’ please contact me and I’ll be happy to send it to you via e-mail.  

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