Whether they’ve been wonderful or woeful, saying goodbye to tenants can be difficult, and deciding if they’ve left your property in a decent state can be the most stressful part of the whole letting process. As a landlord, it’s important to remain calm and professional during check-out, so here are 5 things you can do to make the process as amicable as possible.
1. Prepare in advance
Several weeks before the agreed moving day, send your tenants a friendly reminder of what you expect them to do. If they need to defrost the freezer, arrange for a carpet clean, or replace any broken light bulbs, let them know. This should all have been written down in your original contract, but chances are your tenants will be too overwhelmed with moving house to check it properly, so help them out and it’ll make life easier for them, and for you.
2. Ask the tenant to attend
It’s always best to conduct your check-out with the tenant present. Any disagreements over damage or wear and tear will be easier to settle – or just to talk about – face to face, rather than chasing after each other through emails or over the phone. Plus, if you do reach an understanding about any work that needs to be done, you can both sign an agreement right away. At the very least, meeting in person is a great way to say a proper goodbye and wish your tenants well in the future.
3. Wait until the last day
Schedule the check-out for the last day of the tenancy. You might think this is a bit risky, in case the current tenants don’t leave the property in the best condition for the next ones, but only when the property is completely empty (as it was when they moved in) will you be able to assess it properly. There won’t be anything for the tenants to hide stains and damage behind, and there won’t be any risk of you signing an agreement and then being landed with extra damage when the tenants start moving their furniture.
4. Take the inventory
Check-out is when the inventory you made at the start of the tenancy really comes into its own, so make sure you take a copy with you. The inventory should list everything that came included in the property (eg: furniture and white goods) and the condition it was in; if you have any photos from when the tenants moved in, take print-outs of those along too. Having the inventory on hand will make it much easier to assess the property with the tenant, and to clearly prove if something is missing or damaged.
5. Understand ‘fair wear and tear’
For a landlord, it’s crucial to know the difference between fair wear and tear, and damage. Fair wear and tear happens naturally over time, and you cannot charge your tenants for it. Damage happens when a tenant does not take reasonable steps to look after something. For example, the hall carpet might look a bit more worn than it did at the start of the tenancy, but that’s to be expected. If it’s covered in muddy footprints and stains, however, it might to time to charge for a professional clean. All good landlords know that a check-out isn’t an excuse to refit the entire house out of the tenant’s pocket. Be fair, and firm when needed, and hopefully your tenant will be too.
Are you interested in letting out a property in Bristol? Contact Gough Quarters to find out more.
All images courtesy of Pixabay