Itinerary etiquette and tenant changeover season explained
Property changeover season is an important time for landlords focused on keeping a profitable housing portfolio. This is the period of time when existing tenants move out and new ones are found and moved in. Property changeover season can occur at any point of the year but with homes popular with students this often happens during the late summer and early autumn months when university terms end.
But no matter the time of year, it’s vital to manage this transition in the most efficient manner possible. Below, we’ll look at everything you need to know and how best to prepare for this important time.
Property changeover season can involve a lot of work for landlords so advance planning is essential for a smooth handover between occupants. In practically all cases, the tenant will let you know at least a month before they end their tenancy so this is when the work begins. Having a clear schedule will save a lot of time and energy further down the line.
Before the Tenant Moves Out
To make sure the property is suitable for re-letting, there are a number of steps to take while it’s still occupied.
First, make sure the tenant’s bills are all up to date. If they have unpaid payments it could prove more difficult to chase once they’ve moved on so make this a priority.
Arrange an inspection at the property to ensure everything is in good working order, paying close attention to major appliances and features such as the boiler, central heating, white goods, and light fittings. Ideally, the tenant will have informed you of any issues but this isn’t always the case and being forewarned means you can plan repairs as soon as possible.
The inspection will also let you know about the overall condition of the property. Some minor repairs or a deep clean might prove necessary, and again, the more time you have to arrange this the better.
You’ll need to check the carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to make sure they’re in full working order.
Look at any other potential fire risks such as the condition of plug sockets and at-risk items such as the oven, hob and grill. Make a list beforehand so you know exactly what needs your attention.
Returning The Deposit
First, do a comprehensive inventory check to see if any items need repairing or replacing. Keep in mind that you can’t make deductions from the deposit for fair wear and tear due to normal use or lapse of time, such as faded curtains, so only take deductions for avoidable issues due to the actions or inaction of the tenant. If they dispute the number of deductions, it’ll have to be resolved through the tenancy deposit protection scheme.
Similarly, if the tenant is behind on their rent you can deduct this money from their deposit. If the value exceeds the amount of the deposit you can bring a claim to county court. Make sure you do this before the property has a new tenant as unpaid rent can’t be claimed back after this point.
Finally, if you’re satisfied that the above issues have been settled, once the tenant has vacated the property and handed over the keys you should release the remaining deposit.
Preparing the Property for a New Tenant
As soon as the property is empty, it’s time to prepare it for the next tenant. There are two key elements to keep in mind:
Cleaning: It’s good practice to have your property in good condition for every new tenant. You could do this yourself but it’s often easier and quicker to hire a professional cleaning company to do things to a high standard.
Repairs: Natural wear and tear are to be expected from any property, so this in-between stage is a good opportunity to bring the fixtures and fittings back up to scratch. A quick coat of paint can revitalize a room, leading to happy tenants and making the empty period as short as possible. If your property is furnished, look at replacing or recovering items such as sofas and chairs, especially if they’re starting to show their age.
Preparing a new inventory is often overlooked but it’s easily one of the most important factors when getting a property set up for a new tenant. This document can quickly resolve disagreements between landlord and tenant at the end of the tenancy, particularly since the introduction of the Tenant Deposit Scheme in 2007.
But what do you need to know? The inventory should list everything included with the property in as much detail as possible, covering the condition, type, brand, etc. It serves as an accurate report of the condition of the property and any furniture and fittings included. Include photos of every item and the property itself at the very start of the property – then take photos again once the tenant has moved out so they can be compared at a single glance.
Finally, there are a number of legal requirements every landlord must obey when letting out a property. It’s essential that your property is safe and free from health hazards, so as well as electrical and gas safety certificates, you also need to provide an Energy Performance Certificate which needs to be produced by an approved domestic energy assessor and costs upwards of approximately £60. Landlords are also obliged to perform a legionella risk assessment and various fire safety checks, such as ensuring all furniture is safe and fire extinguishers are provided in houses of multiple occupancies (HMOs)
You’ll also need to take out a landlord insurance policy, which can include buildings insurance, landlords’ contents insurance and property owners’ liability insurance. The property changeover season is a good opportunity to shop around for the best cover at an affordable price.
Let homes4u Do the Hard Work
There’s a lot to keep on top of during property changeover season and it’s easy to lose track, which could lead to serious issues down the line. So why not let our experienced team at homes4u take over? With over three decades of property management experience, we can help with every stage of the process in the most efficient way possible, no matter what the circumstances. If you want property changeover season to run smoothly, simply email or ring our expert team at 0161 448 4800.