Getting your property ready for the new year, a landlord checklist for changeover season
Preparing for property changeover can mean a lot of work for landlords. You should know at least a month before a tenancy ends whether your tenant plans to move on, and planning in advance of this can save a lot of time and effort.
When a tenant does decide to leave you should remind them of their obligations as part of their tenancy agreement, including any cleaning requirements to retain their deposit. It’s always handy to keep hold of the original inventory or schedule of condition of the property ahead of the changeover too.
Before the tenant moves out
Ensuring the property is in suitable condition for re-letting is an important step to undertake prior to any current tenants vacating.
- Any remedial action required (outstanding payments or arrears)
- Checking electric and gas appliances are functional and in working order, determine whether they have deteriorated since last inspection.
- Overall property condition and cleanliness
- Check for carbon monoxide (CO) and any fire risks that may have arisen since last inspection, for example check the oven and grill are well maintained
Return Of Deposits
After you have checked the property, conducted your inventory check and resolved any outstanding issues, the tenant must vacate the property and return their keys before the release of any remaining deposit.
Don’t forget you can’t deduct any deposit for fair wear and tear as a result of normal living conditions. If there are any disputes with your departing tenant regarding the deposit, you can find assistance through the Tenancy Deposit Protection Schemes website.
If the tenant is in rent arrears, you can deduct the amount they owe from their deposit, or bring a claim to county court. Remember you cannot claim for unpaid rent once the property has been re-let.
Getting your property ready for a new tenant
Once your former tenant has vacated the property and outstanding rent has been collected, it’s time to prepare the property for the next tenant.
Ensuring the property is in tip top condition prior to a new tenant moving in will set the new lease off on the right foot. You can clean any properties you have yourself but this can be a time consuming task. For this reason it may be worth hiring a professional cleaning team to get the job done to a high standard.
Repairing any wear and tear
Scratches and slight damage from a lived-in property is pretty standard, but
if there is significant damage to the property you should seek legal advice. Once this has been determined, arrange for any necessary repairs to be made.
Ahead of a tenancy change it’s a good idea to freshen up the place. A lick of paint on grubby or tired walls can work wonders, and a touch-up of grout in a bathroom can make it look almost brand new. If your property is furnished, check whether furniture is looking tatty or outdated, and replace where you’re able to.
Preparing a new inventory
One of the most important steps when preparing a property, and often the most neglected. Since the Tenancy Deposit Scheme came into place in 2007 the inventory has taken on much more importance to landlords, as if there is a disagreement at the end of a tenancy between landlord and tenant this document can resolve any disputes.
An inventory is a catalogue of a property and its contents, sometimes referred to as a schedule of condition, the inventory has a number of functions:
- It lists all items included in the tenancy
- It is an accurate report of the condition of the property and any furniture being let
- It forms a legally binding contract that sets out the agreement between landlord and tenant
It’s important to list everything included with the property in as much detail as possible. Avoiding ambiguous language will provide a factual view of the property and prevent any dispute between tenant and landlord.
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