Tenants moving on? Don’t panic…make everything go as smoothly as possible with our top tips when tenants give notice and bag yourself a pain-free end of tenancy:
1. Advertise, advertise advertise…
No matter how popular an area or how sought-after your rental house or apartment is, it takes time to find the right tenant. Remember, unless they need to move urgently, most prospective candidates will have to give notice on their existing rental property, so factor this in to your time frame. Get your property on the market as soon as your current tenant gives notice, and definitely before they move out – that way, you’ll give yourself the best possible chance of securing the perfect tenant and, crucially, minimise (or better still, avoid) any of those unwanted void periods during your rental.
2. Inspection is key
Next, conduct an initial inspection. A short, superficial visit will help you gauge the general condition of the property and will give you an immediate feel for its overall condition and cleanliness; if any repainting is required, you can line that up in advance too. Agree a mutually convenient time and refer the tenant to their original tenancy agreement and inventory if you have one, so that they know exactly what is expected. After your inspection, tell the tenant about any specific remedial action that needs to be taken before they leave and record this in writing, just so everyone knows where they stand. It’s no guarantee that your tenant will necessarily carry out what you’ve asked them to do, but at least you have provided them with the opportunity to address anything before you return their deposit. Which leads us onto the next of our top tips when tenants give notice…
Not surprisingly, cleaning is the number one cause of disputes between landlords and their tenants at the end of a tenancy and the number one reason deductions are made from the deposit. Seize the initiative by reminding the tenant in writing before the tenancy ends about their cleaning obligations under the lease. If you have photos showing the condition of the house or apartment when the tenant first moved in, enclose copies of these with your letter to help reinforce the message and get across the level of cleanliness you expect on their departure. Remind them of the basics: all rubbish must be removed from the property, bins emptied and cleaned, fridges and freezers defrosted, cleaned and turned off and any other appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers emptied and cleaned. It may sound obvious, but setting it out clearly in advance can help avoid any disputes further down the line.
4. Check out
On the day the tenant is moving out, you’ll need to do a proper inspection of the rental property and this is where a property inventory, drawn up when your tenant originally moved in, will prove invaluable. An independent inventory carried out by a professional will be impartial and likely to carry more weight than one compiled solely by you. Note down any major issues as you go around the house or apartment but remember to be reasonable: general wear and tear is allowed, so don’t go in too heavy handed in the first instance. Some things will be obvious – broken electrical and gas appliances, for example, but other things such as a blocked drain can be harder to spot and expensive to fix. Take the time to check them out properly. What about the loft or garage? Has this been completely emptied? What state is the garden in? Has all the furniture be returned to its original position? Note everything down and cross reference is against your original inventory as you go.
Last but by no means least, you’ll need to return the tenant’s deposit, minus any monies owed for cleaning or repairs. Obtain any quotes or estimates you need for making good items the tenant is responsible for and share these with your tenant so you can agree what amount is being deducted. Disputes around this stage can sometimes get heated, which is why it often helps to have an experienced lettings agent on board so they can help you safely navigate your way through the changeover. A reputable agent will also help you organise any works that need doing and, importantly, ensure that you comply with all the necessary regulations before you move any new tenant into your house or apartment – which, if you’ve followed our top 5 tips when tenants give notice to the letter, you’ve hopefully got lined up already!
So that’s our top tips when tenants give notice. Do you need help managing your house or apartment to rent in and around Bath? Our wealth of experience and unique understanding of the Bath lettings market puts us in a unique position to assist you. Call our Head of Lettings, Fiona Patton, on 01225 618860 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your property needs, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter today. From 24/7 property management and inspections to renewals and deposits, we understand what matters to you.