5 Steps to Easier End-Of-Tenancies
[Image source: Deposit photos]
It is in everyone’s interests to ensure the end of a tenancy is handled as smoothly as possible. While there is a lot to think about, making preparations early on means it doesn’t need to be a headache.
Read on for five steps to easier end-of-tenancies.
1. Give the appropriate notice period
The end of a tenancy starts with your tenants giving you notice or you terminating their tenancy. The exact amount of notice required will depend on the terms of the contract but a minimum of four weeks is usually required from either party.
This period allows time for a tenant to find a new property and remove their belongings from their current one. It also provides you with some time to seek new tenants or list the property for sale if you plan to reduce your letting portfolio.
Before the deadline for ending the tenancy comes around, it’s wise to be prepared for what you will need to do as a landlord. There are various things to consider including your legal responsibilities, such as:
- requesting the release of your tenants’ deposit from the tenancy deposit scheme
- inspecting the property and
- making any necessary repairs and renovations.
2. Inspect the property
Before you return your tenant’s deposit it’s essential to visit the property and conduct a thorough inspection of the furnishings, fittings and goods. It’s good practice to draw up a property inventory at the start of a tenancy as it’s this document that you can refer to when it’s time for your tenants to leave.
A property inventory details the contents and condition of the property at the start of a tenancy. It should include a full list of fixed features, from walls and ceilings to cupboards and doors, as well as any appliances and fittings. It’s important to remember any external buildings such as sheds or greenhouses and make a note of their condition and contents too.
Having an inventory means that when you inspect the property at the end of a tenancy you can compare its current condition with the way it was at the start. You can then make any relevant deductions for damage or missing items from the deposit. This reduces the chance of any disputes over deposits.
3. Return your tenant’s deposit
Once you have thoroughly inspected the property and agreed upon the cost of any damage or missing items with your tenants, you must return your tenants’ remaining deposit within ten days. Since 2007 it has been a legal requirement that landlords must put deposits in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme for any property rented on an assured shorthold tenancy.
It is simple to return a deposit via the online account you will hold for the tenancy deposit scheme. But bear in mind that if you plan to make deductions from the deposit you should be able to provide evidence for your reasons in the case of a dispute.
As long as your tenants agree with your repayment instruction or claim the deposit will usually be released in a couple of days.
4. Enlist professional help with cleaning
Your tenants have responsibility for leaving the property as clean as possible when they move out. But this doesn’t mean it’s going to be ready for the next tenants to move straight in.
In order to benefit most from rising rental yields and attract reliable new tenants it’s important to show off the property in its best light. Depending on the length of the previous tenancy that could mean a thorough deep clean is recommended.
You could do this yourself, of course, but it’s usually better left to professional cleaners. Agencies that specialise in end-of-tenancy cleaning services are used to carrying out the many tasks required to leave a property looking (almost) like new
The specifics of what is needed will depend on the state in which the property has been left. But you should expect a clean to include jobs such as cleaning of internal and external windows, all carpets and upholstery cleaned; the kitchen and bathroom de-greased and deep-cleaned and the oven, hob and extractor thoroughly cleaned.
5. Carry out repairs and renovations
With any luck, you won’t need to undertake any significant work when your tenants move out. If the property is well-maintained and generally sound, the most that will probably be required is giving walls and woodwork a fresh coat of paint.
However, it is your responsibility as a landlord to make any necessary repairs to basins, sinks, baths and other sanitary fittings, maintain heating and hot water systems and ensure the building is in a good condition structurally. The longer you spend on these tasks, the more time you will lose out on rent or leave your property vacant and vulnerable to break ins. So it often pays to enlist professional services for security support or property maintenance. Whether it’s clearing gutters, supplying new appliances, safeguarding empty homes or changing the locks, these specialist teams have the experience and capacity to get the job done quickly and efficiently.
By bringing in professional support - and putting processes in place in good time - you’ll cut down on lost income and be ready for another successful tenancy.