What to do when your tenants tell you they’re moving out
Your tenants have told you they're moving out. Before you can start to think of deposit repayments, there are a few things you should take care of first.
1. The check-out process
The check-out is one of the most important events in a tenancy. It’s a chance for you and your tenants to review the condition of the property. You can agree any deposit deductions and gather evidence to support a claim. If it goes well, and there's an open and honest discussion about the deposit, then it's likely everyone will feel that they've had a fair outcome. If the check-out is poor, or somebody fails to attend, disagreements about the deposit repayment are far more likely to arise.
Check-out should take place as soon as possible after the tenant has returned the keys. The longer you leave it, the more doubt arises that any problems are a result of the tenant’s activity.
Where possible, you should try to make sure that the tenant attends the check-out process. Note their comments about the property condition, and if they disagree with anything during the process. This will help when discussing deductions. Communication at this early stage is vital when trying to resolve issues.
2. Agreeing deductions with your tenant
The check-out is a great opportunity for you to agree deductions with the tenants. By reviewing the tenancy agreement, inventory and property condition together, you can both agree if anything is awry. Together you can agree any deductions which will smooth the repayment process.
3. Gathering evidence to support claims for deposit deductions
If you plan to claim some of the deposit the check-out is also the time to collect evidence about the condition of the property.
The best evidence will usually:
› have been prepared by a third party such as a professional inventory clerk
› contain dated photos
› have been signed by the tenant
Your check-out evidence may be vital to the success of any deposit claim you make.
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