Landlords are continually reminded of the importance of carrying out a full inventory check when a tenant moves and for when they move out of a property – but tenants do not always have the same commitment.
Now the Deposit Protection Service (DPS) says that nearly half of tenants failed to attend the checkout process when their tenancy came to an end. This is, they say, the crucial process to record the property's condition and then comparing it to when the tenant moved in.
Of 8,000 tenants that were surveyed, 48% said they had not attended the checkout.
In addition, 46% of tenants said they had not done so because they had not been informed of the checkout time or had not been invited.
‘Checkout is an important stage of a tenancy’
The managing director of DPS, Julian Foster, said: ‘The checkout is an important stage of a tenancy and by viewing and discussing the property's condition together, landlords and tenants can resolve problems more quickly. There can also help prevent disputes particularly over the return of the tenant's deposit.’
He added: ‘It’s vital that landlords enable tenants to attend – and that tenants go along when invited.’ The DPS has also published a list of tips for landlords to help ensure that a landlord’s checkout procedures are successful.
Among the advice is for landlords to take the check-in report which would have been signed by the tenant to confirm the original condition of the property. This will act as an important reference point for discussions and further inspections.
Give tenants enough notice to attend the checkout
It is also important to give tenants enough notice and to invite them in writing to attend the checkout, and to make sure they understand the process, as this gives the tenant the opportunity to explain the state of the property and to answer any questions you might have.
This might also be the opportunity, says the DPS, for a landlord to use the services of an inventory clerk who will have the experience to deal with any potential issues that arise. It's also crucial that landlords take their time when undertaking the checkout process, and that they take meticulous notes (which should be signed and dated by the tenant) and collect visual evidence of any damage or potential issues.
Property safety issues highlighted
Meanwhile, one insurance firm is highlighting landlords’ legal requirements to offer a safe home for those who are stepping into the buy to let sector for the first time.
Investment property is becoming increasingly popular, particularly for those aged over 50, with many new landlords opting to access their pension pot to buy a rental property, and now Saga Landlord Insurance has revealed that 8 out of 10 landlords who are new to the industry have a mandatory Gas Safety Certificate, and many are keen to comply with their legal responsibilities.