End of tenancy checklist for landlords

End of tenancy checklist for landlords

In an ideal world, tenants would move into your property, pay their rent on time every month, and stay there for the rest of time. Unfortunately, being a landlord will never be that simple!

When a tenant tells you they’re moving out, you’ll have a lot to think about, not least finding another tenant to replace them as soon as possible. But before you do, and before your tenants vacate the property and receive their bond, follow our end-of-tenancy checklist… 

Property inspection

The most important thing you should do when a tenant moves out of your property is to inspect it. This should be done before the tenant receives their bond, as you’ll need to be sure that there’s no damage to the property or furniture. Though some landlords prefer to hand over this responsibility to their lettings agent, doing it yourself allows you to see what state the property was left in and will help you know when it’ll be ready to let again.

  • Drains: Check drains, taps, and plug holes are in good working order. Fixing these can be expensive, so it’s best you know any damage before you put the property back on the market. You should also check the water pressure and flow to determine whether pipes are blocked. If they are, it could be the current tenant’s responsibility.
  • Fittings: Make sure all windows and doors open, lock, and close, and look out for any chips or cracks. If you have laminate or hardwood flooring, you should look for chips and unevenness, and in baths, sinks, and showers, look for cracks, and chips - clear negligence could mean your tenant has breached their agreement. General wear and tear cannot be avoided, but issues may need attention before re-letting.
  • Furniture: If you let a furnished property, check around, underneath, and inside to ensure stains and damage aren’t being covered up. Test furniture - for example, lay down on a bed to ensure its springs haven’t broken, and make sure that everything is in a clean and serviceable condition. Oh, and don’t let tenants leave their unwanted furniture in your property - there’s no guarantee of its safety, cleanliness, or quality.
  • Test electrics: Don’t just rely on visual inspections - check that your white goods and kitchen appliances are working, are clean, and have been well-maintained. Plug points should also be checked to ensure they work and that their covers haven’t been broken or cracked. Light switches, too, should be checked, as should your doorbell, fire and smoke alarms, as well as the security alarm, alarm code, and security panel.
  • Inspect the storage: It’s your tenant’s responsibility to dispose of waste before they vacate the property, so check bins, cupboards, drawers, sheds, garages, lofts, and attics. There is a legal duty on the landlord to take reasonable care of the goods until they are either returned to their owner or disposed of legitimately, but if your tenant has left rubbish in your home, you have a right to invoice them for their removal.

Tenant feedback

Whether you’ve got one property in your portfolio or 100, asking your tenants for feedback on their renting experience can make you a better landlord, and ensure that issues with a lettings agent are addressed before you re-let the property. If a tenant says they reported problems but they were never dealt with, for example, you’ll know there have been issues in communication, and you can work to readdress them to deliver the best possible service.

It’s also worth asking tenants why they’re leaving. It’s likely they’re moving to another town for work, buying a property, or ready for a change, but it could be that they were unhappy with the condition of the property, struggled with difficult neighbours or found a rent hike prohibitive - all issues you can look into and resolve before you put it back on the market.

End-of-tenancy cleaning

Once the property has been inspected and you’ve spoken with your tenants, you’ll need to think about end-of-tenancy cleaning. Though most tenancy agreements have a clause that requires tenants to leave the vacant property in the way it was found, it’s worth putting on your rubber gloves and giving it the once over so it’s in the best possible condition before showing potential tenants around - and to further inspect the property’s nooks and crannies. 

Alternatively, you may want to enlist the help of a professional cleaning company. Not only will it save you time, but you’ll benefit from their expertise, equipment and supplies, and can give them a clear deadline so that you can have your property back on the market ASAP.

Photography and relisting

Once the property has been deep-cleaned and is ready for its next tenant, instruct a lettings agent to put it back on the market, taking photographs and liaising with interested parties. If you’re doing it on your own, then buy a decent camera or instruct a photographer to take quality images of your property - it’s the only way to stand out in today’s competitive market.

Stress the benefits of your property, ask for a reasonable monthly fee, and you’ll soon find a new tenant. The time it takes from a landlord putting the property on the market to a tenant signing paperwork has fallen to an average of just 20 days, so you won’t have long to wait!

Do you have any other end-of-tenancy rituals? Let us know on social media and check back to Billing Better soon for more tips and tricks on maximising the value of your properties.