Thu 11 May 2023
Holly Butcher, Residential Valuer
Tenants - here's how to prepare your rental property at the end of the tenancy to avoid deposit disputes!
If you are approaching the end of your tenancy agreement, there are a few things you can do to ensure that your check-out inspection goes smoothly and that you receive the full amount of your security deposit when you move out.
When must the inspection occur? The check-out inspection is typically conducted on the last day of the tenancy, as this is the date by which the property must be returned. Your agent cannot require an early inspection or the return of the keys prior to the end of your tenancy.
Here are a few ways to make moving out easier for you and your landlord.
- - Early notification of issues or damage is encouraged.
- - Notify your landlord or the property's letting agent as soon as possible about any property damage, such as a broken appliance, damaged furniture, or peeling wallpaper.
- - If possible, attempt to resolve the issues if the culpability lies with you.
- - Notify the agent or landlord about any general wear and tear issues (which is expected and which you shouldn't be held accountable for).
- - If the home was professionally cleaned before you moved in, having it cleaned again before you move out may be a requirement of your rental agreement; therefore, you will need to arrange for an end-of-tenancy clean.
- - Even if it is not in your tenancy agreement, it would be better to pay for a professional cleaner and have the carpets cleaned professionally to help avoid any potential deductions from your deposit.
- - After you have cleaned, repaired, and removed your belongings, it is strongly advised that you take photographs of every room and close-ups of any furniture or appliances (ideally with a timestamp). This is your opportunity to collect evidence in case a deposit dispute arises, so the more photos you take, the better. Landlords must also be able to justify any deductions they plan to make from a security deposit.
- - Use the original check-in report to determine if the property was damaged, stained, or marked when you moved in and to compare it to the current state of the property. Restore any items that were relocated or stored during your occupancy.
- - You should also complete an inventory when you move out. This will be used by the landlord as evidence if anything from the original check-in report is incorrect. Your landlord or letting agent will contact you to schedule the inventory check-out, which typically occurs a few days before or on the day of your departure.
- - If you believe that your landlord's maintenance costs are excessive, you should obtain your own estimates to use as evidence. If your landlord has not conducted a check-in or check-out inventory, he or she will have a difficult time disputing any deposit deductions with the tenancy deposit scheme.
Moving out of your rental home
When the time comes to move out, you must ensure that the property is locked and that all keys are returned. Typically, keys must be returned by the move-out date (but check with your landlord or agent first) and clearly marked with your name and address. You should request a written confirmation of their return from your landlord or property manager.
If you do not return the keys by the due date, your landlord or property manager may deduct the cost of replacing the locks from your security deposit.
Remember to take a final meter reading on your last day of occupancy. You must notify the utility companies for gas, electricity, and water, which can be done later, but they will require a final meter reading.
You should plan to redirect your mail at least two weeks prior to vacating the property; it is not the responsibility of the landlord or future tenant to forward mail.
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