The checkout is a vital process as it helps you to avoid disputes, and provides evidence to support your case if there is one. However, not all checkouts are equal and there are a number of considerations you need to keep in mind to make sure that yours is suitably thorough. We have set out below our top 10 tips for a great checkout to help you get it right.
1 – Take along your check-in report/inventory
You should have made a detailed check-in report prior to your tenant taking occupation which will be the starting point when arguing if the property has deteriorated.
2 – Invite tenants to the checkout inspection
by giving them reasonable notice to attend and keep a record of the invite so it cannot be disputed afterwards.
3 – Make sure your tenant understands the process
by explaining that it is their chance to put forward their case regarding the state of the property. Once the inspection is over they will have little chance to further argue their case.
4 – Consider using an inventory clerk/letting agent
The process can be complex, particularly when arguing a dispute via a deposit company’s alternative dispute resolution service which in many cases offer no second chance, so getting the claim right the first time is essential.
5 – Be safe
Make sure someone knows where and when the checkout is taking place and if you have any concerns about the tenant consider taking someone else along with you.
6 – Take your time and be thorough
Attending your property when it has been the tenant’s home can feel awkward but you need to cover every aspect of the check-in list properly or you could face problems later on.
7 – Make notes
A detailed checkout inventory is essential when making a claim on the deposit. It is also useful to make a record of your tenant’s admissions or agreements that you may reach. Your tenant should have the opportunity to review the checkout report and ideally should sign it to confirm both its accuracy and their approval.
8 – Bring a camera and take photos
Ideally photos should have a date stamp which demonstrates exactly when and where the photos were taken. Again these are vital when referring the matter to a third party resolution service and can often be the difference between a claims success and its failure.
9 – Use video evidence where appropriate
If photographs don’t show the full picture then considering using a video which can assist in telling the full story.
10 – Carry out the checkout before any repair works take place
Although landlords are often keen to get problems rectified as quickly as possible to enable the next letting, it is important to ensure the checkout is done before any remedial works are started so as to avoid any confusion as to the exact condition of the property upon tenant’s departure.
We hope these tips prove of some use and naturally if you have any queries in relation to the checkout process or indeed how it affects your claim on your tenant’s deposit please do not hesitate to contact us.