Are you a landlord with one or more properties, if so you may be well aware of problems that can arise when a tenant decides to move out of your property. The goal of having a rental property is usually to provide an income stream to the landlord, so having it sit empty is not ideal for them. Consequently, it is important when a tenant leaves you are able to get the property ready for potential new tenants and back on the market as quickly as possible. So here are five things you should do to ensure the process goes smoothly. 

Serving Notice

If a tenancy agreement is about to expire or you have decided you want to reclaim possession of your property from the current occupants you are required to serve notice. As a landlord, you are able to serve a Section 21 notice however you will need to give a minimum of two months written notice for them to vacate the property. 

This also applies if the roles are reversed, and a tenant wishes to vacate the property they are required to give you a period of notice. The length of this will be largely dependent on the type of tenancy agreement that is in place. If you have a periodic tenancy then they are required to give you one monthsnotice, whereas a rolling agreement could be either a calendar monthsnotice or four weeks dependent on whether rent was paid monthly or weekly.

If a tenant has damaged the property or failed to keep up payments you can serve a section 8 notice which can reduce the notice period to two weeks. 

Do an Inspection of the Property 

Before your tenant moves out it is important to do a thorough inspection of the property. This will allow you to check for any potential damage or maintenance issues that need to be taken out of the deposit you are holding. It will also give you time to resolve any issues before a new tenant moves in. Always try and arrange the inspection for when the tenant is at the property so you can discuss issues together.

In all cases, it is the responsibility of the tenant to ensure the property is left in the same condition as when they took possession of it. However, you should be aware that there is a need to take into account natural wear and tear. Make sure you document any issues with photos that are useful should there be a dispute. 

If your property has outside space they will need to check that as well, along with all appliances including smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. 

Contact Bill Suppliers and the Council 

Although it is generally the responsibility of the tenant to inform utility companies and notify them they are leaving, it is also worth you getting in touch with them on behalf of your tenant. 

It is advisable to take meter readings when inspecting the property to ensure any outstanding bills have been taken care of. This will allow you to deduct any outstanding payments from your tenant’s deposit should the need arise. 

The same thing applies with regards to your tenant contacting the council tax department regarding a change of address. However, our advice would be to contact the council yourself to ensure you receive any rebates available.

Releasing Your Tenants Deposit  

As we outlined before any potential costs can be claimed from your tenant’s deposit. This includes things such as unpaid rent, damage, missing items or cleaning costs. You have a responsibility to return your deposit within ten days of an agreement on the amount being reached.

If there is a dispute over the amount, then the tenancy deposit scheme will hold onto the deposit until an agreement is reached. 

Consider Changing the Locks 

While a tenant may return your keys it is usually impossible to be sure that there are no copies in the hands of strangers. It may be worth considering employing the services of a Durham Locksmith or one from your particular area to fit new locks. While this may be seen as an unnecessary expense it often pays to be careful. By changing the locks you can rest assured that only authorised people have keys to the property. 

Once all these things have been done you are ready to welcome your new tenant into the property with peace of mind that everything is as it should be.