COVID-19 may have an impact on some of the things you may wish to do when moving out of a rental property. Please check with the NHS by ringing 111.
A perfectly healthy relationship can often go wrong when it comes to the tenant moving out. At this junction, the common contention is usually over damage to the property, how dirty or filthy the property may or may not be.
A popular one at the top of the list seems to be rubbish and items left behind by the tenant, hoping the landlord will not notice.
It is best to agree on a date and time for both the landlord and tenant to inspect the property jointly and ideally raise any issues at this stage.
It may be difficult to raise an issue regarding the condition of the property, especially when the tenant has moved out. So, landlords need to check their rental property thoroughly.
Plan your move out early!
One of the things most tenants tend to do is leave it until the last two days to deal with moving, cleaning, mending, and repairing anything that needs to be done. So, they can get the full deposit back.
It has always surprised me the number of times some tenants will leave their rubbish behind and expect their deposit back in full.
Tenants need to realise it is not the landlord’s job to clear their rubbish or fix the damage that has been caused.
So, tenants should plan there move out with plenty of time to deal with the things like putting the property back to the same condition it was given to them.
Confirm the move out date
It is essential tenants give written notice in advance compliance with the tenancy terms & conditions of the tenancy. Tenants must provide the letting agent or the landlord written notice of the moving out date.
This will prevent any misunderstanding between the tenant, agent, or the landlord. If the tenant has it writing the date, they are moving out there can be no contention between the parties.
The landlord will appreciate more notice period than less, more notice period you give, it gives the landlord time to find a new suitable property.
Even if you are not sure of the date of your move out, indicate to the landlord you intend to move out with a rough date.
Confirm the inspection date
A tenant should seek written confirmation that the letting agent/landlord has received notice from them regarding the moving date and time.
The tenant should agree on a date and time with the landlord as to when they can carry out a joint inspection.
The tenant should agree the inspection date allowing ample time. It is recommended to carry out a checkout at a time both parties are present.
Moving out Inventory
If the property was let through a letting agent, it is highly likely there will be an inventory. It is essential the tenant checks the inventory and make sure they replace anything removed, damaged, or stained. Reasonable wear and tear are permitted.
Check to see if the furniture has not damaged the walls, sometimes you only notice things like this when you move the furniture. Then it may be too late to do some repairs if you have not left enough time.
Moving out Cleaning Checklist
The tenancy is likely to stipulate the property must be clean and tidy as the tenant found it, as per the inventory. This includes cleaning white goods, oven, and the fridge.
Some of the other things to consider when moving out of a rented property are:
- The tenant should box up what they can. Tenants should disassemble their furniture and fittings and box them up as well. Once the tenant has emptied the let property, then it will be easier to clean and tidy and do repairs that need to be done.
- Tenants must take all their rubbish from the property, do not leave items next to the bins for someone else to deal with them. You need to make sure you have checked the loft, garage, sheds and removed anything that belongs to you. This includes any boxes that belong to you.
- Tenants should consider hiring a cleaning company; cleaning companies are incredibly quick and efficient and generally cost-effective too. However, if a cleaning company has been instructed, all good and well.
If you are going to do it make sure you clean the following, if applicable:
- Garden front & back
- Windows inside and out
- Shed, garage etc
- Carpets, walls, flooring,
- Kitchen, kitchen appliances, white goods
- Curtains and any or items of furniture
Once the house/apartment is clean and looking nice, take plenty of photographs. Make sure you take photos inside of the fridge and oven too. Double-check everything to ensure you have not missed anything out.
Moving out last-minute tenant repairs
A mistake some tenants make is trying to do repairs or to decorate when they lack the expertise. A poorly done job is likely to mean the repair is going to cost even more money.
- You can check on Checkertrade or People Per Hour for various tradespeople local to you. Due to COVID-19, the general demand for all the trades from the building sector is high. You will need to plan, book the trade person early, so things go smoothly.
Utilities, Subscriptions & Services
Once you have moved and removed your items and furniture from the let property. You will need to shut off the water, gas and electric and then take meter readings and relay them to the relevant utility provider.
Let your landlord are letting agent have the meter readings too.
Take photographs of the meter reading and keep the images just in case you need them in the future.
Do not forget to inform and cancel, amend, or change any subscriptions you may have. This might be things like Sky TV or a newspaper round.
Utilities that need to be cancelled or moved maybe things like:
Some of the other things you will need to consider when moving out and you should inform are:
- Bank / Building society
- Loan / Credit Card companies
- Your GP
- Your employer
- Next door neighbours if you want
Contact your council and inform them of the date you are moving out. The council will need your forwarding address too.
Removal Company when moving out
If you are renting a studio or a small flat, you may be able to move out without needing a removal company or a man in a van might just do the job.
However, suppose you are renting an unfurnished 4-bedroom house. In that case, you will likely need a removal truck, so it is worth contacting a few removal companies to obtain quotes.
When moving out of a rental property, it important you contact and book the removal company in ample time. Some of the best most competitive ones can be booked 2 months in advance.
Removal companies are used to moving people, it makes the whole process incredibly efficient and quick when you use a removal company. They generally do not seem to be too expensive either, well worth considering as an option when moving from and to a new family house.
Asking for your Tenancy Deposit back
Upon the final inspection, when moving out of the let property at the checkout stage, you want the landlord to confirm:
- He/she is happy with the property, and there are no outstanding issues with the condition of the property.
- Crucially you want the landlord to confirm he/she will pay back the full deposit without set off. Get this when the checkout has been completed while you are still in the property with the landlord. It may be a good idea to type something out for the landlord/agent to sign that they are happy with the condition of the property, and the deposit will be returned in full.
Can I move out early from my rental property?
Check the terms of your tenancy and see if there is a break clause in the tenancy whereby you can end the tenancy early.
If you have exceptional circumstances, the landlord may be understanding and may agree by consent to end the tenancy early.
However, suppose the property is in disrepair, and the landlord has persistently failed to do the repairs. In that case, a tenant may have the right to terminate the tenancy early.
My landlord threw away my belongings after I moved out, can she/he do that?
Each case is different, and there is a variety of various tenancy agreements, so it is hard to give a concise answer to this question.
You will need to read the terms & condition of the tenancy. If you moved out and gave up possession, then, strictly speaking, you should have taken all your items and belongings upon vacating the rental property.
The landlord may well be entitled to charge you for storage or rent for the period he/she could not re-let the property. It is for this reason tenants need to make sure they plan there move out allowing ample time to remove their belongings etc.
My landlord will not return my deposit, what can I do?
By law, all deposits unless you are a lodger (resident landlord) must be protected under the Government deposit scheme. The landlord is required to protect the tenant’s deposit within 30 days of taking the deposit.
The landlord is required to give the tenant the deposit certificate and the deposit prescribed information.
If the deposit was protected and the landlord is refusing to return your deposit, visit the deposit scheme website and read the process of having your deposit returned to you.
If the deposit was not protected, then you should seek free advice from the citizen advice bureau or Shelter.
My agent/landlord never conducted an inventory when I moved in, so what should I do?
Inventories are essential, so when a tenant moves out, the landlord can deduct any money for damage or rent arrears.
Suppose an inventory has not been done when the property was initially rented to the tenant. In that case, the landlord will find it difficult to prove the damage claimed was not there before the property was let.
Source: The British Landlords Association
Author: Helen Cartwright
Date: 3rd of November 2020
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