Making the final checks
During a move-out inspection, the landlord and the tenant have the opportunity to examine together each room of the property for damages, unapproved modifications, and evidence of illegal activities. Scheduling this together with the tenant might be tricky, but it’s important that both parties are present to ensure a fair inspection.
Throughout the process, the landlord seeks out damage beyond normal wear and tear as well as items not mutually agreed upon or covered in the tenancy agreement, such as painting the walls different colours. The landlord compares the current condition of the property to the beginning of the tenancy, when the move-in inspection was performed and properly documented using a checklist or downloaded template.
Most importantly, the move-out inspection gives the landlord insight into any repairs, corrections, and cleaning that need to be done, whether the tenant is at fault or not. The end-of-tenancy inspection also helps evaluate what needs to be taken out of the tenant’s security deposit. Performing a proper move-out inspection is required in any government-approved tenancy deposit scheme—remember that it is a legal obligation that landlords must protect any deposit taken at the start of the tenancy in such a scheme.
Create a checklist and follow it closely
Having a checklist is essential during a move-out inspection so that nothing is forgotten. The checklist should be based on an inventory of the premises, including all fixtures, fittings, and furniture. It’s easiest to use the same template at the beginning of the tenancy and during regular inspections and to ensure any issues are clearly documented. Download a template from a trusted site such as Sharehouse to protect yourself and be as complete as possible. Any checklist should naturally include the following items:
- general condition of the property, including rubbish, dirt, pests, and exterior care
- damp and mould
- water leakage and signs of water damage
- condition of the furniture, walls, appliances (i.e. ovens), and any other parts of the property beyond normal wear and tear
- state of the electric and/or gas meters, looking for tampering or misuse
- operation of the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- evidence of criminal activity on the property.
Taking photos and/or videos and attaching them to the inspection report is also a great way to clarify and fully document problems. Then, if any issues have been raised, it’s time to consider next steps and outcomes.
What to do if there is a dispute
Should tenants wish to dispute any charges levied as a result of the move-out inspection, they may do so via documents provided by the government. However, the move-out inspection does not need to have this specific outcome. Tenants should be informed of any issues that have been raised and should be given a chance to resolve them and correct issues themselves to avoid losing their security deposits. Failure to offer tenants a way to rectify the situation themselves might make things more difficult for you as a landlord if the matter were later taken to tribunal.
Once these issues have been settled with the tenant, it is time to inform the deposit protection scheme of the outcome. Depending on the type of deposit protection scheme, the scheme might now pay the agreed-upon amounts to both parties within 10 days, or in the case of insurance-based schemes, you will have to pay the tenant the correct amount within the same timeframe.
The move-out inspection is a vital component of protecting your investment as a landlord. It serves to inform you of the condition of the property as well as both yours and the tenant’s responsibilities for what comes next. Using Sharehouse’s resources will give yourself every opportunity to do things the right way.