When you move out of your rented property you want to ensure you receive all of your deposit back, checkouts safeguard your deposit. A successful checkout will minimize the chances of any deposit dispute.
Prior to checking out
Your landlord will give you the option to attend the checkout stage of your tenancy, we strongly advise you do. Unless stated otherwise in your tenancy agreement, your landlord should let you know your responsibilities of this process two weeks prior to you checking out of the property.
From when you started the tenancy, you should have a copy of your inventory. However, if you don’t you should be able to obtain a copy from your landlord. Having the inventory is a great tool to use when moving out, as it provides an accurate guide to the state of the property when you moved in. You can compare the inventory against the current state of the property to identify areas that need to be restored to their original state.
As well as cleaning the property, there are some additional activities you could look at:
- Check all light bulbs are working
- Tidy up the garden; cut the grass, do some weeding if required, clean the patio area etc.
- Defrost the freezer
- Remove any food from the fridge and freezer
- Ensure any outstanding utility bills are paid in full. You should also check the meter readings, taking a photograph on your phone is a good idea.
- If you have your own telephone land line, let the provider know you are moving (you may be able to keep your number).
- Make sure all items are where they were when you moved in and in their original state.
- Takes steps for your post to be re-directed, you can arrange this with the post office.
- If you have any furniture or other possessions that are yours, but you don’t want to take with you, ensure they are disposed of correctly.
If you’ve completed any repair work that needed doing, cleaned the property effectively and moved any disturbed items back to where they were when you moved in, your checkout process with your landlord should run very smoothly.
During the checkout process, your landlord will be inspecting the property for any damage, cleanliness and overall condition. Your landlord will then cross-reference this against the inventory carried out for when you moved in. To identify any discrepancies such as damaged or even missing items. The finer details of these blemishes will be noted against the inventory.
Your landlord will have considered what is fair wear and tear, depending on how long you have been at the property. However, this will not apply to furnishings that are possibly ripped, chipped or burnt.
If your landlord is satisfied with the state of the property after this inspection, then this is the point where you can both sign and date the checkout report. You are now importantly entitled to receive your deposit back in full.
On the other hand, if your landlord is un-satisfied with the state of the property and wishes to make deductions, then this is the point where they should advise you. Your landlord should tell you what they are deducting for and the reason why they are deducting any amount from the deposit. You now have the option to accept their conclusions, reject them, appeal them or come to a mutual arrangement. The outcome needs to be noted, signed and dated on the form.
If you decide to dispute the return of your deposit, your tenancy deposit protection scheme will offer a free dispute resolution service. This can only happen if both you and your landlord are in agreeance with the process taking place. The service will then request your offer evidence, from here the final decision about your deposit is final. There are a number of common deposit disputes when a tenant leaves a property.
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