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Check out and end of tenancy tips for tenants

As a tenant when you move into a new property you’ll likely be asked to pay a deposit to safeguard your obligations to the tenancy, the property and the landlord. The deposit will usually be equal to around four to seven weeks’ rent, depending on various factors.Be sure you get a receipt for any funds you pay at the very outset to show that you have paid the funds to the agent or landlord.

You will pay the deposit to the landlord or the agent and this will be held in relation to the undertaking of your tenancy and the condition of the property.

If you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy in England and Wales, which started on or after 6th April 2007 where a deposit was taken, that deposit must be protected in one of the government approved Tenancy Deposit Protection Schemes. The deposit is administered by the scheme throughout the tenancy and will be returned in full shortly after the end of the tenancy, providing the property is returned in the same condition as you found it at the start of the tenancy; allowing for some fair wear and tear. This process is broadly known as the check out.

Bournemouth Property Estate Agent Tenancy Advice

Here are our tips to help you during the check-out process and ultimately get your deposit back and avoid disputes:

  • Ensure a detailed inventory is done at the start and end of the tenancy, listing everything in the property and its state and condition
  • Insist on seeing a copy and check it is correct. Tell the landlord or agent in writing if it’s wrong
  • If the landlord or agent doesn’t do an inventory, make one yourself as soon as you move in Check and list everything carefully – look at the carpets, on both sides of mattresses, behind wardrobes etc – and note all damages, marks or scratches, as well as how clean everything is. Take photos where possible
  • Sign and date the inventory and send a copy to the landlord or agent
  • Take care of the property while you live there, be sure to clean and air the property regularly. Adequately heat and ventilate the property to reduce or remove any mould build ups and ensure that should you change anything, colour schemes, picture hooks, décor etc then get permission to do so before doing it.
  • Before vacating the property be sure to check the ingoing inventory against the current condition, you may be required at this stage to replace and broken item, repaint damaged areas and even professionally clean the oven and/or white goods.
  • You may be required, as a condition of the agreement, to have carpets professionally steam cleaned to ensure cleanliness. Be sure to keep evidence that you have undertaken this cleaning.
  • Be sure to advise utility companies of your move, give them your forwarding address and meter readings from the day you vacate to ensure you are paying for the utilities you have used.

The best advice we can give you, as a tenant, to ensure your deposit is returned in full is carefully return the property back to the condition in which it was given to you, return furniture to the rooms in which it was when you entered the property and ensure a full clean / carpet clean is undertaken. This was the property should be as close to the ingoing inventory as possible, there will be some wear and tear and this is to be expected but be sure this has not overflowed into damage.

If you return the property to the condition in which it was given to you, if you have paid all rents owing and move out on the day / return keys on the day you are asked to then there should be no real reason that a deposit is withheld or claimed from.