Vacating a rental property can be a stressful time. If you are keen to obtain your full deposit, or as much of the deposit as you can, you need to leave in an appropriate manner. This is challenging for some tenants, particularly tenants who didn’t enjoy a satisfactory relationship with their landlord or letting agent but for the greater good, it is vital that you leave on the best possible terms. Therefore, here are some top tips for tenants when vacating a rental property.
Clean the property to the highest possible standard
The most common reason for not receiving the full deposit is leaving an untidy or unclean property. Therefore, cleaning the rental property to the highest possible standard and leaving the property in the best possible condition is crucial for all tenants.
If you are short of time or you don’t have fantastic cleaning skills, hire a cleaning professional or firm to carry out the work for you. Depending on the size of the deposit and how important the deposit is for you, the money spent on professional cleaning services will be worth it. However, if you have time and you are willing to work, buy cleaning products and clean like you have never cleaned before.
Refer to your inventory
One of the most important documents you will have during your rental stay is the inventory list. This should detail the content and condition of every item in the property on the day you move in. Some tenants may think this document is for the benefit of the landlord, allowing them to penalise the tenant for damage or missing items, but inventory lists can protect tenants too.
You should have reviewed and agreed the inventory list when you received it and you should retain it in a safe place during your tenancy. When you begin the cleaning process at the end of the tenancy, refer to the inventory list and ensure that you can provide everything, in the stated condition, when you leave.
Refer to the landlord/letting agent guidance and contract
You should also refer to any guidance you have received from your landlord or letting agent and the terms and conditions of your tenancy. This is vital information which details the condition you are expected to leave the property in, which should help you know what you should clean and to what standards your cleaning should reach.
Any document which details your agreement, or the condition of your property can be referenced. If you can indicate that you have complied with these terms and conditions, you will find that you make a more robust argument to obtain the full deposit or at least as much of your deposit as you can.
Do you need and/or carried out a mail redirect?
One tip to bear in mind when moving home is to carry out a mail redirect. This will minimise the chances of missing out on any important mail and it can minimise the likelihood of you falling victim to identity theft or fraud. You will have no control or say in who moves into the rental property after you, and there is no guarantee that the new tenant will store your mail or dispose of it in an appropriate manner. Therefore, the most effective way to ensure you receive your mail is to update all the organisations who you know send you mail and instruct the Royal Mail to redirect your mail to your new address. This should ensure that you receive all appropriate mail, even from people or companies you have forgotten to inform of the move.
Have you transferred council tax and utilities accounts or information?
It is important to update all organisations you have dealings with about your new address but ensuring local council and energy supplier firms details are correct is important. Being registered for council tax is vital because a failure to be registered correctly can impact on your credit score and cause issues in other ways. Before you leave, allocate time to contact all the organisations who need to know your address.
Have you paid all your rent?
Make sure that your rent is paid in full before you leave. Don’t think that you can exit the property without having paid the rent because the landlord has your deposit, this isn’t what the deposit is used for. If you attempt this, the landlord or letting agent is likely to pursue you for the money and will also argue that they should retain the deposit because of your actions.
Inform your landlord or letting agent of your progress and of any issues as soon as possible
If there are problems with the property or an issue has arisen with the news, inform the landlord. You will find that landlords are happy to help or can be flexible, but you must be honest with them and provide them with as much notice as possible. Doing so will ensure that you receive as much support as you need during a busy or challenging time.
It can be easy to view tenants and landlords as being adversaries, but this doesn’t have to be the case. There is no need for tenants and landlords to become best friends but there should be respect between both parties. While recovering as much of the deposit as possible is likely to be the driving factor behind many tenants wanting to leave as effectively as possible, you may also need a reference from the landlord to arrange your next accommodation.
The dual aspects of recovering funds and obtaining a suitable reference should be all the motivation you need to ensure you leave rental property in the best condition and on the best possible terms.
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