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Practical Tips For a Pain-Free End of Tenancy Handover

5.1 Practical Tips For a Pain-Free End of Tenancy Handover

The golden rule is, be prepared. If the tenancy is for a fixed term, make a
diary note straightaway of when the tenancy is due to end, and another
date around two months before that. Where appropriate, contact the
tenant to see whether they would be interested in renewing their tenancy,
or whether they plan to leave. If the tenant is going to leave, there are a
number of practical matters that the landlord can help trigger which make
for a smooth ending to a tenancy:

• arranging a joint inspection of the property to agree on any
damage that needs rectifying or decoration that might need
undertaking. Landlords should take a check-list with them;

• providing information about the cleaning required to return
the property in an acceptable condition (it is often worth
reminding the tenant of their obligations);

• advising on the tenant taking final readings of their utility bills
and liaising with suppliers about issuing and paying final bills;

• making arrangements for the handover of any keys.

The more attention that is paid to ending the tenancy in an orderly manner
the less likely it is that there will be any problems or misunderstanding
about how the tenancy can best come to an end. It is usually a good idea
to confirm anything that is agreed with the tenant in writing. Follow up any
problems as quickly as possible – and record them in writing.

If the tenant does not hand the property back in the condition required
by the tenancy agreement, the landlord may be entitled to make a charge
against the deposit. Chapter 3 of this manual deals with returning tenants’
deposits and claiming deductions. The adjudication services operated by
the tenancy deposit protection schemes rely heavily on comparisons of
check-in and check-out reports, so the better the quality of any check-
in and check-out reports, the more likely it is that the proposed deposit
deduction will be awarded to the landlord. Make sure that all photographs
are clearly labelled and dated.

If the accounts for gas, electricity, water and telephone are in the name
of the tenant, then the payment of these bills is a matter between the
tenant and the supplier, and the supplier cannot require the landlord to
pay. Landlords can then contact the utility provider easily at the end of the
tenancy. As there are so many different suppliers, it is helpful to notify the
new tenant of the name of the existing suppliers if known.

If the gas or electricity company is trying to charge the landlord when they
have been notified of the name of the new consumer (tenant), information
about how to proceed can be obtained from www.consumerfocus.org.uk
which also gives information on how to make an energy-related complaint.
Landlords can also call Consumer Direct on 0845 04 05 06 for consumer
advice.