Are you a landlord preparing for a new student tenancy?

Will students soon be moving into your property? Set the tone for the tenancy by getting the check-in and inventory right. Helping your tenants understand their obligations, and documenting the condition of the property will help you get the tenancy off to a great start, as well as providing essential evidence if you need to make a claim at the end of the tenancy.

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1. Make sure tenants know their obligations

Your new tenants may not be familiar with the details of the tenancy agreement they signed to secure the property, and many may be first time renters. Help them with a reminder of the key obligations they need to observe, such as rent payments, keeping the property clean, or promptly notifying you of any problems that arise during the tenancy.

2. Put everything in writing

It’s easy to forget exactly what was said in a conversation, and difficult to prove. When communicating with your tenants, make sure you follow up with confirmation in writing or by email and keep a record. This removes any doubt if you need to refer back to something at a later date.

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3. Stick to the facts

The check-in report is essential evidence in the event of a dispute, as it shows the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy. Be detailed and thorough but most of all be factual and honest. Clearly describe the condition of the carpet, walls, furniture and garden, including facts, such as age, wear and existing damage. Using a third-party inventory service is an easy way to create a strong, impartial check-in report.

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4. Take photos

Good quality photos can provide an accurate view of the condition of the property at check-in. Pictures should be clear and in colour. Make sure they’re date-stamped to prove they were taken close to the check-in date.

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5. Get the tenant’s agreement

A check-in report that’s been signed by all parties carries more weight as evidence in the event of a dispute. It shows that everyone agrees with the description of the property and that it’s not just one person’s opinion. If you can’t get a signature from a tenant, an email or text message from them confirming agreement with the check-in report is also good proof.

 

 

Completing the inventory and check-in report during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Coronavirus pandemic means extra care must be exercised to protect from the spread of the virus. Moving house is now permitted in England and Wales, which  means check-in reports can now be completed.

The latest government guidance recommends that letting agents and landlords should consider how best to conduct tenancy check-ins for new tenancies. While broader measures remain in place, taking care to follow government advice on social distancing to minimise possible spread of coronavirus.

One way to do this is to perform check-in property reviews while the property is still vacant, just before the tenants move in. You should still give your tenants the opportunity to review the inventory and request any changes they feel should be made. Send them a copy of the inventory, along with any photographs taken, by email or post and ask them to review it within seven days. Make sure you keep a copy of the email you send to the tenants, or proof of posting, so you have a record if a dispute arises.

Following our advice at this early stage helps you set the right relationship with your tenants, and should lead to a much smoother process when the tenancy ends.

 

Could you ‘Be the adjudicator’?

Test your dispute knowledge and decision making skills with our interactive ‘Be the adjudicator’ case studies and see if you can reach the right conclusion.