It’s the end of another academic year. If your tenants are undergraduates and they have not already left, they soon will. It’s now time to conduct your end-of-year moving-out check. Ideally, you should have one responsible student present. If you can’t conduct the check before the final student has left, you should request the presence of one student willing and able to accompany you on the check.
Check for Cleanliness
It’s imperative that they conduct a thorough clean unless you have specifically stated that they need not do so. For example, you might have a contracted or employed cleaner for your property or properties. It should be in the same state when the next students move in. If it’s not clean to a sufficient standard, you have the right to deduct the cost of cleaning from their deposit when the time comes.
Check for Signs of Damage
Here, you are looking for signs of damage that were not there before – carpet stains or burns, cracked windows, broken furniture and so on. If there was any damage prior to moving in, you should already have a record of it and so should your students. If it is not their fault, you can’t deduct anything from their deposit. It’s also wise to make anything damaged for more than a year a repair priority.
Check They’ve Left Nothing Behind
As well as ensuring that everything that should be in the property is actually present, you should check that they aren’t leaving behind their unwanted property. It’s tempting for tenants to leave broken or unwanted possessions. If the next students can use it, then keep it – it’s one expense neither you nor the next lot of students will incur. What your outgoing students shouldn’t be doing is leaving rubbish for you to dispose of it.
Check All Light Fittings and Smoke Detectors
Tenants are obliged to replaced bulbs that no longer work and batteries in smoke detectors. The latter is a safety hazard and therefore a legal requirement for you. This should be one of your first checks – that the lights are working and the smoke alarms react when the test button is pressed. Most landlords expect the tenants to keep these elements of daily living up to date and the tenants should be aware that they should replace bulbs even when close to the end of their tenancy.
A Special Note on Deposits
You are certainly entitled to deduct any reasonable cost as a penalty for students not fulfilling their part of the contract. However, in a case earlier this year, students successfully sued their former landlord for penalising them for general wear and tear and vastly overstating the cost of the maintenance. Don’t be tempted to fall into this trap – it’s not the purpose of the deposit.