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Tenant check in and property handover

The ‘tenant check in’ is probably the most intensive of all landlord tasks. It’s a case of making sure that not only your property is in full letable state, but also you know exactly what is there and also that the all the legal niceties are full sorted out before you leave your new tenant in charge of your valuable buy-to-let investment.

I’ve not done a tenant check in and property handover for some time so I’m a little rusty. I thought I’d right this brief guide for landlords as much as a refresher for myself so that I get it right!

The essentials

As is the case of most landlord stuff, the essential thing is to be prepared and organised. Then most things to do with letting your property will just flow. The ‘check in’ is more stressful than all the other responsibilities of being a landlord is that there are many things that you have to do at the same time to make sure that the tenancy gets off to a smooth start.

Vetting your tenants

Firstly, it’s important that you have thoroughly vetted your tenants and if you have a tenant guarantor the guarantor. Look at the section vetting your tenant within the Landlords Bible for fuller detail.

You should be fully happy with your tenant before contemplating granting them a tenancy and getting to the stage of signing the tenancy agreement.

In my case because I’m letting the property to two 19 year olds without any real credit history I felt I needed a tenant guarantor. Once you have the tenant guarantor agreement in place alongside the signed tenancy agreement. The next stage is to meet the tenants for the formal ‘check in’ and the property handover.

Preparing the inventory

An essential part of the property handover is the preparation of the property inventory. Having an accurate inventory is vital with the arrival of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme where a landlord is no longer judge and jury on the return of the tenants deposit. I’m particularly conscious that my tenants are inexperienced renters and that they may not understand their responsibilities to return the rental property in the same condition as they found it. Obviously there is such as thing as ‘fair wear and tear’, but I am making sure that I have plenty of images of my property and a thorough description before handing over my ‘little maisonette’ to a duo of potentially rampant cricketers.

The property handover

The most important thing is to get all the documents signed; the tenancy agreement, the guarantor forms, the section 213 notice and the inventory. I will go through a prepared inventory on the day with the tenants noting down any of their suggested amendments before we are both happy to sign.

To read a full guide on the property handover.

The bits that I need to pay particular attention to are:

1. Making sure that they know how to use the washing machine (I don’t want to find out that the things being knackered because of two ham fisted teenagers don’t know how to operate it)
2. The location of the RCD unit (a modern version of the fuse box). This will save me getting called out if the lights suddenly go out!
3. How the central heating works and what to look for in the system pressure
4. Where the electricity, gas and water meters are located so they know where to go when they need to be read.
5. How the oven and grill works (there is a difference!)

On top of preparing for the property handover, because I’m moving out of this property, I’ve got to find time to pack. In other words it’s going to be a busy old time for me so wish me luck!

Any questions on the tenant check in or property handover have a look at our landlord legal forum but don’t forget if you don’t receive a confirmation email straight away this is why.

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