Check-outs are seemingly becoming a part of the tenancy process which is neglected by large numbers of landlords and tenants.
During a check-out, a landlord or the agent that represents them records the condition of the rental property and compares this to the condition that was recorded at check in.
The purpose of the process is to allow both sides of the rental transaction to discuss the property's condition and resolve any issues efficiently and fairly, aiming to reduce the chances of a formal dispute.
Last month one of the three Government-approved tenancy deposit protection schemes, the Deposit Protection Service (DPS), published a report with some very interesting and quite worrying statistics.
The DPS surveyed over 8,000 tenants and found that 48% had not attended their check-out.
What's more, 46% of those didn't attend said they had either not been invited or were not informed of the date or time by their landlord or letting agent.
It would seem that landlords need to do more to give their tenant the opportunity to attend check-out and that some tenants need to try harder to attend the event when given the chance.
“Checkouts are one of the most important stages of any tenancy. It’s vital that landlords enable tenants to attend – and that tenants go along when invited,” says Julian Foster, Managing Director of the DPS.
We've spoken to Pat Barber, Chair of the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks, known as the AIIC, and she says: “We were disappointed to see that so many tenants didn't attend check-out and that almost half of these non-attendees were not invited or made aware of the arrangements. We are urging landlords and their agents to invite and remind their tenants about their check-out.”
Why are check-outs so important?
Put simply, a successful check-out can help reduce the chance of a deposit dispute. It provides a landlord with a clear and more impartial means of documenting the state of the property between the beginning and the end of a tenancy.
A check-out is the tenant's opportunity to put their case across and physically show or explain the detail behind any damage or dilapidations incurred during the tenancy.
What's more, it's a situation where face-to-face communication really comes into its own. If a landlord and their tenant are both in the property at the same time they can discuss and negotiate any issues which will significantly help to reduce the likelihood of a formal dispute – which can of course be costly, stressful and time-consuming.
As we move into one of the busiest periods of rental activity with students returning to university and many families looking to relocate before Christmas and New Year, now is the time for landlords to recognise the importance of the check-in/check-out process and encourage their tenants to attend where possible.