Ending A Tenancy
One of the most common questions I get from a Landlord and Tenant is what happens at the end of a tenancy?
Below is a rough overview of what happens at the end of a Tenancy, please note these will vary from agent to agent or landlord to landlord.
Terminating a tenancy
For a tenant to end a tenancy, several things need to be checked. First of all refer to the latest signed copy of the Tenancy Agreement and check you are not in a fixed term period, also check the notice period to end a tenancy, this will vary from 1-2 months. Notice will need to be given in writing to your Landlord or Agent, this can be by sending a formal letter or via email. If the tenancy is joint and several all parties will need to sign the letter or send individual emails to confirm notice.
For a landlord to end a tenancy, a form 6A (section 21) needs to be served upon the tenants. This is a 2 month notice period and if it's posted you need to add on a few days for the letter to go through the postal system. ALWAYS, obtain proof of posting in case tenants don't vacate and the matter is taken to court to seek a possession order. If the notice is hand delivered take someone with you to the property as an eye witness and get them to photograph you posting the letter through the door, make sure the photo is date and time stamped again if the matter is taken to court as evidence.
Preparing the property
Make sure the property is left in the same clean condition as when you moved in, if this was professionally cleaned this is the condition you need to get the property back to. If you are comfortable cleaning the property to a professional standard that's acceptable eliminating the need to get a cleaning company in.
If items were left in the property and they have been removed and stored, get them all back out and place them back where they were. It will save the Inventory Clerk going around looking for items and a possible deduction being proposed from the deposit for a missing item that was tucked away in a cupboard/loft all along.
On the final day of the tenancy an Inventory Clerk or the Landlord will come and formally check the tenants out of the property. The clerk will go round the property with the Inventory that was conducted at the beginning of the tenancy and make notes of any differences in the property condition taking into account fair wear and tear. They will also take any keys to relinquish responsibility of the property.
The Inventory Clerk will write up a formal Check Out Report which will be emailed to the Landlord or Letting Agent. This report will be forwarded to the ex-tenants.
The landlord has 10 working days from the end of the tenancy to inform the ex-tenants in writing if deductions will be proposed from the deposit, at this stage figures don't need to be known but the ex-tenants need to be informed to keep in line with the tenancy scheme timescale.
Within 21 days following the end of tenancy the Landlord/Letting Agent needs to provide the ex-tenant with an itemised list of the deductions along with any relevant quotations to back up the said claim.
If the ex-tenants don't agree to the deduction they need to let the Landlord/Letting Agent know within 10 working days of receiving the itemised deductions along with an explanation of why and then the negotiation can begin. If the deductions are agreed to the Landlord/Letting Agent has 10 working days to release the remaining deposit back to the ex-tenants.
If an outcome with all parties can't be achieved the ex-tenants, Landlord or Letting agent have up to 3 months from the end of the tenancy to take the matter to the tenancy deposit's independent arbitration service whereby they will look at all the evidence, the claim and decide on a fair outcome. Hopefully the deposit negotiations don't come to this, it's a lengthy process and can take up to 3 months for the arbitration service to conclude a deposit.
I hope the above has been helpful, if you do have any property related questions please drop us a line.