How to create check-out reports the right way (without surprises)
09 August 2022 6861 Views
The check-out report is a critical point in the tenancy and has the power to make the moving-out process run smoothly – or, if managed badly, it can cause broken relationships, disputes and damaged reputations. Here’s how to do check-out reports the right way to avoid unexpected surprises and misunderstandings.
Start out right
Much of the success of a check-out report depends on how well the check-in report and inventory reports were completed at the start of the tenancy. The detail gathered at this early stage will make all the difference at the end. It’s here where expectations can be clearly set, responsibilities laid out and evidence gathered – all of which will reduce the likelihood of hidden surprises for the tenant, landlord and agent later on.
The job of the check-in report and inventory is to capture the condition, cleanliness and contents of the property at the start of the tenancy. Record all of these things separately as they are quite distinct from each other. Don’t be tempted to generalise about any aspect and always be highly specific. This provides a detailed benchmark for all parties to refer to when comparing the change in condition when the tenant is moving out.
That’s why it is so important to start out right.
What does ‘right’ look like in a check-in/check-out report?
Start with a summary of the property’s condition and cleanliness and then go into granular detail on the contents, décor and cleanliness (including odours) of each room. When noting the standard of cleanliness, be as detailed as you can.
When documenting the detail for each room, make sure you note the condition of all surfaces (walls, carpets, joinery, windows), furnishings, lighting (including bulbs), locks, keys, and whether the room has been recently decorated or professionally cleaned. Make sure your notes are detailed, receipts are attached, and dated photos are included. At check-out, you can then record a comprehensive comparison with updated notes, photos and receipts.
Repeat this process for all outside spaces, taking note of bins, garden condition, fencing, gate locks, gutters, pipes, driveways, sheds and anything else that could change during a tenancy.
Include detail on safety checks, age of appliances and alarms tested. Include dates, third party details and certificates where applicable.
Keep a record of utility readings at the start and end of tenancy too.
How to avoid surprises at check-out
If you’ve agreed the detail with the tenant at the outset, in simple and unambiguous terms, they will be clear on what is expected from them at check-out. That’s the dream scenario, anyway. In reality, there are a few extra measures you should take to avoid surprises at check-out.
A smooth check-out is heavily dependent on how well communications, inspections and repairs have been conducted during the tenancy – and if the reports have been updated or annotated correctly. The key here is about transparency and communication throughout the tenancy. Interim inspections give all parties the opportunity to check the condition of the property, report problems and remedy issues and repairs.
Communicate during the tenancy
It helps to provide a centrally accessed hub of communications, visits, maintenance and milestone dates that everyone can see. Digital apps make this all so easy, and most apps are mobile-friendly, secure and accessible 24/7, which can drastically reduce the toll on an agent’s admin. By keeping all information and reports in a single place, tenants can refer to key documents when planning the actions they need to take before moving out. They can also easily communicate with landlords and agents during the contract.
Send reminders before moving day
There’s a lot to remember in the lead up to check-out day with many actions that can impact the check-out report. It helps to send out emails or messages (depending on communication preferences) to remind tenants to refer to the check-in reports and inventories, and to their responsibilities in the tenancy agreement. Be specific about the cleanliness required, the condition expected and dates for final inspections, returning keys, cancelling utilities, etc.
Refer to product lifespans
If you’ve kept a record of when furnishings and appliances have been bought or repaired, this will make it easier to gauge whether they have suffered natural wear and tear or premature deterioration due to damage or neglect. Check out this useful guide on product lifespans from the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
Use tech to automate
If all that sounds like hard work, it pays to remember how much time and money is spent dealing with moving delays and resolving disputes. It also pays to automate all that admin with technology. The Inventory Hive property reporting platform can help here. Agents and landlords can quickly set it up to send all of those reminders automatically. It also helps property managers to stay on top of maintenance, checks, inspections, compliance and communications too.
Learn more at inventoryhive.co.uk and sign up for your free 30 day trial (no card details required) to create unlimited property inspection reports.
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