Fire Safety

Landlord checklist: When a tenant is moving out

Supporting landlords in preparing properties for end of tenancy and new tenants with a handy checklist.

When the time comes for a tenant to move out, there are a myriad of tasks landlords must complete before they let the rental accommodation once again. From ending the tenancy agreement and amending the inventory, to completing fire safety checks, it can be a challenge to know where to begin.

However, it’s imperative that landlords have a plan in place.

Ways a tenancy can be ended

There are three ways that a private tenancy can be ended. The first is when the landlord takes the property back after the fixed term ends and they issue what is known as a ‘Section 21’ notice. For example, this is used if the landlord wants to sell the property.

Secondly, if the tenancy is still in the fixed term, landlords can evict tenants if they break the terms of their tenancy through a ‘Section 8’ notice from the Housing Act 1988. Tenants can be evicted for a number of reasons, for example, unpaid rent. Finally, the tenancy may end when the renter wants to move out.

Whatever the reason, landlords need to ensure that the tenancy ending process goes as seamlessly as possible. Here, we’ve composed a checklist for landlords to assist in this process. View our sister checklist for when a tenant moves in.

Checklist for landlords when a tenant moves out

❏ A notice to/from the tenants notifying the end of tenancy has been received

Written notice must be given to tenants. How much notice is given is dependent on the type of tenancy the property has, as well as the reasons behind its conclusion. If it is due to eviction, then this will be a different time length to when the tenancy is ended amicably.

❏ The move out letter has been provided

A sample landlord Move Out letter can be found on the Landlord Zone. There are a number of details that must be included; required notice period, termination date and date of last rent payments, security deposit, reminder of inventory and details of moving out process.

❏ Before the tenant moves out, landlords should inspect the property

This includes:

  • Identifying any remedial action that’s necessary before tenants leave
  • Checking electric and gas appliances are functional – determine whether they have deteriorated or stayed the same since the last check
  • Check overall cleanliness
  • In the kitchen, check for carbon monoxide (CO) and fire risks, for instance, examine whether the oven, hob and grill are functional/well maintained

For additional information on how landlords and future tenants can better comply with fire safety standards and regulations, download our eBook.

❏ Put the property back on the market – if applicable

❏ On the day the tenants move out, landlords should conduct a final inspection

Tasks include:

  • Consult the inventory and record variances or discrepancies. Any missing or damaged items that are not considered as fair “wear and tear” should be deducted from their deposit. Items that need to be repaired, replaced or cleaned can be included.
  • Re-check areas from the initial inspection, for instance drains or storage units
  • Test smoke alarms, ensure they are clean and in working order
  • Landlords should familiarise themselves with the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022. This regulation stipulates that landlords install alarms in their properties and check them at the beginning of every new tenancy
  • It’s important to note that throughout the tenancy, it is the responsibility of the tenant to test alarms on a regularly basis
  • Return all items to assigned places in the inventory

❏ The landlord must also:

  • Ensure that all checks and relevant deductions are made, and release the deposit within 10 days of departure
  • Receive the final month’s rent and settle outstanding bills, this includes doing metre readings and confirming council tax is in order
  • If the property is due to be vacant for any length of time, find out whether it’s eligible for an unoccupied property exemption on its council tax. This must be done directly through the council and the amount of relief available (if any) varies from borough to borough due to individual budget requirements.

Once this checklist has been completed, the property will be ready for whatever comes next.

Having a clear plan in place means that the end of the tenancy transaction can be straightforward for all parties involved, and guarantees that both the tenant and landlord is treated fairly and safely!