So you have decided it is time to vacate the place you have been renting (i.e. a buy-to-let property)?
If it’s your first time leaving as a tenant then you are reasonably stressed out over uncertainty and lack of experience.
The big questions are: How to get your tenancy deposit back and how long that would take? Those are likely not your only worries as time constraints, packing, cleaning, and moving out do require effort and nerves.
Also, the whole routine isn’t a pleasant one for your landlord.
Consult the Tenancy Agreement
The first thing to do is to check your tenancy agreement. If it is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement that means the tenant has agreed to rent for a minimum period of time. It’s likely to be half a year. If that period is not met and the tenant wants to leave beforehand, the landlord has the right to collect the rent for the full six months.
If the minimum period has passed you can give a standard one or two months’ notice. You can also check what responsibilities you have as the tenant before leaving – like do you need the apartment or house professionally cleaned.
The tenancy agreement should list all details of responsibility, such as cleaning, repairs, pest infestations like bed bugs, and more.
Ensure a Good Property Condition
After you have given your landlord the appropriate notice you have to make sure you return the property in its original condition. This also means receiving your deposit in full. Depending on how long you have stayed there and your cleaning and maintenance habits you probably accumulated at least some moderate amount of dirt. According to Maggie Jones from Best For Mums, thorough cleaning at the end of the lease is not your usual Sunday morning quick clean.
End of tenancy cleaning is a thorough process, which includes but is not limited to:
- Deep cleaning of the oven, cooktop and range hood. The inside as well as the outside and knobs.
- Carpets have to be vacuumed and cleaned. Often professional carpet cleaning is required.
- All walls should be free of marks and cobwebs and lightly cleaned.
The Fantastic Cleaners professionals say that the main reason for not getting your full deposit back is leaving the rented property in a messy or dirty condition. So if you don’t have that much time on your hands you can hire a cleaning company to perform a specialised end of tenancy cleaning to make sure you get your deposit in full. If you’re aware that a problem would occur prior to letting the landlord know of your leave, you should consider questioning the safety for elders in the property. This is a dirty trick that you should apply only as a last resort.
You can also make use of the inventory list you probably agreed on when signing the lease. It describes the initial condition of every item in the property. It can be useful to check that you leave everything in the stated condition to make sure you don’t get deductions from the deposit.
You can expect to get your deposit back in a reasonable time after the amount is confirmed with your landlord. This usually takes around 10 days.
Take Care of Rent and Utilities
Make sure you pay any left bills and/or rent that you may have before vacating the place. You can talk through with your landlord when to cancel utilities like electricity, gas, water, internet, etc.
Notify your energy suppliers in advance so they can arrange final meter readings. Also, you can take pictures of the meters on the day you are leaving.
Tips for a Hassle-Free Property Vacating
- Keep your tenancy agreement and any other paperwork until you have received your deposit;
- Get in touch with your insurance company to check if your belongings are covered when you are moving;
- Make sure to change your address with the new one;
- Take pictures of the condition that you leave the property in;
- Also, take photos of the condition of your new place if you are renting it;
- Ask for a reference which states that you kept your responsibilities and paid everything on time;
- Have the keys ready to hand to your landlord or agent.
In conclusion, if you meet the conditions of the lease and leave the property in an appropriate state, you should get your full tenancy deposit back. Also, there is no doubt that preparation and organisation are key factors for a smooth moving out process. So make sure you don’t rush anything or leave it until the last moment.
For more tips and advice follow our property investor’s blog.