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How to check in your new tenant

Before the official start of any tenancy, you should always check in your new tenant. This is an opportunity to minimise the chance of any disputes at the end of the tenancy. The check-in procedure provides an accurate picture of the property prior to the tenant moving in and also documents the handing over of the keys and reading of meters.

Check-in should take place before the tenant has had any access to the property (aside from the initial viewing). Ideally, it will take place the day before or on the morning of the official start of the tenancy.

You will, of course, have already referenced the tenant, completed any credit checks and collected the security deposit.

Who checks in the tenant?

You can do the whole thing yourself. However, many private landlords prefer their letting agent to check in the tenant.

MakeUrMove provides a check-in service. We will arrange for an independent clerk to meet your tenant and check them into the property. By using an independent third party you will be in a much stronger position should any disputes occur at the end of the tenancy.

What happens during check in?

The independent clerk will meet your tenant at the property. The clerk will take a copy of the inventory which you should have already prepared. The object of the check-in procedure is for the clerk to hand over the keys whilst giving the tenant an opportunity to comment on the inventory.

The clerk and the tenant will inspect the property together and compare it to the inventory. They will inspect both the interior and exterior along with furniture and other items such as white goods. The clerk will record any comments by the tenant in the final check-in report.

The clerk will also check all appliances are working and ensure the tenant has copies of any relevant manuals or instructions. She will also record readings from any meters in the property.

The clerk will check all locks are working and the tenant is happy with how to lock and unlock secure doors. She will also test fire and carbon monoxide alarms. If there is a house alarm the clerk will show the tenant how it works and provide any necessary codes. She will also explain the tenant's responsibilities as detailed in the tenancy agreement.

Once check-in is complete the inventory will be signed by both parties. The only thing then to do is to present the tenant with their new keys.

After check-in

The clerk will then prepare a report. This will detail the condition of the property with photographs along with observations on the check-in and any meter readings. But it should be stressed the check-in report complements the inventory. It's not a replacement.

The importance of the inventory

All private landlords should create an inventory at the start of every new tenancy. This really is so very important. The inventory is your prime piece of evidence should there be any dispute over deposit deductions for damages.

The inventory goes into great detail to describe the current condition of the property. It's important photographs support any written descriptions. The more photos the better. And all photos should be digitally date stamped. This provides clear proof of the property's condition at the time the inventory was compiled.

Should the tenant dispute any deductions you make for damages showing them the inventory is often enough to convince them to drop their objections. In the event, the dispute goes to arbitration the inventory will provide compelling support to your claims.

Private landlords can draft their own inventory but often find an independent report is more thorough and effective for resolving disputes.

Private landlords can find tenants fast by listing their property with MakeUrMove the leading online letting agency.

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