An Inspector Calls
Your check-out inspection marks the very end of your tenancy. Some check-outs are conducted by staff of the managing agency, but some are done by the landlord themselves. Like at the beginning of the tenancy, it’s always best for both parties to meet at the property and agree on its condition together. That way, it’s an opportunity for both sides to raise any points.
The inspection will look for three things: any maintenance works that the landlord will need to take care of, the development of any wear and tear on the house, and whether your tenancy has resulted in any works that will need to be paid for from your deposit.
This is the time when the all-important inventory and any photos taken at the very beginning of tenancy are dug out and referred back to. If the landlord is trying to claim that you caused the burn on the carpet but the inventory says it was there at the start and you even have a photo of it, you’re covered.
It’s expected that there will be some wear and tear on a property from one year to the next, because simply by living there you will affect the condition of the furniture and fittings. Paintwork won’t be so fresh, handles might be looser, the carpets – especially in communal areas and on stairs – might be more worn than when you arrived. But there is a limit to what is ‘fair wear and tear’, which is part of what the inspection is there to judge.
If there’s anything in your house that needs work to rectify after your tenancy ends – such as replacement locks for missing keys, heavily marked walls or bins that haven’t been emptied – it’ll be discussed with you during the inspection, meaning you know what to expect when the deposit is returned to you. It’s unlikely that the inspector will be able to quote exact costs during the check-out, but they should be able to give you a good indication. Similarly, if the property is in a good condition, your inspector may be able to confirm a full deposit return.
Charges for cleaning are by far the most common deposit deduction, shortly followed by the cost to re-cut or replace locks for keys that have not been handed back, and the replacement of missing lightbulbs. The cost to re-paint a wall to cover blue tack marks is also a frequent claim.