Tips for Avoiding Disputes at the End of a Tenancy

July 22, 2021

Getting things right at the beginning is the biggest factor in having a smoother end to the tenancy for all parties.

One of the most important elements of a new tenancy is the Entry Condition Report. This report needs to be detailed and accurate, accompanied by date stamped photographs and must be provided to the tenants along with the keys when they first move in. Tenants need to understand the importance of the report and whilst most of us just want to get in and start unpacking it is really vital to walk through the house with the report in hand before any furniture starts to go in. Tenants should note anything additional on the report and then sign and return it to the agent for them to copy for both parties records.

If the tenants wish to add a lot of extra items to the entry report it is worth the agent going to the property again and for both parties to discuss those items and agree if they are correctly described on the report, all of these discussions should be summarised in writing and provided to all parties.

The accuracy of this first report is vital as it is referred back to against the exit report to decide what might be considered damage and what might be considered wear and tear.

Where possible a pre vacate inspection is valuable, this enables the agent to identify any areas of concern and for the tenant to rectify anything ahead of the exit. Getting any quotes ahead of the final exit can also speed up the process of returning the bond and rectifications underway pre new tenants moving in.

At the beginning of the tenancy it is best practice for the agent to explain the importance of the Entry Report to both the tenants and the Landlord and to give examples of what is considered wear and tear and what is considered damage. It is also important that all parties understand what is meant by the terms depreciation and betterment.

An easy example of depreciation is carpet damage. If the carpet was brand new at the start of the tenancy, and the tenants have been in the property for two years and stained the carpet the full cost of replacement can’t be charged to the tenants, an adjustment has to be made to take into account that the carpet is now two years old. This is also an example of betterment, as if the Landlord were to receive the full cost of carpet replacement they would be having the condition of their property bettered at the tenants expense.

Proof of any pre tenancy works undertaken by the Landlord should be kept on file and ideally copies provided with the entry report.

Cleaning pre and post tenancy should be done to a professional standard, these cleans are generally known as a bond clean. Bond cleans should include the following items:

  • Oven and stove top.
  • Extractor (to include cleaning or replacing filters).
  • Appliances such as dishwashers, air conditioning units or dryers (subject to following manufacturers advice).
  • Ceiling fans.
  • Removal of flies from any light coverings.
  • Skirtings, cornices and frames.
  • Window and door tracks and glass.
  • Light wall washing as required.
  • Deep cleaning in bathrooms and toilets.
  • Sweeping and removing cobwebs from garage type spaces.
  • Sweeping and removing cobwebs from outdoor seating areas.
  • Hard floors polished or mopped depending on type.
  • Carpeted floors steam or spot cleaned as required.
  • Exterior areas should be swept, weeded and lawns mown.
  • All rubbish removed and bins empty.
  • Pool and pool areas clean, swept and ideally water sample results or proof of last pool service provided.

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