What do you do at the end of tenancy check out?

My tenants are leaving. I manage the tenancy and property myself. They served notice to me on the 19th August so last day of tenancy is today 18th September. When should the keys be handed back to me? Last night I received a phone call to advise that they’re still in the process moving out and require a few more days. I don’t really mind but was wondering if that puts me at some sort of disavantage legally speaking? Also what would you do as part of the check out? I will read meters etc and arrange a check out inventory with the same company that did the check in one, but would you ask your tenants to sign a declaration to the effect that they’ve ended or surrendered the tenancy with immediate effect and handed back the keys? I feel I need something in writing that says they’ve gone and they’re not coming back? Do I need this? There’s lots of rubbish, broken toys, old furiture etc in the garden. They said all would be removed as soon as they can get an appointment at the local recycling centre (currently a 4 to 6 week wait). Why didn’t they book this on the 19th August ??. I doubt this will ever happen, so it’s down to me, plus I don’t really want to give them access once they’ve left (although the rear garden can be accessed directly via a rear alleyway). Any help, advice and suggestions will be gratefully received. Many thanks.

Hi Alex.

If you have their notice in writing you don’t really need anything else in writing once you have got the keys back to confirm they have left.

Whilst issues with recycling centres does cause complications it doesn’t give the the right to use a property they are no longer paying for as a dumping ground. Can’t they take the rubbish with them and take it to recycling centre when they can get in. With current covid situation they could shut again and you’d be left with it for months.

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Hi Alex,

Richard has said it all really.

How can you re-let it at full rent if the previous tenants have not fully cleared their belongings/rubbish?

It shouldn’t be your problem. If they refuse to take what they have left in your garden maybe you could them to sign something to that effect?

i.e. That they are happy for you to dispose of their garden waste at a cost to them to be deducted from their deposit.

However, easier for you, if they cleared it now and took it with them.

Thank you for your advice. I did ask them to take their rubbish with them, but they said they’re moving into a flat with no garden or storage area. When I asked them for their new address so that I could forward mail (and court summons, bailiffs, final demands unpaid utilities and council tax etc etc - you get the idea!), they conveniently couldn’t remember!!
I know I’m going to have to shift it all myself and I know I could claim that from the deposit, but they have failed to pay the final months rent, requesting I take that from the deposit, which doesn’t leave enough to cover the damage to the carpets, fixtures, fittings and decoration let alone rubbish removal.

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Point out that the deposit is held in a protection scheme and not available to either of you until the end of the tenancy. Also your tenancy agreement most probably states they must give the property back in the condition it was first let to them and deductions from their deposit will have to follow (and get some quotes for the clearing, damage etc now before they go. You and they might both get a shock). It is very likely they can do it cheaper than you and knowing the expected bill will be an incentive. Let them know you don’t want them to jeopardise you giving them a decent landlord reference in the future or having a CCJ lodged against them posted to their last known address.

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