#AskTDS: “What are my responsibilities as a landlord when my tenant moves out and a new one moves in?"
In this week’s #AskTDS, we address a landlord’s question of what responsibilities they have when one tenant leaves a property and another moves in.
Getting new tenants involves ensuring reliability, establishing trust and making sure all the correct paperwork has been completed - this is important and can take time to ensure all is correct.
For landlords, it’s important to understand what responsibilities are involved when a new tenant moves in.
Sorting out the deposit of an outgoing tenant
When a tenant moves out, sorting the return of the tenancy deposit quickly will be important to both the parties; the deposit needs to be managed within 10 days of request from the tenants for confirmation of the deposit return including any deduction details.
To get this part right the parties will need to refer to the tenancy agreement along with the inventory report that was used; this will assist the parties in sorting out any deductions, and should be an easy process. Our free deposit dispute guidance provides further advice on the disputes process.
Before a new tenant moves in
A landlord or letting agent will need to ensure that the new tenancy is managed correctly; a short checklist is a good way to approach this situation. Ensure the basics are on there, things like making sure the property is clean and there are no health and safety issues - gas certificates, safe plumbing, energy certificates and correct labelling on furniture with flammable material are all important.
Having the correct documentation will save any tears later. You’ll want to have a thorough inventory report with a list of items in the property, their condition and with photographs included to help with any negotiations about the return of the deposit after the tenancy has ended.
A suitable ‘fit for purpose’ tenancy agreement will resolve any issues the parties may have over the operation of the tenancy terms. This will set out the rights and responsibilities of both parties throughout the tenancy and should act as a reference point; it’s the most important part of a paper trail. Should any disputes arise at the end of the tenancy, this could be crucial.
The Tenant Fees Act came into force on 1 June 2019 and affects letting agent/landlord’s ability to charge tenants’ fees for things like administration, referencing and even inventories. Tenancy deposit amounts are also capped; these are now set at the equivalent of five weeks’ rent (or the equivalent of six weeks’ rent dependent on the annual rent figure being more or less than £50,000.). TDS has recently released a dedicated webpage for this subject, depositcap.com, a one-stop shop with all the information landlords and letting agents need to prepare for the legislation. This includes a deposit cap calculator tool and a guide to TDS’ deposit cap solution, allowing landlords and letting agents to amend the amount of their deposits, in line with the legislation, with ease.
It pays to be prepared when it comes to ensuring you understand all your responsibilities when a new tenant moves in. Keeping a suitable audit trail of events and staying in regular communication with your tenant can go a long way to avoiding misunderstandings and disputes at the end of a tenancy – everyone can end up saving both time and money.
Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is a government-approved scheme for the protection of tenancy deposits; TDS offers both Insured and Custodial protection and also provides fair adjudication for disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits that we protect.
We provide invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and disputes for agents and landlords through the TDS Academy as well as joining with MOL to provide the Technical Award in Residential Tenancy Deposits.
TDS Insured Scheme: where a TDS member can hold the tenancy deposits as stakeholder during the term of the tenancy.
TDS Custodial Scheme: where TDS hold the deposit for the duration of the tenancy.
TDS Academy: TDS provides property professionals with invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and tenancy deposit disputes.
TDS Northern Ireland: TDS is Northern Ireland's leading and only not for profit tenancy deposit protection scheme.
TDS can only comment on the process for our scheme, other deposit protection schemes may have a different process/require different steps. Content is correct at the time of writing.
These views are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the view of TDS, its officers and employees.
ARLA|Propertymark: For agents who would like to stay up to date, you can contact Propertymark | ARLA at: email@example.com. By being a member of Propertymark | ARLA you will be eligible for TDS Insured best headline rates.
RLA: If you are a landlord and would like to keep up to date with any changes that may affect you or your responsibilities, you can contact the RLA at: firstname.lastname@example.org and quote reference: dg715 to receive 25% off your first year's membership.