Hand moving a chess piece on board

Posted by Admin - 26/10/2015


I have been asked ‘What should I do when moving the tenant in?’

It’s a good question but not an easy answer, the list is long and it’s simple to overlook something at this stage.  It’s much harder to correct that mistake later.  Hopefully this checklist will help you to get it right, first time, every time.

I am not going to spend much time on the ‘pre-tenancy’ checklist and will assume that the tenant selection and screening process is complete and tenancy agreement and inventory have all been produced.

This is not an exhaustive or legal list otherwise it would be more like a book than a blog.

I am assuming you are resident in the UK and the property is not an HMO.

  1. This is a checklist, so make a checklist

Start with the simple stuff – make a list that is relevant to you and your property, tick it off as you go; it will be a long list but there is nothing complicated, you will regret it if you don’t.

  1. The obvious prerequisites

As I said earlier, I am going to assume that you are insured (Landlord and buildings) and that you have completed your tenant screening and referencing, you have a good legal tenancy agreement (please, please not ‘off the shelf’), produced an inventory and have your necessary EPC and Gas Safety certificates – if any of these are missing then you are not ready.

Pretty much all are fundamental if you want to; A/ Stay out of legal trouble, B/ Get your rent, C/ Get your property back and D/ Be able to claim on the tenants deposit.

One third of tenancies go into arrears, although not a legal requirement, on my checklist is always a Rent Warranty product, there are many out there – ensure it has no excess and at least £40,000 legal cover.

  1. Is the place ready?

Check that the place is safe and there are no hazards that could hurt someone, think particularly around electrical safety and ensure all furniture displays the fire safe labels.

Are smoke alarms (and carbon monoxide alarms if applicable) all working properly?  Strictly speaking this has to be tested on the day of move in.

Ensure the blinds are safe, comply with the law and do not pose a choking hazard to children.

Check everything works and any repairs are completed.

All appliances must have manuals, if you are missing any, most can be found online and downloaded, put them in a file and make sure it’s on the inventory.

If you have an alarm, provide instructions.

Write a quick document/picture showing the location of stop cocks, electrics or isolator valves – you will be grateful for this if, say, you get a leak and the tenant can turn off the water.

Ensure you have the necessary keys for doors, windows, outbuildings etc.

  1. Get your legal paperwork in order

Ensure you have copies of the agreement, the deposit prescribed information (some will follow later after the deposit is lodged), the inventory, the Gas Safety Certificate, the EPC and government and a copy of the “How to Rent” guide that you must give the tenant from 1 October 2015 – it can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent

  1. Deposit registration

In the previous point I mentioned the prescribed information that you must give the tenant, this is really important to do properly if you want any chance of claiming on the tenants deposit later and you want to avoid fines of up to 3 times the deposit.  Read up on it, legislation is always on the move.

  1. Utilities and Council Tax

Notify the utilities of the tenants’ details together with the local council, you can’t rely on the tenant doing it and you don’t want to be liable for the bills.

  1. Scams

Do ensure you have a post redirect in place, there have been occasions where tenants have stolen their landlord’s identities and even re-mortgaged  their properties, put a redirect in place to be doubly sure that you get all of your important post.

Also, in February next year you will have obligations to check the ‘Right to Rent’ of all tenants, this involves carrying out ID checks.  Regardless of this legislation, if you have not done so, check Photo ID of your tenants before they move in.  If they are not who they say they are you are likely to be facing trouble down the line with no redress since you will never track them down.

  1. The Keys

Ensure you have cleared funds for the deposit and rent and signed agreements before handing over the keys – handing over a spare set may save you a call in the middle of the night.

  1. And Finally

The typical 12 month tenancy will involve the tenant handing you over £10,000.  You have checked your tenants out, met them and they are nice people looking to make your property their home. They are making a big commitment to you and you both want a long and happy relationship.

Setting the relationship off on the right note will make all the difference when the inevitable teething troubles arise.

Why not leave them a ‘Welcome to your new home’ card and a bottle of wine – on the back of your property investment, it will be the best tenner you have ever spent.

For more information why not read Hard Way or the 9yds Way?

Good luck!