The end of a tenancy can be a crucial time for solidifying a good or bad review from a tenant as they part ways from a property and your agency. The difference between them walking away from the transaction feeling satisfied or feeling deflated, is the difference between them either leaving a glowing review of your lettings agency online, or a warning to other tenants not to use you for their next move.
Tenants have a louder voice than ever now on social media platforms. Prospective movers and even landlords who are looking for new management will turn to the internet to research local lettings agencies and read the word on the street of who is most trusted. Therefore, it is important to think about the reputation that your agency is carrying online and ensure that you are having positive experiences with tenants as you say goodbye to them.
Here are some useful tips for how to improve the process of ending a tenancy and create strong and long-lasting relationships with the local tenants surrounding your agency.
Get off to a good start with tenants to create a firm foundation of a relationship
At the very start of the tenancy, start everything on a good foot by making sure to keep the lines of communication open and responsive with your tenants. A good checking-in process should create an opportunity for tenants to flag any issues with the property early on.
Giving them an opportunity to report any issues within the first few days does two things:
One, it gives you a chance to show that you’re a good agency by resolving any issues quickly.
And two, it starts a paper trail of evidence to refer to at the end of the tenancy if there is any dispute over what the state of the property was when the tenants first moved in.
If you can confirm by the end of the first week of the tenancy that the tenants are happy, it will set the tone of the tenancy up to be a positive experience.
Provide Clarity to your Tenants to Avoid any Surprises
Making sure to give your tenants access to the necessary information for their tenancy and keeping them informed, will reduce risk of any unpleasant surprises when the time comes to move out. Additionally, drawing attention to the wording of the tenancy agreement at the point of signing, confirming that the tenant understands, can be a useful way of providing clarification of both of your roles and responsibilities as tenant and agent.
Be clear with tenants about what the check-out process will be and what will be expected of them when they leave. For example, if it’s your policy that the property needs to be cleaned to a professional standard upon moving out, including the inside of the oven – let them know!
Even if you provide the information in writing and the tenant doesn’t read it, if you can prove that you took steps to make them aware you’ll have a much better leg to stand on if any issues arise at the point of the tenants moving out.
It’s also a good idea to remind tenants that they should report any mould or damp straight away, even if it occurs mid tenancy.
How to Reduce the Negative Reaction to Deposit Deductions
There’s a long-standing suspicion among tenants that letting agents never give back the deposit because they just want to pocket the cash for themselves.
For a tenant who really needs those funds to put towards their next home, the discovery that they are having money deducted from their deposit can be very upsetting – often causing an emotional response that is likely to result in a scathing review on the internet.
Being clear about the reasons for deposit deduction, as well as being able to provide evidence, and indicating what the money must be put towards, will make it easier for the tenant to accept the decision.
The top three reasons that tenants dispute a deposit deduction are cleaning, damage and redecoration*. Present the tenant with photograph evidence gathered at the check-in and check-out. Also, directing their attention to the tenancy agreement wording will be a good way to hold up the decision to deduct a deposit for these reasons. It can also be a useful tactic to provide a professional cleaning invoice. This way, the tenant can see for themselves the actual cost of a professional clean.
A documented visit to the tenant before the end of the tenancy can also provide an opportunity to flag any issues. Additionally, it will give the tenant time to get them resolved before the check-out date arrives. This would give even less cause for the tenant to be able to dispute the decision, if those issues haven’t been addressed.
- Start the tenancy off on a good foot by responding to any issues quickly
- Document the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy
- Communicate clearly the responsibilities and the expectations of the tenant
- Keep communication lines open and visit the property before the tenancy end to give the tenant time to resolve issues
- Provide a clear explanation of any deposit deductions and direct the tenant to evidence and tenancy agreement wording to avoid disputes.
Find more helpful information for letting agents on The Lettings Hub Insights page.