The short answer is no, tenants don’t have to be present at the Check Out of their property.
The Check Out is the final inspection of a property and its content, this is usually taking place on the last day of the tenancy or a couple of days after the tenants have moved out. The inventory clerk will look to identify what, if any changes have occurred during the tenancy, list all damages for which the tenant could be liable for charges as well as actions that need to be taken like maintenance works required.
The check out and moving out can be an unnerving experience for a tenant. They may feel threatened or concerned that the inventory checker is there to find issues and they may loos their deposit, which may create tension between parties.
There are two main areas to focus on at the Check Out: Damages and Cleanliness. The current condition of the property will be assessed by the inventory clerk against the original inventory report, taking into consideration the length of the tenancy and type of occupancy. It is the responsibility of the inventory clerk to determine whose responsibility it is for returning the property to its original check in a condition allowing for fair wear and tear.
For an Independent Inventory Service Company and their employed inventory clerks, this is all that matters, again that’s the original inventory report and the current conditions. The Check Out inspector is not there to judge the tenants, nor do they need to know the cause and circumstances of any damages or cleaning issues present on the property. They will simply record that specific new condition of an item, be it the door, wall, carpet, piece of furniture or any other item and will also take several photographs to document the situation.
Therefore the Check Out inventory is factual, based only on what is and isn’t there, no matter if the tenants, or landlord for that matter, would be present and justify the situation, the inventory clerk will still have to record everything based on facts and not be influenced by any of the parties.
More so, typically the inspection of the conditions will take about 1-2 hours, depending on the state of the property left by the outgoing tenants and the inspector checking will only be able to tell the tenants or landlord present about their findings once the inspection is complete, meaning they will have to wait outside the property for 1-2 hours just to be verbally informed of any/all issues that have been identified and registered in the Check Out report.
At Trust Inventory we complete all of our inventory reports on-site and will send all involved parties our report immediately, basically as soon as our check out inspector leaves the property everyone receives a copy of the report, really no reason for the tenants or landlord to wait outside for hours when they could sit in their sofa at home and still receive the same report as they would if they would be present.
The check out clerk will not return to the property to amend the condition based on any of the parties, we, as independent inventory clerks will not allow to be influenced and biased, will report the condition to the parties and they will between them sort things out point by point to determine what if any needs to be charged on tenant’s deposit.
Many Letting Agents and Landlord will have the property professionally cleaned at the start of the tenancy and will require the Tenants to do the same when they leave the property thus eliminating severe cleaning issues, although with the current legislation the tenants cannot be forced to use a cleaning company, they might do the end of tenancy clean themselves, many times light further cleaning will be required, for instance, tenants are not as focused to clean every item as a professional cleaning company would do, specifically top edges of the skirting boards, light switches and sockets, inside cupboards and appliances.
Often tenants will tell the inventory clerk that they have spent several hours cleaning the property and it is immaculate, however, the check out clerk will have to check everything and if the skirting is dusty they will make notes and photographs so no matter what the parties will say, it is what it is.
At last but not least, tenants who will want to be present will also plan to move out of the property at the same time, very often they will still be packing and removing items into their vans, making the check out procedure being delayed and/or items not being possible to be fully inspected.
To end on a happy note, here are a couple funny situations we’ve came across:
- Tenants with English not as first language, struggling to make sense 🙂
- Tenants saying: “I am going back and clean that now”
- Tenants arguing: “That was there when we moved in”
- Tenants saying: “I spent the whole weekend cleaning the house”
- Landlords present moving furniture and check behind them 🙂