Smooth check-outs help tenancies turn over efficiently – how can they be carried out successfully

The time has come for the tenant to move out. This could be for a host of possible reasons from them finding a new rental home, buying their own place or the landlord needing to regain possession of the property.

Now, it’s time to check out. In order to do this successfully will entail a detailed inspection of the property at the end of the tenancy, evaluating and noting any damage or cleaning concerns, as well as checking for missing items.

An independent inventory also helps to ensure that all sets of keys are returned and that these are the same as were given at the start of the tenancy. 

In order for the tenant to receive their security deposit back in full without any disputes with the landlord, and as quickly as possible, both sides will want to present a case for any damage caused during the tenancy that might affect how much of the deposit is returned.

Here at the AIIC, we know that the efficient turnover of tenancies is important to both the landlord and the tenant – as well as the lettings market as a whole – which is why we’ve put together some helpful steps below to guarantee checkouts are carried out successfully.

Steps to take before check out

It’s important that tenants, using the check-in inventory that they will have signed and agreed to as a guide, return the property to the same condition and layout as when they took it on.

Tenants can start this process by putting all the owner’s things back in their original place. Renters are under no obligation to carry out a professional end-of-tenancy clean, but it is likely to improve their chances of receiving their full deposit if they do. If tenants want to take the DIY approach, they should clean all the floors, countertops, windows, mirrors, furniture, appliances, and any outdoor spaces to give the home a good as new look.

Tenants should also repair or replace any of the landlord’s items which have been broken or damaged, which includes swapping out any light bulbs that aren’t working for ones that do. It will be noted in the tenancy agreement what the tenant is responsible for in terms of cleaning and the condition of the property.

Renters must make sure that both the electricity and water bill payments are up-to-date and keep the receipts to show at checkout.

The final few things to get in order would be for the tenant to cancel their broadband internet service. After the last month’s rent money has cleared in their bank account, they should also cancel the standing order along with any direct debits set up for payments of utilities. It would be best practice to cancel these well in advance of the moving date – two months are recommended.

If tenants have any delivery of post that’s in their name, it’s a good idea to use the Post Office’s redirection service to ensure this goes to a new address. Lastly, tenants should check the paint work – yes, a few marks here and there are acceptable as fair wear and tear, but if the landlord has to get the painters in, they could try and deduct this from the tenant’s deposit.

What happens at check-out?

Tenants aren’t obliged to attend the check-out, but it is recommended so they can agree any deductions – if there are any – with the landlord, or talk through any issues.

Your landlord will use the checkout report compiled by an independent inventory clerk to closely inspect the rental property. They will be inspecting the cleanliness and general condition of the property, and looking for any potential damage or missing items.

Using the inventory created at the beginning of the tenancy – the check-in – they can cross-examine and cross-reference to see in clear detail whether anything major has changed. Photographic and video evidence can be used to highlight any major differences between the start and end of tenancy.

Allowances must be given for fair wear and tear. The landlord and tenant must then work together to decide if any deductions must be taken from the deposit to cover the landlord’s costs.


If the tenant is happy with any deductions made, or there are no deductions to be made, the tenant will then receive their deposit back from the deposit protection scheme it’s been held with, or the landlord or letting agent, depending on whether the landlord opted for custodial or insured.

Once a tenant has successfully checked out of the property, they must return the keys either to the landlord or the letting agent managing it on their behalf.

If tenants and landlords can’t agree on the amount of deposit that will be returned, the letting agent could step into mediate. If this doesn’t work, mediation will occur through the appropriate deposit protection scheme.

At this point you can request a deposit return from your landlord or letting agent and if you run into any problems with this having a protected deposit, then you should contact the appropriate deposit protection scheme.

Inventories can massively help with the smooth turnover of tenancies by providing a clear evidence trail and lessening the chances of disputes from occurring, which is likely to cause hassle and stress for all parties.

As an agent or landlord, you want to protect your investments and establish smooth transitions from one tenant to the next during the check-out process. Here at AIIC, we are dedicated to promoting the highest possible standards of accuracy and reliability in the inventory process and have been endorsing high levels of professionalism in the inventory business since 1996.

It is our mission to ensure proper information and training is provided and our bank of highly skilled members will provide the best possible service. For more information, please contact us or search for your local AIIC member clerk now.

You can also download a copy of our Code of Practice and Guidelines for Professional Practice guide here.

Published on 12/07/2022