Check-In and Check-Out reports: What you need to know as a Tenant

If you are a tenant moving into a new rental property, one of the most important documents that is involved will be the inventory. This is a report of the condition of everything in the property at the point that you move in and is known as a check-in report. Ideally, it should be carried out on the day you move in, and it is even better if you are present when the landlord or letting agent carries out the inspection. This is because you and the person carrying it out can both agree on the condition of the property and any contents, including any faults, scratched paintwork, and so on.

Why is this important? It is because you have to provide the landlord or letting agent with a deposit under the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, and if you cause any damage during the tenancy, the landlord can be entitled to recover the cost of repairing that damage from your deposit.

However, the landlord cannot recover any money from your deposit for what is known as fair wear and tear. This occurs in your home whether you rent it, or you own it. Carpets get worn, sofas and cushions will age and so on. At some point, if you are an owner, you have to replace things which have simply worn out or are past their best. Wear and tear is the responsibility of the landlord, and he or she cannot claim money from you for that.

If you are not able to attend at the time that the check-in report is being undertaken by the landlord or letting agent, you will be given a copy of the report which you are required to sign to say that you agree with it. The landlord or agent will have to allow you a few days to look everything over carefully before you sign the report.

It is important that you inspect the Property

While moving day can be very stressful, it is important that you inspect the property and go over everything in the report very carefully. If you spot anything which has been missed – even if it is only a small thing such as a chip on some paintwork – you need to report this to the letting agent or landlord. If possible, you should take some photos of anything that has been missed so that the agent or landlord can add it to the check-in report so that you are both agreed on everything.

Sometimes, a landlord may not actually provide you with a check-in report at all. This is more likely to be the case if the landlord is just a private individual who may have inherited the property rather than a professional landlord or letting agent. In this case, you should create your own check-in report making notes of everything and taking photos as necessary and then ask the landlord to sign it. If the landlord does not want to sign it, you are entitled to have an independent witness sign it.

Unless your tenancy is a very short one, your landlord or letting agent will carry out interim inspections every few months. This is for two reasons, one of which is to check for any damage that you may have caused – whether accidentally or intentionally – and equally to check for repairs that may need doing for something that you may not have spotted, since it is better to do them early on rather than let them get worse.

On the day that you move out, the landlord will carry out a check-out report. The purpose of the check-out report is to note the condition of the property and any fixtures, fittings, and furnishings, so that it can be compared with the check-in and/or inventory report. Then, if you have caused any damages above fair wear and tear the landlord is entitled to recover the cost of repairs from your deposit.

If the landlord tries to recover money for something with which you disagree, then there is an arbitration procedure that can be followed in order to make a final decision.

Panos, 10 December 2021

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