Things to note when conducting Check-In/Check-Out reports

When conducting check-in and check-out reports on behalf of a landlord, one of the most important things to remember is that they need to be produced working on the basis that they may be used as evidence to present to an adjudicator in the event of a dispute between landlord and tenant about the condition of the property and any damage that it is claimed has been caused by the tenant.

It is also necessary for check-in and check-out reports to be carried out at the actual time of check-in and check-out to avoid issues regarding time related damage or access post-tenancy. Ideally, check-out report should have time-stamped pictures for the avoidance of doubt.

A good check-in report needs to detail the contents, cleanliness, and condition on a room-by-room basis. Cleanliness and condition are not the same thing. If a check-out report notes that there are cleaning issues at the end of the tenancy, but the check-in report only refers to the condition, it is impossible to work out whether the cleanliness has deteriorated over the length of the tenancy. The check-in report should ideally be carried out with the new tenant on site, but this is not always practical. If the tenant is not present, then they should be given a copy of the report and allowed a few days – usually a week – to offer any comments or point out anything with which they disagree.

It is also useful for the tenant to be present at the time of the check-out report, as this can save a lot of discussion later. A well-designed set of Terms and Conditions on the Check-in report should give some useful tips, do’s and don’ts to keep the property in top condition. It should note whether a professional clean is expected before the end of tenancy, just ahead of the check-out.

Check-in and check-out reports, together with interim reports, need to be accurate, and the way that many landlords use of our Reports2Go app which is free. It can be downloaded from Google Play or the App Store to a mobile or a tablet. It has many useful features, not the least of which is that it provides prompts to an inventory clerk.As you go through the property you can take your notes. Using text mode, you simply type up notes as you go from one room to the next with the app automatically pointing out things that you should check. Our algorithm will make suggestions, so if you are checking the garden, it may suggest that you note the condition of a fence or wall, whether flower beds are covered in weeds or in reasonable condition, and so on.

So, to summarise, create the reports as close to the start and end of tenancies as possible, accurately note cleanliness and condition of rooms and contents, ensure you cover all items and provide some tips and hints as to how you expect the state of the property to be at the end of the tenancy. Include such pointers in your report Terms and Conditions.

Panos, 30 April 2021

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