Once notice has been given by either the tenant or the landlord, the end-of-tenancy process is fairly straightforward. In this guide, we give you a step-by-step breakdown of what happens when a tenancy comes to an end.

1. Tenancy notice periods

Landlord notice to end tenancy. A landlord must give tenants two months’ written notice. If the tenancy is a fixed term, the landlord cannot serve notice until the initial four-month protected period has passed, and the notice mustn’t end before the end date of the fixed term.

Tenant notice to end tenancy. Tenants must give at least one month’s notice that they will be leaving the property. If they are in a fixed-term tenancy, they cannot give notice without the landlord’s agreement, and they remain responsible for the rent and the property until a new tenant is found. If they are in a periodic tenancy (i.e., one that starts with the standard fixed term of six months and then moves to a rolling tenancy), they may provide one month’s written notice to end the tenancy on or before their rent due date. The notice must not end before the one-month period does, unless otherwise agreed. Upon receiving a tenant’s notice, we will inform you, the landlord, and a discussion will take place regarding the next steps, e.g., remarketing of the property.

2. Tenants return keys

Tenants must return all sets of keys to one of our offices by the close of business on the last day of their tenancy, and they will be advised that the checkout team will visit the property on the next working day to complete the checkout report.

3. Tenancy checkout report

The checkout team will record the condition of the property and its contents, and take photos as evidence, to compile the checkout report. This document is then compared with the inventory taken at the start of the tenancy, and this will determine whether any cleaning or repair works are needed, and whether the deposit should be returned to the tenants in full or if some should be deducted to cover costs. The original inventory and checkout report can also be used if a dispute is raised by the landlord or tenants.

4. Cleaning and repairs agreed

If any professional cleaning, repairs or redecoration are needed, we can instruct the relevant contractors to complete the work and return the property to its best condition. Whether the landlord or the tenant is liable for the cost of these works is a matter for discussion, and all parties must agree to any deductions from the deposit before action is taken.

5. The Depositary portal

We use a portal called ‘The Depositary’ to communicate and negotiate deposit returns with the tenant. The portal allows us to keep a record of all correspondence and relevant documentation, which can be submitted to the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) as evidence should a dispute be raised. It is optional for landlords to sign up to the portal, not mandatory.

6. Deposit returns

If the checkout report is done and no issues are found, the deposit will be returned in full to the tenant as soon as practically possible.

If work needs doing and all parties agree that a certain amount can be taken from the deposit to cover the cost, the remaining deposit amount will then be returned to the tenant.

If an agreement can’t be reached, then the matter is referred to the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, which provides an adjudication process. The TDS will look at the inventory, checkout report, and any other supporting documents, and determine how much, if any, of the deposit should be deducted.

7. Remarketing of the property

When it comes to remarketing your property, we want to get the best possible rental income for you. We’ll assess whether the property could benefit from any changes or further redecoration and make those suggestions to you. We also aim to have a minimal void period between tenancies, to limit the amount of time you have without the rental income.