Here at Redfern Property Management, the majority of our rentals are student lets. There’s nothing like the academic year to make time pass quickly – tenancies starting in June, advertising properties in the autumn, termly inspections, the run up to tenancies ending in May and then, cleaning, before the new tenancies start. By now, it’s a well-oiled machine for us.

All of our student tenancies last 51 weeks. We always allow at least a week where we have full access to the property for everything that needs doing. For our tenants, that’s the ‘leaving inspection’ and for our new tenants, the inventory. For our landlords we make sure the property is in excellent condition. It’s the week we can get maintenance teams in for any updates or repairs, annual checks on boilers and electricity, and it’s also the week we can get in there and clean too. With the houses empty, it’s often the week we’ll get the photography sorted as well – nothing looks better than clean, tidy and uncluttered rooms!

With many houses on our books, we stagger our contract start dates, to make sure we have got enough time for the work that needs doing.

What is our process for tenants leaving and starting a tenancy?

The very first step is to inspect the property when the tenants have left. This includes making sure there is nothing left in the property, inspecting the condition of the décor and furniture, how clean the property is and if anything needs repairing. Generally, this is done by comparing the property to the inventory from when the tenancy started.

What we tend to do, if the property isn’t up to scratch in terms of cleanliness, or there are items remaining – we’ll always give the tenants an opportunity to rectify themselves, rather than us charging straight away.

During the course of the week, we will make sure the property is cleaned to our ‘moving in’ standards and we will also be able to get our maintenance team involved. There is always maintenance to do on a student property, and it’s especially important if you want to ensure standards are met year on year. For example, we recommend painting the property inside every 2-3 years, keeping an eye on the condition of the carpets, kitchen cupboards, bed bases, furniture and so on. From experience, it can be those ‘easy fixes’ that are often missed, and frustrate tenants when they move into a property. Our maintenance team also ensure that any landlord certificates are met – for example the annual gas boiler check, or replacing the fire extinguishers.

Needless to say, the week goes pretty fast with all of this coming and going! We also make sure the property is cleaned to a high standard. Another ‘from experience’, having rented properties ourselves in the past, there’s nothing worse than moving into a new property and having to clean before you can even unpack.

As a general rule, we’re super happy if tenants leave a property 90% clean. We always expect to go in with our keen eye and do the final ‘polish’. Those tasks you typically don’t think to do as a tenant – pulling out appliances and furniture to clean behind them, skirting boards and so on. We never charge our tenants for this 10%, it’s something we do as a proud letting agent to hand over clean, and fresh houses.

Once all of the maintenance jobs are done, and the cleaning finished, the only final task is to do an inventory. The inventory is really important for both tenants and landlords. This is the document that provides evidence as to the standard of the property when a contract starts. If there was a dispute at the end of a tenancy, this would be the document that would be used, especially if the dispute went as far as the deposit protection scheme used. Why does it protect both tenant and landlord? If the landlord says an item of furniture has been damaged for example, the inventory can be used and could be in the favour of the tenant. Most often tenants worry it’s there for the landlords, but it’s there for both parties.

And there we have it, everything ticked off, and the keys are ready for collection!