Archives May 2020

The Check Out Process: What Is A Pre-Check Out and Do You Need One?

If the current tenant’s agreement is about to end and they are going to move out of your rental property, it’s a good idea to give them some useful information about what’s going to happen during the check out process. After all, this will save both you and them from worrying, make things much smoother, and it will help you to decide whether or not to hire a professional for the pre-check out.

check out process

What Is The Check Out Process?

The check out process is a simple one, but not something that all landlords are happy to conduct themselves. Lettings agents are busy and can’t always be on hand to conduct the process either, and this is where inventory professionals will come into their own; the check out (and pre-check out) is all part of the service.

The check out process technically begins with the notice to leave, which will either come from the tenant or the landlord, depending on the situation. At this time, the pre-check out service can be implemented.

Next, the tenants will need to return the property to its original condition. Remember, a landlord should never expert any betterment (although it is sometimes the case that this has happened – a great bonus) but they should receive their property back in at least the condition they let it in. Again, another reason to have a full inventory report carried out; that original condition will be clearly stated and matched against what the property looks like when the tenants leave.

On the day the tenants move out, the check out itself should take place, and a check out report completed for the landlord. The tenant will also be able to see the report and will be able to either accept it or challenge it. The deposit return can be negotiated and then released.

The Pre-Check Out Process

We’ve mentioned the pre-check out process a number of times now, and although it’s not something that every landlord requests, and it’s not something that every tenant is going to demand, it can be useful in terms of ensuring everyone is aware of their duties at the end of a tenancy. Plus it gives the tenants the time needed to put the property back the way it is meant to be, if that is something that needs to be done.

The pre-check out visit is conducted by an inventory clerk who can look at each room and make a report as to whether any action needs to be taken. The original inventory is crucial at this time, otherwise the clerk is not going to know what the property was like initially, and won’t be able to say one way or another whether anything has or hasn’t been changed.

check out process

What Are The Benefits for Tenants?

The tenant will absolutely benefit from a pre-check out. They will be given all the information they need, written down and explained, regarding the tasks they need to carry out before the day they move out. In other words, they will be told exactly what they need to do in order to have their deposit returned to them with no quibbles.

The tenants do have a number of responsibilities when they come to check out. These will depend in part on what is written in the tenancy agreement, but usually include:

  • Cutting the grass
  • Disposing of rubbish
  • Conducting a thorough clean
  • Defrosting the freezer
  • Removing all personal items
  • Repair any damage (over and above normal wear and tear)
  • Replace any items that were removed during the tenancy

Knowing this information in advance will make it more likely that the work is done.

Benefits for Landlords and Letting Agents

The pre-check out isn’t just useful to give tenants the heads up on what they need to accomplish before the day they move out; it’s also useful for landlords and letting agents. It makes the check out process a much quicker, smoother one. It also means there is going to be less maintenance required before the next tenant moves in, saving time and money and keeping the new tenant happy because there are no delays. Plus it helps to keep communication channels open between all parties, with the inventory clerk as the mediator/facilitator.

What Next?

If you need an inventory report, check in, check out (or pre-check out) or interim report, please get in touch with us at Looksy Inventories. A friendly, family run business with a positive, professional attitude, we can make sure everyone in the process is happy.

Your Rental Property: How To Manage Garden Maintenance

Rental Property

It’s the Chelsea Flower Show this week, and although this year – for obvious (coronavirus) reasons the event is actually a virtual one, it’s still a feast for the eyes and we encourage everyone to take a look online to see the beautiful and innovative displays (check out the link here:

All this talk of gardens and plants and beautiful things got us thinking at Looksy about how to manage garden maintenance in a rental property. There are a number of things to consider when you delve deep down into the subject, and we’ve put together just a few ideas for you here.

The key, as with any kind of tenant/landlord interaction, is understanding. A neglected garden is going to make any property look bad, and the kerb appeal will quickly disappear, but having some rules in place and knowing exactly what the tenant can and can’t do is crucial.

rental property garden

Low Maintenance

Before your tenants move in, you should assess the garden of your rental property and think about ways to make it more low maintenance. If it’s a small garden, this can mean installing a patio (and removing some of the lawn to do it), replacing grass with Astroturf, and putting up fences instead of hedges. This kind of garden will take very little effort to keep looking nice, and the tenant can add their own take using planting boxes and urns if they want to. Otherwise it’s a quick mow and a sweep up and it will look as good as ever.

Are They Gardeners?

If the garden of the rental property is one that is going to need a lot of looking after, and you don’t want to change it or don’t want to spend money making it easier to deal with, you’ll need to speak to the potential tenants before they sign anything. Make sure they are aware of what you need them to do with the garden and how you expect it to look – keen gardeners will be happy to get involved, and those who might not want to carry out these tasks can walk away before they sign up to something they don’t think will fit with their lifestyle.

Hire A Gardener

Something that some landlords are happy to do is hire a gardener. The price can be included in the rent, and it means that the outside spaces will always look attractive and the tenant won’t have to worry about doing any of the work if they don’t want to. Again, this is something that you should make the tenant aware of before they agree to the rent; most will be pleased to find there is an added benefit, even if it means they are paying out more each month.

rental property garden

Use The Tenancy Agreement

If you are worried that your property might start to look neglected because the tenant isn’t doing any work in the garden, and to stop any confusion about who is responsible for what, use your tenancy agreement.

If the ‘rules’ are written out in your tenancy agreement, there can be no arguments, and it makes life a lot easier for everyone involved. This is why having a tenancy agreement is so important, not just for garden maintenance but for every aspect of the tenancy.

Get An Inventory Done

Having a good, thorough inventory carried out at the beginning of the tenancy, and ensuring there is a professional check-in and check-out service, means that the exact condition of the exterior of the house will be recorded. If there are any disputes, the inventory is one of – perhaps the most – important documents you’ll have. Using the report, you’ll be able to show what the garden looked like before anyone moved in, and what it looked like at the end of the tenancy.

If the tenant has left it in a bad state of repair and their tenancy agreement states that they must maintain the garden, the proof is right there in the inventory report.

Get in touch today to book your inventory and give yourself complete peace of mind in the process.

Looksy Inventories: Inventories That Do The Job They’re Meant To Do

Looksy Inventories – Inventory Reports

When a new tenancy begins it is crucial to have a new inventory report carried out too. At Looksy Inventories we thoroughly and carefully inventory the condition and cleanliness of the property before the next tenants move in, giving you – and them – complete peace of mind.

Our inventory reports contain information on the condition of the walls, floors, and ceilings. We count the plug sockets. We note colours and patterns. We spot issues that you may not have noticed. We make sure you’re aware of it all. This accurate and detailed account on the condition of your property makes being a landlord or managing agent that much easier.

Check Ins

The day has come – your new tenants are moving in. What do you need to do? The only thing you really need to think about is ensuring that Looksy Inventories are booked to carry out the check in process on your behalf.

At check in we will hand over the keys to the property and make a record that this has been done. We will take final meter readings. Plus we’ll walk the new tenant through the property and the inventory to make sure they are happy before they sign the report. We then leave them to unpack and settle into their new home, and you can relax knowing that the job is done.

inventory clerks sevenoaks Looksy Inventories

Check Outs

After a while, be it 6 months, two years, or a decade down the line, your tenants will decide it’s time to move on. When this happens, Looksy Inventories will carry out the check out report on your behalf. Using the original inventory as a guide, we will document (including photographs) the condition of the property and compare it against the condition it was in when the tenants move in. This is hugely important, as any discrepancies will need to be discussed before the tenant’s deposit can be released.

The difference between damage and deterioration and fair wear and tear is something that an experienced inventory clerk will be able to determine, and we can advise the landlord or managing agent accordingly.

Finally, the keys will be collected (and returned to the agent or landlord) and final meter readings taken. All parties will sign the report, and you can start getting the house ready to go back on the market.

Interim Reports

The interim report that Looksy Inventories carries out for landlords and lettings/managing agents something that can offer total peace of mind. Whether it’s quarterly, six monthly, or annually, having a professional book an appointment with the tenant to carry out an inspection means that your property will be well looked after at all points during the tenancy.

This interim reporting system also means that any issues can be ironed out sooner rather than later. A tenant may be more comfortable speaking to an inventory clerk than going direct to their landlord or managing agent, so these regular inspections give them the opportunity to mention items that need to be attended to. Our experienced clerks can then determine the urgency and nature of the issue, and report back quickly.

inventory clerk sevenoaks Looksy Inventories

Legionella Risk Assessments

Looksy Inventories is also able to carry out domestic legionella risk assessment reports. As part of being a conscientious landlord, understanding the potential dangers that legionella bacteria can pose is essential. Our easy to understand report will detail any remedial work that may be required and give you an overall risk rating so that you and your tenants know they are safe and sound.

Please note: Looksy Inventories does not carry out remedial work – our advice is entirely objective and although we can offer guidance, the final decision regarding any works to be done must be the landlord’s.

About Looksy Inventories

At Looksy Inventories we are passionate about property. We have been tenants and we have been landlords, and we understand the complex nature of the relationship between the two. Having a professional, experienced inventory clerk on hand to carry out reporting is a way not only to protect your property but to protect your reputation and your tenants.

The understanding of the inventory process and its importance for landlords, agents, and tenants has been painstakingly gained, and we are proud of our excellent reputation for carefully carrying out inventories, check-ins, and check-outs. Contact us today to book an inventory that is carried out efficiently and professionally every time.

Coronavirus and the Letting Agent: What Happens Now?

It has been a long few weeks, but now, with the news that letting agents are able to show prospective tenants around properties once more (ever since 13th May 2020), it seems that the floodgates are opening and landlords who were unable to rent their properties out during the initial stage of the UK’s coronavirus lockdown are keen to get the process started and the rent coming in.

lockdown coronavirus inventory clerk

Yet care does need to be taken. Rushing at this point and not paying attention to the safety aspect of letting a property could do more harm than good. Yes, the economy will bounce back more quickly when the housing market starts to move again, but if attention is paid then lockdown could become more restrictive once more and all that hard work and patience will have been for nothing.

There is updated guidance on moving home, for example. In that document, it states that “the process of finding and moving into a new home will need to be different, given those involved in the process will have to adapt practices and procedures to ensure that the risk of spread of coronavirus is reduced as far as possible. This will include doing more of the process online, such as virtual initial viewings; vacating your current property whilst other people are shown around; and ensuring your property is thoroughly cleaned before someone else moves in.”

But what about property inventories? Letting agents still need to engage an inventory clerk for the work to be carried out, and since one of the most important skills that an inventory clerk can have is to be observant and to look closely at each room in a property, this is not something that can really be done remotely. At least not in a satisfactory, high quality way.

The good news is that inventory clerks are masters at social distancing, and have been even before the coronavirus pandemic. With or without the threat of COVID-19, as an inventory clerk there is no need for others to be in the property at the same time as you; in fact, it’s far better when they aren’t there as the job can be done more speedily and efficiently.

covid-19 for inventory clerks

Ideally the property should be empty of not only people but of things too… so since there are no possessions within the house or flat, there is nothing for an inventory clerk to touch which someone else can pick up later, and this will also reduce the risk. Although, of course, an inventory clerk will need to open doors, windows, look in drawers, and more, as long as we wear gloves and use hand sanitiser, there really is very little risk. Plus, the house is likely to have been thoroughly cleaned before our arrival – thank you, wonderful end of tenancy cleaners – thus making the job an even safer one for everyone involved.

As for us here at Looksy Inventories, we are more than ready to get back into carrying out thorough, high quality inventory work during the second stage of the UK’s coronavirus lockdown period. With our gloves and masks and hand sanitiser at the ready, we can collect keys and drop them back off whilst still adhering to social distancing measures. Just get in touch with us today to find out more about how we can guarantee to keep within current guidelines and get the job done – and done well.

A Good Letting Agent: How Can You Find One? What Do They Do?

If a landlord wants to let their property quickly, if they want someone else to deal with the referencing and credit checking, if they want to find good quality tenants, then many will turn to a letting agent for help. But just as in any industry, there are good letting agents and bad ones. There are ones you would be happy to use and others you should stay away from. With something as important as the future tenant (and rent) for your property, it’s important to make sure you pick the best letting agent for you assuming you are heading down this path and not choosing to do everything yourself. Here are some tips on how to find a good letting agent.

a good letting agent


Location matters a lot more than many people think. If you want to let your property more quickly, you’ll need an agent who is able to conduct viewings (after all, this is part of the service you’re paying for), and for that to happen they need to be local to the property itself. If they are further afield, trying to tie up a mutually convenient time with a prospective tenant can be tricky.

But as well as that, an agent who knows the local area will be able to talk about more than just the property itself – they will be able to talk about the good schools, the local shops, the best bus routes, the distance to the station, the pubs, the restaurants, the people… They will be able to answer any questions the viewer has, instilling them with confidence and usually letting the property in a timely manner.

good letting agent

What Does A Good Letting Agent Offer?

Many agents offer varying levels of service depending on how much you want to pay. You will have a number of different options including:

  • Tenant find only
  • Tenant find and rent collection
  • Full management

Each of these options has its benefits and downsides, and it’s wise to look into exactly how much you will be expected to pay and what you will get in return before signing up to anything. If you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask; a good agent will happily answer them for you.


If the thought of paperwork makes you shudder don’t worry; many people feel the same. Unfortunately, it’s an important part of renting out a property. A good letting agent will be able to handle all the paperwork involved including:

  • Credit checks
  • Referencing potential tenants
  • Checking employment details
  • Ensuring the tenant has the right to reside in the UK
  • Drawing up the tenancy agreement
  • Obtaining safety certificates
  • Arranging for an EPC to be carried out if need be

If you don’t want to carry out this essential work yourself, then you need to be confident that your chosen letting agent will do it, and do it accurately – one small mistake in any of these documents and you might find the tenancy is invalid.

Marketing: The True Sign Of A Good Letting Agent

One of the biggest issues a landlord tends to have is finding a tenant for their property. With limited funds and reach, you may only have a handful of people getting in touch about the property, even if you use something like Facebook marketplace and pay for more people to see the ad.

good letting agent

A letting agent should be able to market your property on all the major property portals like Rightmove, Zoopla, and On The Market. Not only this, but they will be able to include floorplans, excellent photos, a great description, and details about the property that will entice people to want to view it.

Whichever agent you are considering, take a look at their current property ads. Do you think they look good? Are the images high quality? Are there floorplans? Are there spelling errors or other inaccuracies? If so, it shows that little care has been taken over the advert; what does that say about the agent’s way of working?

Money Protection

Picking a good letting agent might be as simple as choosing one that you know will protect your money, and that of your tenant. You need to be sure that any money exchanged is going to remain safe, so make sure that your potential letting agent is part of a client money protection scheme. There should be a separate bank account for ‘ring-fenced’ money – ask to see proof that this exists.

The agent must also comply with the deposit law; if they don’t, it’s you the landlord who will be held liable. Any deposit must be put into a government approved scheme within 30 days of the tenancy starting. Which scheme does the agent use? Do they offer proof of deposit?

Quick Response

If you opt for full management you are essentially leaving all repairs and small decisions to the agent (of course, for anything major they will need your permission, and you can set financial limits that they can’t spend over and above).

good letting agent

An important aspect of this is how quickly the agent responds to tenant issues and maintenance requests. The quicker the better; you need your tenant to be happy in their home or you might run the risk of them leaving and you having to not only have the repairs seen to anyway, but also having to find new tenants for the property.

It’s worth looking at letting agent reviews; who gives a good service to both tenants and landlords? These are the agents you want to contact. They might cost more than others, but it will be money well spent.

Call Now ButtonCall Now