Conducting the vacate process in a thorough and proper way ensures less stress for both landlord and tenant. This is usually the time when conflicts and disputes may arise, but if you set a standard and follow the best practices, you should be able to conduct an efficient vacate process.
The vacate inspection
Talk to your tenant prior to the vacate inspection about the particulars of the process. Agencies have different vacating practices and you want to clarify your own expectations as landlord.
Always look to state regulations when conducting the vacate process. For example, in Queensland, the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 states that tenants are expected to leave the property in the same condition as it was at the start of the tenancy with the exception of normal wear and tear.
To avoid conflicts and disputes, it is best the landlord and tenant are on the same page. As a landlord, you can plan in advance. Provide the tenant with an exit condition report, cleaning checklist and recommendations of cleaners in case they do not want to clean the property themselves.
Be sure tenants complete any forms needed prior to the inspection. For example, the exit condition report is a requirement in Queensland for the tenant to fill up. This allows you, the landlord, to compare the exit report to the report filled at the beginning of the tenancy. Photos should be included as well.
A rental bond is a security deposit paid at the start of the tenancy. Has the tenant paid all the rent that is due? If not, you may need to claim an amount higher than the bond. This is also possible if the tenant has caused damage, did not do general cleaning at the end of the tenancy or did not fulfill a part of the tenancy agreement.
If you will be claiming the bond, inform your tenant and complete the legal requirements. In Queensland, for example, you must submit a Refund of Rental Bond via the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) website.
If the tenant does not dispute the claim to the bond, it will be paid to the property owner or property manager. If any additional money is owed, an agreement can be reached between owner and tenant. Some parties opt to negotiate a payment plan should the tenant be unable to pay the full amount at once.
Whatever agreements you make, always be sure to put it in writing and see that all parties sign it. If ever you and the tenant are unable to come to an agreement, then you can attempt to resolve the issue through the state. In Queensland, you would need to submit a Dispute Resolution Request via the RTA and apply to seek an order for the outstanding money from the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).
If the tenancy agreement for a property is terminated and the tenant still has some belongings left in the property, the lessor is authorised to sell the goods by auction or dispose of them, according the Queensland RTRA Act. This can only be done if the market value of the goods is less than $1500; the storage of the goods would be unhealthy or unsafe or cause substantial market value depreciation; or the cost of removing, storing and selling the goods would be more than the proceeds from the sale.