Finding a reliable removal company can be a challenge, and tenants often turn to their landlord or letting agent for advice at the end of a tenancy.

Providing quality recommendations for trusted tradespeople and services builds trust with tenants and means they’re more likely to pass on your details to friends and family.

In order to provide your tenants with reputable removals services, we explore what to look for when searching for a removal company and the benefits of using this service.

 

Do I Need a Removals Company?

If your tenant asks this question at the end of a tenancy, the answer is usually yes. Most people gather lots of belongings, even over the space of a year. When packing and transporting expensive items of furniture and fragile items, it can pay to leave it to the professionals.

Unless the property is very small, they are renting one room or rent a fully furnished property, it’s likely a professional removal service will be beneficial.

A professional removal service offers tenants;

  • Time saving
  • Safer packing and transportation of fragile items
  • More van space

A professional removal service is even more important for families with lots of belongings and older tenants who may struggle to pack up their home.

 

How Do I Choose a Removal Company?

We’ve broken down finding the right removal company into a few simple steps;

 

Location

The first consideration is location. Removal companies based locally to your rental properties are likely to be cheaper than those that have further to travel.

These companies could become part of a portfolio of recommended tradespeople and services you can offer to your tenants.

 

Comparison Sites

One of the first places to go for local removal companies is a comparison site. Here, you will find a list of trusted traders and you will be able to filter your search results to find relevant companies more quickly.

Searching by price point, location and reviews can help narrow down your search.

 

Removal Quotes

The next step once you have found a few possible candidates is to check removal quotes. Most tenants will be searching for the most affordable option, so if you can recommend a reasonable company they should be happy customers.

Try to get at least three different quotes for the same move, with each cost broken down into insurance, packing, hourly rate, mileage and storage.

 

Customer Reviews

We’ve all heard disaster stories of rogue movers damaging expensive furniture or losing sentimental items, and tenants won’t be happy if your recommendation goes wrong.

Once you have narrowed down the search further, it’s time to check the customer reviews. Sometimes, companies are cheap for a reason, and you should be able to weed out any unreliable movers from the reviews online.

 

How do I Find a Reputable Moving Company?

We’ve got some top tips on how to spot a quality removal company you can rely on;

 

Ask for Recommendations

Word of mouth can be a powerful tool for finding reliable tradespeople and services.

Have any of your friends or family moved home recently? They may have their own recommendations to offer. It’s also worth checking which removal companies local letting agents recommend.

 

Have They Been Regulated?

An easy way to determine whether a removal firm is trustworthy, is to check whether they are a member of any regulatory boards or associations.

Check if the company is a member of The British Association of Removers (BAR), a regulatory body which ensures professional excellence. With lists of residential and commercial movers, all companies listed have been tested to industry standards.

 

Questions to Ask the Movers

Before you recommend a removal company to your tenant, ask these questions first;

  • How long has the company been operating?
  • Do you offer pre move surveys?
  • Do you offer storage facilities?
  • Do your quotes include insurance?
  • Is a packing service included?
  • Is parking on moving day included?
  • What is your delay policy?
  • Do you ask for any additional removal costs?

Having all the important information to hand is of great use for busy tenants and will make a great impression long term.

 

How Much Notice Do Removal Companies Need?

The process of getting an initial quote for moving house, the subsequent survey, finding an available date and getting all of the documents in order can take several weeks. It’s a good idea to remind tenants of this as it comes nearer to the end of their tenancy so they can be fully prepared on moving day.

 

What is the Average Cost of Removals?

The cost of using a professional removals company is dependent on several factors;

  • The number and size of the items being transported
  • The distance between properties
  • Size of the removals team on the day
  • Whether it includes packing and packing materials

 

The Movers and Storers Show

Another way to find reputable moving companies is to attend an industry event such as the Movers and Storers Show.

This year, the show is taking place in Coventry, 19th-20th November and is a convenient place to find trusted partners.

 

The Importance of Trusted Property Partners

Reputation is important in the lettings industry. If a tenant has a positive moving experience thanks to your recommendation, they are more likely to consider your services in the future and give positive recommendations to friends and family.

That goes for all services you use to manage the rental properties in your portfolio.

Here at No Letting Go, we offer a range of professional services to help landlords and letting agents manage their portfolios and stay on top of their responsibilities.

From property inventory to property visits, our services are designed to protect your investment for the long term.

Browse our full list of property inventory services here to find out how we can help.

What if your tenant moves out without paying their utility bills or council tax? Does it fall on you as the landlord to pick up the pieces?

This is a common question among both landlords and tenants, and it needs clearing up. So, who is responsible for unpaid utility bills? Let’s find out.

 

Are Landlords Responsible For Unpaid Utility Bills?

Not usually. As long as it is the tenant’s name on the bill, and it is stated in the tenancy agreement that tenants are responsible for utilities, landlords are not liable for unpaid bills left over by tenants.

However, as a landlord, there are some steps you will need to take to protect yourself if you find yourself in this tricky situation;

  • Always tell the local council when a new tenant moves in. You will need to provide the names of the new tenants and the contact details of the previous tenants so they can get in touch if needs be.
  • Inform the energy suppliers of the property of any change in tenancy (this includes gas, electricity and water)
  • Encourage new tenants to change the name on the utility bills as soon as possible.
  • Make a note of the meter readings at the start and end of each tenancy so you have a record for the utility companies.
  • Ensure your tenancy agreement clearly states that utility payments are the responsibility of the tenant.
  • Keep a signed copy of the tenancy agreement in a safe, easily accessible place.

 

What Bills Are Tenants Responsible For?

This depends on the tenancy agreement you have in place.

Commonly, tenants are responsible for the following bills;

  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Council tax
  • Internet

However, this is not always the case. Let’s look at two different situations;

 

Utilities Registered In The Tenant’s Name

When bills are registered in the tenant’s name, the tenant is responsible for paying them from the date they move into the property. However, they are not responsible for any debts left behind from previous tenants. It’s important for tenants to check the meter readings on move-in day so they can supply their energy providers with the correct readings at the start of their tenancy.

In this case, landlords are not required to pay any remaining payments after their tenant has left. The utility companies will have to chase the tenant themselves, meaning the issue is out of your hands.

 

Utilities Registered In The Landlord’s Name

You can choose to register bills in the landlord’s name and ask the tenant to pay you for their usage. This can be helpful for short lets, or if you rent out a room in your own house. However, if the tenant leaves without paying, you may be responsible for paying the outstanding sum.

To avoid this situation, always follow the steps outlines above.

 

End Of Tenancy Utility Bills

To end a contract, most utility suppliers require a few days notice before the end of a tenancy. As long as the bills are in the tenant’s name, this is entirely their responsibility to organise.

If there is outstanding debt left over and…

  • The utilities are in the landlord’s name
  • Or the tenant failed to register for utilities whilst living at the property

You may be able to prove the tenants were living at the property if you supply a copy of the tenancy agreement. However, this will depend on the individual policies of the utility companies.

 

Who Is Responsible For Bills During Void Periods?

If your property is empty for any period of time, the owner of the property is responsible for utility payments.

This is why it’s best to keep energy usage to a minimum in between tenants. However, during the winter, we recommend keeping the heat consistent to protect against mould and damp and avoid further maintenance costs in the long run.

If your property is left vacant for an extended period, you will need to organise regular vacant property inspections to check for leaks or mould.

 

 

Who Is Responsible For Utilities In Multiple Occupancy Properties?

If there are several tenants living at a property, disputes can often arise regarding bills. The main thing to remember is that whoever’s name is on the bill is ultimately responsible.

This means, if all tenants in a house share or HMO rental property have their name registered to a utility bill, they are all equally liable to repay debts, even if it’s only one tenant who hasn’t paid.

 

Property Management Help From No Letting Go

One of the simplest ways to avoid disputes and protect your investment at the end of a tenancy is to have all of your property reports in one easily accessible place.

All of our check in reports come with utility checks and meter readings included to help landlords and property professionals keep on top of their responsibilities.

Keen to learn more about how our flexible reporting could help? Find our full list of property inventory services here.

Ending a tenancy can be awkward for both tenants and property professionals. Dealing with tenancy deposit returns, outstanding rent and resolving disputes can take time and a lot of effort. So, how can tenants and landlords alike ensure the end of tenancy goes smoothly?

No Letting Go’s chief operations officer, Lisa Williamson recently joined Richard Blanco on his podcast ‘Inside Property’ to discuss the types of issues that can arise and how to resolve them through unbiased, end of tenancy services.

Lisa was joined by Suzy Hershman, head of dispute resolution at My Deposits, and Al McClenahan, the director of Justice4Tenants to get a full picture from all sides of the story.

Here is a roundup of the key insights that came out of the programme;

Start as You Mean to End

Lisa’s top tip on ending a tenancy well is to determine a clear position from the start. The way to do this is through a well thought out inventory including detailed but concise information, clear photographs and a comprehensive list of contents and condition.

Creating a tenancy format which is easy to read by both parties is essential for avoiding confusion at the end of the tenancy.

Another tip for landlords from Lisa is to ensure that tenants sign the inventory report to avoid deduction disputes during check out.

 

An Unbiased Outlook is Key

One question that arose in the podcast was whether landlords should create their own inventory reports.

While it’s completely fair for a landlord to perform their own survey, they run the risk of using emotional language which can be interpreted in different ways.

This is where an independent inventory service can resolve issues. No Letting Go inventory reports include a glossary of terms to determine the condition and cleanliness of items in the property. For example, rather than a landlord using the word ‘immaculate’ to describe a piece of furniture which could come across as biased or open to interpretation, instead ‘professionally clean’ is a clearly explained term in the NLG glossary.

Another benefit of using a professional, unbiased property inventory service is that in the case of a dispute over deposit returns, judicators can clearly understand the benchmarks.

 

Are Pre-Check Out Meetings A Good Idea?

As an active landlord himself, Richard highlighted the benefit of arranging pre-check out meetings with tenants to go over what is expected of them during the moving out process.

This all sounds well and good, but the question is, who will pay for it? Landlords and tenants may be reluctant to fork out this extra cost, but it could save money further down the line.

Alternatively, providing tenants with an end of tenancy letter detailing all the tasks that need to be completed before moving out is a great way to prevent confusion over where responsibilities lie. This can include the date and time of the key handover and what needs to be cleaned.

 

End of Tenancy Property Cleaning

As the head of dispute resolution at My Deposit, Suzie Hershman has a lot of experience dealing with the common issues affecting landlords and tenants during the checkout process.

According to Suzie, cleaning comes top of the list when it comes to end of tenancy disputes.

The resolution is simple. Start with an inventory report which plainly states the condition of the property and how it is expected to be maintained. For example, if the property has a garden, the inventory needs to clearly state that the grass needs to be cut or the paving de-weeded and power washed before leaving the property.

Other issues that can arise include whose responsibility it is for window cleaning and whether professional carpet cleaning needs to be undertaken.

The main rule of thumb for tenants, is that the property needs to be returned in the original state as at the start of the tenancy. This may involve hiring an end of tenancy cleaning service (make sure you keep the receipt as evidence) or giving the property a thorough clean yourself. Either way, ensure you leave on the last day of your tenancy confident everything looks the same as it did when you moved in!

Fair wear and tear can be a bit of a grey area when it comes to cleaning. Suzie recommends that landlords should think of the items in their property as having a lifespan. A carpet or decor has an average lifespan of 5 years, which needs to be taken into consideration during the checkout report.

 

Managing the Landlord-Tenant Relationship

According to Al from Justice4Tenants, the main reason for the breakdown of the landlord- tenant relationship at the end of a tenancy is disputes over deposit deductions.

Al attributed this to poor inventories which leave too much room for interpretation and miscommunication, which is more common when landlords create their own.

Another common reason for strained relationships is when tenants are in arrears at the end of the tenancy agreement. To minimise conflict, Al recommends that tenants are as open and communicative with their landlord about their financial difficulties to help landlords remain understanding until the issue can be resolved.

However, when landlords view their role purely from an investment perspective and ignore the human side of the relationship, this is when disputes are likely to arise. The lesson? Landlords who are more understanding and willing to negotiate are likely to have better relationships with their tenants, resulting in a smoother parting.

 

How Will the Letting Agency Fee Ban Effect End of Tenancy?

There has been much discussion over what changes the letting agency fee ban will bring to the industry. However, for now, Lisa doesn’t see much change to the way check out reports will be processed.

Currently, landlords usually pay for the inventory, and for either check-in or check-out services while the tenant pays for the other. This means there is only one cost that needs to be recuperated by landlords.

According to Lisa, most landlords and tenants can see the advantages of having these services managed by independent professionals.

 

Unbiased End of Tenancy Services from No Letting Go

To ensure the end of a tenancy goes as smoothly as possible and you retain a positive relationship throughout, using an independent property service can help resolve issues and disputes before they arise.

No Letting Go provides all the documentation needed at the start and end of a tenancy to determine how much money is deducted from the deposit. Using the latest technology, No Letting Go can advise against fair wear and tear and create reports to ensure you are fully compliant with regulations.

To see the full list of services on offer, head to the No Letting Go services page.