An overview for Chichester landlords on how to move tenants in…


As a landlord and letting agent it’s crucial to have processes in place to ensure you provide a consistently excellent service. I’ve just got back from my third move-in within a week, so I thought I’d give an overview of CRJ Lettings’ move-in process.

It’s actually a pretty mundane hour or so of paperwork checking, contract signing and multiple page initialling! But, it’s crucially important that all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed to ensure the tenancy gets off to the right start. Done properly, it will also mean a tenant is fully-equipped to enjoy their new home, whilst keeping it in good order for the landlord.

I go through a check-list to ensure nothing is missed; starting with the paperwork. That means the tenants signing the tenancy agreement and initialling each page (it would have been sent to them in advance so they’ll have already had a chance to read it). Then it’s the same process with the security deposit certificate and prescribed information forms.

I’ll then show the tenants where the water stop tap, gas safety valve, fuse box and mains isolator switches are and what to do in case of any emergencies. Showing them these could be crucial for the tenants’ safety as well as minimising any damage to the property (for instance in the case of a water leak). We’ll also take meter readings together at this point, as well as showing the tenants any communal areas of the property and how the heating system and kitchen appliances work.

Just in case the tenants might forget any of this important information, they’ll then be shown the house manual I prepare for all my fully managed properties. This lists the location and operation of all the above, as well as setting out other general tips about good home management, along with all the contact details they’ll need throughout the tenancy. It will also contain the property’s safety certificates and EPC, as well as the governments ‘How to Rent’ guide, as legally required.

The ‘move-in checklist’ can then be used as proof that all the legal requirements have been completed (including showing the tenants a working smoke alarm on each floor of the property and a carbon monoxide alarm where required).

The last bit of paperwork to go through is the inventory. This is a substantial (50 page+) document created by an independent company, who go into very fine detail. The tenants should ensure they’re happy the condition of the property is correctly noted, as it forms the basis of how it should be returned at the end of their tenancy.

Finally the keys are distributed to the tenants and any other questions can be answered. It’s also a good opportunity to explain when I’ll next be in contact regards to the receipt of rent and future inspections.

This thorough move-in process ensures the landlord is legally compliant, the tenants are aware of everything they’ll need to know and it creates a good start to our professional relationship. I think it beats many letting agents’ approach; which is to simply hand over the keys and let the tenants sort themselves out.

If you’d like a free copy of my ‘move-in checklist’ please contact me and I’ll be happy to send it to you.

About the Author

Carl Eldridge
Carl Eldridge is a hugely experienced journalist who has worked on local and national newspapers, magazines and written for websites over the past 30 years. He lives in Bognor Regis with his wife and son. And he is a life-long Arsenal fan.