How to properly take over the apartment after the tenant

The topic of the article is advice based on practice and the most frequent problems we face when taking over the property from the tenant. We all want to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings and therefore this article can also be useful for tenants so that they understand the interests of the landlord and can prepare the handover of the property properly. Let´s get started.

Describe the condition at handover in the rental agreement

The condition when handing over the property back to the landlord should be described in the rental agreement. The standard is that the tenant returns the apartment in the same state in which it was taken over. I recommend that the initial state of the takeover is universal and is defined precisely, meaning that the property will be completely whitewashed and tidied up. Therefore, the following provisions should be included in the rental agreement:

  • The tenant is obliged to vacate the object of the rental as of the last day of rental and hand it over properly and duly to the landlord, with all accessories, equipment and in the state in which it was taken over from the landlord, taking into consideration the normal wear and tear. In case that the wear and tear of the object of the rental exceeds the scope of normal wear and tear, the tenant shall ensure cleaning or possible necessary repairs as of the date of handing over the object of the rental.
  • Before handing over the object of the rental, the tenant undertakes to ensure the painting of its walls and ceilings, painting (or cleaning) of radiators, doors and windows, cleaning of floors and cleaning of fixtures and fittings.

Inspect the property a few weeks before handing it over

I recommend to the tenant and landlord to have a meeting in the property at least 14 days before the final handover and to clarify what the expected state means for the landlord when handing over the property back to the landlord. At that point, it´s also possible to discuss some wear and tear on the property, whether the landlord will consider it to be normal wear and tear or will want the tenant to repair it. The tenant will therefore have the opportunity to restore the property to the state the landlord is satisfied with. In spite of this, such a meeting doesn´t have to be a 100% guarantee that everything will be identified for repairs. It´s because when the property is inhabited and fully equipped, the details are not visible and they can be seen easily only after everything has been moved out completely.

Never set off the rent against the deposit

It is a relatively widespread bad practice when the tenant doesn´t pay the last rent stating that the landlord should deduct it from the deposit. This is a rather unfavourable situation for the landlord because in such a case they won´t be able to deduct from the deposit the costs of possible repairs and cleaning of the property after the tenant has left or to pay utilities in arrears. Thus, there is no way the landlord can agree with this set-off and I recommend to inform the tenant clearly at the very beginning of the rental that they are obliged to pay the rent until the very end of the rental and that the deposit must not be used for this purpose.

Hand over the property carefully

When handing over the property, I recommend taking with you the handover protocol on the basis of which the tenant took over the property, it will enable us to check on the spot the number of keys handed over, movable equipment and the recorded state of the property.

When taking over the property, we´ll also work out a handover protocol with the tenant (a sample handover protocol will be available for download in the next article on the blog) that will include, in addition to the contractual parties and property identification, also the following information:

  • number of keys
  • movable equipment
  • status of all meters (I recommend photographing the status of meters as evidence for possible future discrepancies)
  • the state of the property

Prepare transfer forms for energy and gas that the tenant has registered in their name.

Settle the deposit only after handover

Don´t return the deposit immediately upon handing over the property. Establish a provision in the agreement stipulating that the landlord is obliged to return the deposit, for example, within 30 days after the handover. You can need the deposit to put the property in the required condition and also for any utilities in arrears. You´ll calculate the real costs of utilities in the given property using the recorded status when handing over the property and you can deduct any arrears from the deposit. It’s easier than getting money from a tenant who doesn´t live in the apartment any more.

In conclusion, I´d like to direct you to some other materials that will help you with the rental of the property: