With students across the country about to head back to colleges and universities, it’s paramount that great care is taken over managing student check-ins throughout the Covid-19 outbreak. With this in mind, the DPS have recently released new guidance on arranging accommodation check-ins that sit in alignment with the official rules on house moves.

Matt Trevett, MD at The DPS, said: “Some students may not know what to expect when moving during the pandemic, and many landlords and agents are still adjusting to how public health measures affect setting up new tenancies. This guidance, which takes into account latest government advice on moving, will help ensure a safe and efficient move in line with the regulations, as well as help avoid disputes at the end of a tenancy.”

The Guidelines For Student Check-ins

Make sure you have a good understanding of the governmental restrictions on moving – As the law currently stands in the UK, members of just 2 households are permitted to enter a property at the same time. However, students who decide to cohabit become a ‘household’, meaning that check-ins can be undertaken, either by a landlord or an agent.

Aim to minimise the number of tenants present at check-in – There only really needs to be 1 tenant present if you are dealing with a joint tenancy. However in cases where each student has a separate tenancy for each bedroom – everyone will need to be present and be issued their own inventory to sign.

It’s best that check-ins are carried out when the property is empty – This will significantly minimise the likelihood of the virus spreading from belongings.

It’s fine to conduct electronic check-ins – Reports can be made up prior to the start of tenancy and sent to tenants via email or post.

Keep it factual – Check-ins should provide thorough and accurate descriptions of the property and everything in it, including any outdoor space and detailing any existing damage. If at all in doubt, it’s always a good idea to use a third party inventory service to give yourself piece of mind and protect yourself from any legal disputes.

Photograph everything – Photographs alongside the report will provide you with the best evidence, along with the check-in report, will provide you with the best evidence in the event of a dispute. If tenants want to take their own photographs then they will need to arrange with the landlord or agent a suitable time to enter the property.

Be aware that tenants have 7 days to look at the draft report and respond – If there are no amendments given within this time frame then the landlord or agent can rightly assume the tenants are in agreement.

Make sure any conversations had about the property’s condition are recorded – All conversations of this nature should be followed up by post or email so that there is a clear record in the event of these matters needing to be referred back to later on.

The Tenants’ agreement is crucial– Please make sure you keep the final agreed version of the report as well as any email trails etc that relate to it. In situations where for whatever reason you have been unable to get a signature from the tenant, make sure you get them to confirm by email or even a text – and keep hold of it.

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