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15/10/2019 | Rent out my property

Hand-over: owner and tenant, what are your obligations?

Hand-over: owner and tenant, what are your obligations?

When entering a dwelling, it is essential to draw up the initial inventory of fixtures, that is, to record, as precisely as possible, any defects or damages existing in the particular premises. This operation enables avoiding potential disputes at the end of the tenancy agreement, when the inventory will prove whether the dwelling is in good condition or if its condition deteriorated.

Before handing over the keys, a precise inventory is welcome.
Before handing over the keys, a precise inventory is welcome.

The initial inventory of the property

Before entering a dwelling (or any other property), the future tenant and the owner (or their representative) should draw up the initial inventory together. Such a document will be consulted again when the tenant is leaving the dwelling to verify the condition of the aforementioned premises.

In practice, the property owner and the tenant (or their representative) go from room to room and record any recognized defects. The inventory may include the condition of the walls, flooring, ceilings, faucets, electrical fixtures, furniture, if necessary, etc. Photos can support the records and will be enclosed to the inventory as attachments.

If the parties, or either of the parties, undertake to carry out work following the initial inventory of the property, the description of this work should ideally be indicated in the form of minutes, which will be attached to the tenancy agreement. The document does not have a mandatory form, however, there are available forms that facilitate the task. In the event that any defects are revealed later by the tenant, the tenant is obliged to report them to the owner immediately, in a written form, within 10 to 30 days. The initial inventory and any additional documents enclosed have to be drawn up in two copies, signed and maintained by both parties.

The final inventory of the property

It can be sometimes a difficult step for the tenant who may fear not to recover the deposit if the tenant is « blamed » for the revealed damage.  It is then that the initial inventory turns out so useful. From the legal standpoint, the final inventory takes place on the last day of the notice period and it records the differences as compared to the initial inventory. It should be noted, however, that there is no legal obligations to prepare the final inventory. If deterioration (or other damage) of the property is found that did not exist at the beginning of the tenancy agreement, the tenant may be required to cover the due costs. The final inventory specifies, if necessary, the repairs to be made by the tenant and / or those to be carried by the owner.  However, in the case of repairs to be made by the tenant it has to be proven that the deterioration goes beyond the regular wear and tear resulting, for example, from several years of the occupation of the premises.

If the parties, or either of the parties, undertake to carry out work following the initial inventory of the property, the description of this work should ideally be indicated in the form of minutes, which will be attached to the tenancy agreement. The document does not have a mandatory form, however, there are available forms that facilitate the task. In the event that any defects are revealed later by the tenant, the tenant is obliged to report them to the owner immediately, in a written form, within 10 to 30 days. The initial inventory and any additional documents enclosed have to be drawn up in two copies, signed and maintained by both parties.

 The obligations of the owner

At the tenant’s discretion, the owner has to provide a copy of the final inventory prepared with the former tenant.

The owner is also obliged to inform the tenant of any defects the owner is aware of. After the departure of the tenant, damages resulting from the regular use of the property can be taken care of by the owner.  In case of any disputes arising, the comparison with the initial inventory is required. Hence, it is so important that the initial inventory is made as precisely as possible. If there are no rent arrears and the dwelling is in good condition, the deposit will be refunded to the tenant within 30 days of the departure.

The obligations of the tenant

Generally, at the end of the tenancy agreement, the tenant is required to return the dwelling in a state consistent with that which was found when the tenant entered the premises. The dwelling has to be clean and damages that are not due to regular wear and tear have to be repaired. For example, torn wallpapers, dirty walls or holes in the flooring are considered excessive wear. If the tenant considers that the recorded damage does not correspond to the actual condition of the dwelling, the tenant can refuse to sign the final inventory document or to specify the reservations in detail. Finally, the tenant is obliged to give all the keys to the property back to the owner.

Read also: Determine your needs before purchasing a property!

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