In this edition of our 'Five Common… Mistakes' blog series, we're talking about communication mistakes landlords, letting agents and tenants often make:

1. Not updating the check-in report

When you move in, you should immediately inspect the condition and cleanliness of the property and update your check-in report if anything is damaged, worn out or dirty. In the excitement of moving in, a scuff on the wall or grubby bath seal might not seem important, but, if it's not recorded in the check-in, it could end up costing you money after you move out.

2. Confirm changes in writing

Whether you're a landlord adding an addendum to the tenancy agreement to confirm the rent has increased, or a tenant asking for permission to redecorate a room, any agreed changes to the tenancy should be put in writing. If there's a dispute at the end of the tenancy, this can be helpful evidence to confirm you had agreement to make changes.

3. Get a rent receipt

While most tenants pay rent through a standing order, we know some pay in cash. It's essential that both the landlord and tenant have a record of this important transaction – a rent book or rent receipts, signed by both parties, are a helpful way to prove the rent has been paid. The landlord and the tenant should both keep a record. If there's a dispute over rent arrears at the end of the tenancy and there's no record of payments, proving the rent has been paid – or hasn't – will be very difficult.

4. Report problems in writing

If you carry out a mid-tenancy inspection and notice a problem (e.g. wet clothes on the radiators is causing damp on the walls), tell the tenant in writing. This works both ways – if you're a tenant and there's a problem in the property (e.g. a leaky window in the bedroom), let the landlord know as soon as possible in writing. If there's a dispute over damage, this can be helpful evidence to show you made an effort to stop or minimise the problem.

5. Discuss the deposit return

When the tenancy comes to an end, we strongly recommend the landlord and tenant discuss the deposit before starting the repayment process through our website. We know that an enormous majority of landlords and tenants can reach an agreement without having to involve our adjudication service – and the most important step is speaking to each other.

We've also published posts on Five Common Tenancy Agreement Mistakes, Five Common Inventory Mistakes and Five Common Photo Evidence Mistakes.