Retrieving your deposit at the end of your tenancy
Many letting agents and landlords have had issues with tenants in regards to releasing their deposit at the end of their tenancy. As a tenant the documents you signed without carefully studying them at the start of your occupancy may come back to haunt you. Here are some factors to consider to ensure you glide blissfully into, and out of, your next home.
The system has changed in last decade, a Landlord can no longer just take your deposit and pay into his bank account. They must abide by the TDP policy (Government backed Tenancy Deposit Scheme) which will protect your money.
Before you move in
At the start of your contract, perform a walk-through of the house in the company of the landlord and ensure you go through every part of the building, with particular attention to damages. Open cupboards, move furniture and look behind anything hanging on the walls. Sign the contract only if you are happy with what you have seen. Take photos of all the rooms prior to unpacking your belongings to record the condition of the property before you moved in and of any issues or broken items on the check-in day. Preferably this should be done with a camera that displays the date and time to confirm when the photos were taken, most smart phones these days have this functionality.
Some key pointers that may affect your deposit;
- Is the exterior of the property still in good condition, for example have you had a Sky dish added or security lights without permission.
- Who is responsible for garden maintenance if there is one, overgrown gardens left for years cost five times as much as maintaining on a regular basis.
- Is there, or has there ever been, any damp. Find out, if there has has been then how was it treated or was it just covered up, some Landlords will blame lack of ventilation and take the repairs from your deposit.
- Will you be allowed to decorate to your own taste, check first. Most Landlords are amenable as they appreciate that this is your home and will allow you to decorate, within reason, to your own tastes. They may though ask you to restore to a neutral colour when you leave.
- Check the inventory before you move in, check that the items listed are the one on the inventory, if it just says ‘white fridge’ for example get them to add the make and model as well.
If you are happy to go ahead ask for a copy of the tenancy agreement and itinerary immediately and keep it safe, scan it or even photograph it from your mobile phone.
To sum up, if you are not sure it may be worth asking any previous tenants about their experience with both the property and Landlord.
At any point during your occupancy if anything gets broken which you yourself cannot fix notify your landlord as soon as possible in writing, don’t just make a call. Make sure that if you follow up the issue via phone or email that the conversation is stored electronically. Again, take photos of the faults that you are reporting.
On checkout day, make sure you have your inventory and contract and read it, normally it will state that you must clean the property before leaving, alternatively if the budget allows there are many home-clean teams that will take that burden from you. Adhere to any other conditions stipulated in your contract.
You should leave the house in the same state it was when you moved in. Your contract will no doubt have a “fair wear and tear” clause, if you are not sure ask your Landlord a few weeks before the move. Things that do not fall under “fair wear and tear” and should be personally sorted out include;
- Lime-scale around sinks and the bath
- Damp (green mould) around the windows (normally behind curtains due to lack of air circulation)
- General dirt and any visible stains, especially to carpets
Before you leave, preferably when all your items from the house have already been taken by the removals company, take photos of every room, as you did when moving in. Also, take photos of any damages which you may have already discussed with the landlord.
If you are still having problems getting your deposit refunded report this to to the relevant authorities.
Oh by the way if you are having friends over for a goodbye leaving party don’t have it the night before you are due to vacate, there is nothing worse than cleaning what was yesterday a perfectly clean house with a hangover 🙂
If you are thinking of moving soon don’t hesitate to call us, we can help you relocate with a van and man both cheaply and safely.
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