How To Avoid Losing Your Deposit

You can have a fantastic relationship with your landlord or letting agent during your tenancy, and in an ideal world come the end of your tenancy you'd return your keys, pick up your deposit, wave goodbye and sail off into the sunset. But the reality can be very different and come deposit return time it can all go very wrong. So, to ensure a smooth transition of your full deposit back into your bank account check out the following tips:

  • Cleanliness - "It's cleaner now than when we moved in". This might be the case, but unless you can prove this it will be falling on deaf ears. Your landlord should have carried out a conditional report with you when you moved into the property outlining the state of cleanliness you received the property in. It is also a good idea to carry out your own conditional report, along with images for your own records. The best advice though is simply to keep your house clean and tidy throughout your tenancy. Put a cleaning rota in place, clean as you go along, but whatever you do, do not leave it all until the day before you move out.
  • Damages - "It was like that when we moved in". Really? You've been living without a back door for 12 months? As with the cleanliness, your landlord should have documented any damages present when you moved into the property. But it is good practice to make your own record with photos, and email it to your landlord at the start of the tenancy. If you break something during your tenancy and cannot fix it, tell your landlord immediately as it could end up costing you more in the long run.
  • Rent - Obvious you may think, but your landlord has the right to deduct any unpaid rent from your deposit, and in the case of a joint tenancy could even deduct money from your deposit to cover unpaid rent from your favorite housemate. That's right, a joint tenancy also means a joint deposit. Pay your rent on time each time and if you are in financial crisis at any point of your tenancy agreement don't hide it! Speak with your landlord as you may be surprised as to how accommodating they can be.
  • Utility Bills - Many landlords will stipulate in your tenancy agreement that they will not return your deposit until they have received confirmation that you have paid your final utility bills. So as you approach the end of your tenancy agreement get your house in order and ensure you are up-to-date with your utility accounts, and most importantly on your last day take meter readings to give to your suppliers. The quicker you provide evidence you've cleared your utility accounts, the quicker you'll receive your deposit back.

Just to give you an insight into the sort of deductions tenants face during the deposit process, here are the top five most common deductions we experience during deposit return time:

  1. Cleaning - An obvious one you would think but tenants sometimes underestimate the costs of cleaning. Some cleaning companies will charge up to £16.00 per cleaner per hour for an end of tenancy clean, and the average price for cleaning an oven is £60.00. For a six bed student house a full clean could be up to £300.00. Tip - Cover the bottom of your oven with tin-foil and change it each month.
  2. Carpets - Look after them like they were your own. By that I mean clean up any spillages immediately. Vacuum them weekly. Also, carpets were never designed to act as a rest for your GHD's or clothes iron. How do I know? By the severity of the burn they will leave when you pick them up again. 
  3. Mattresses - The best advice I can give here is invest in a good mattress protector. You're only human, you leak at night, for whatever reason, whether sweat or anything else. I'll leave it there.
  4. Blue Tack Damage - Just don't use it, nor White Tack. Why? Because they leave great big greasy stains which cannot be removed. The only remedy is to re-paint the wall, with two coats, and can end up costing you quite a bit, mostly in labour. There are alternatives out there but nothing seems to be fullproof. 
  5. Bulbs - You are responsible for replacing bulbs in your house during your tenancy. And yes, they can be expensive, but they will be far more expensive if you have to pay a handyman to replace them at the end of your tenancy. What may only cost you £3.00 per bulb during your tenancy can end up costing you £8.00 per bulb at the end of your tenancy.

So there you have it. I'm hoping that by taking this in, it will go someway to ensuring a speedy and efficient return of your full deposit come the end of your tenancy. 

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