As Estate Agents in W1, we are often asked by Tenants how they can get back their rental deposit. When you move into a rented property, you can expect to pay between one or two month’s rent as a deposit. This is a large sum of money and we have put together some tips to help make sure you get deposit back at the end of your tenancy.
The protection of deposits on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy has greatly improved since 2007 where new legislation came into effect for a Landlord or their agent to place the deposit in a government authorised tenancy deposit scheme. The Landlord or Agent must write to you within 30 days from receiving the deposit to confirm which deposit scheme the deposit has been registered to. If the deposit has not been protected, the Landlord could pay you between one and three times the value of your deposit.
We asked our ARLA qualified estate agents in Fitzrovia what Tenants should do to ensure the return of their deposit in full. There are three simple steps:
- Do not break the terms of your tenancy agreement
At the start of your tenancy, carefully check the agreement before you sign it, ensure you fully understand the terms and what is required from you as a Tenant. Check the deposit clause within the tenancy agreement and identify the Tenancy Deposit Prescribed Information (TDPI) – the Landlord cannot serve a valid Section 21 Notice for possession if the TDPI has not been signed.
If you need to make any amendments to agreement during the tenancy, contact your Landlord or Agent immediately. There might be a small charge involved, but it is better than breaking the terms of the agreement and suffering a greater loss later on.
- Leave the property in good condition
It is advisable to have an inventory and schedule of condition prepared at the start of the tenancy. It is therefore important to check you are happy with the contents of the inventory and to note any discrepancies to the Landlord or Agent. Put any correspondence in writing so that you have a paper trail in case there is any dispute at a later date.
During your tenancy, inform the Landlord or Agent if any part of the property or its contents becomes broken or damaged. It is better to be upfront if the damage has been caused by you. Trying to repair it could cause more damage and cost you more in the long term.
At the end of the tenancy, read through the tenancy agreement and the inventory to remind yourself of your responsibilities. If you are required to have the property professionally cleaned, ask the Landlord or Agent if they have a preferred contact they would like you to use. Keep the receipts as evidence but also make sure the property is cleaned to the standard it was found.
The property should be left in the same condition as when you moved in, allowing for ‘fair wear and tear’. What doesn’t count as fair wear and tear? Examples include a build-up of lime-scale in the bathroom, mould that has formed as a result of a room not being ventilated properly and general dirt and grime as these are things that should be maintained during your tenancy. Remove all rubbish and belongings, even if you do not want them (e.g. crockery and cutlery) as you may be charged for removal costs.
- Pay your rent and bills
The inventory and check-in will usually record the meter readings and it is your responsibility to register your name with the utility companies and pay the bills on time and in full up until the end of the tenancy. The Landlord can recover non-payment of utilities from the deposit.
At the end of the tenancy, the Landlord or Agent has a certain time period to write to you confirming whether they plan to make any deductions. Make sure they contact you within this time frame. Read through the deposit clauses in your tenancy agreement as the timescales can vary. If you cannot come to an agreement, it is time to refer to the case onto an Independent Case Examiner of the Tenancy Protection Scheme. We hope that most cases won’t have to be referred, however our useful points above provided by our Agent Estates in W1 should give you some guidance for your next property adventure.
Contact Davis Brown Estate Agents in the West End for more information.