When you first get yourself into a property and the place is fresh, clean and ready for you to live your next step in life, you can be forgiven for thinking that all you need to do is simply live in it. However, as with many things in life, there is more to consider in order to get your full deposit back at the end of the tenancy.
If you moved in on or after 1 April 2013, your landlord should have registered your deposit into the Tenant’s Deposit Protection Scheme when your paperwork was signed and the keys were handed over. Along with that scheme, the things they look out for in order to retain your deposit are:
- That nothing inside or outside has been damaged
- The property requires cleaning
- You left before the tenancy ended
- You did not pay all the bills
- That items are missing
That said, you can do a lot to ensure those things don’t occur and get back that all important deposit to ensure you have funds for the next step in your housing decisions.
Here is a list of 5 things you can keep in mind to help ensure your deposit is returned:
Always ensure the property is extra clean. By this, we don’t mean just by running a cloth over the bits that show or spraying glass cleaner over the nearest mirror or glass shelf. If you need to, engage a professional cleaner to get into those hard to reach places, the parts that don’t really show but still need to be dirt free and those areas that are exposed to everyday abuse. Keep in mind those walls or areas that may have had sticky adhesive on them. Once the poster has been removed, the adhesive often leaves a darker, oily mark which look unsightly. Ensure you remove this residue before the end of the tenancy. Kitchens, bathrooms, cloakrooms and en-suites are also places to ensure cleanliness is returned to its peak. These rooms attract germs and bacteria like honey draws bees. Often the bacteria will turn white grouting to black and is difficult to remove not to mention is unsightly and unhygienic. If you are eager to turn a blind eye to it, ask yourself if you would want to move in with it there. Ensure rooms are suitably and appropriately aired too before departure. With regards to the exterior of the property, look at window panes, window and door frames and don’t forget to clean underneath the window sills too; heavy duty soap and water can work wonders. If there is a garden or even just plants in pots, don’t forget to keep lawns tidy, de-head dead flowers and weed where appropriate. Drain pipes are often overlooked along with outside drains so ensure they are given a dose of bleach to keep them clean and smell pleasant. Depending on the seasons, check the drains are free of fallen leaves as they can cause blockages.
Enjoy parties elsewhere. We’re not suggesting you should not be a social animal but we are suggesting that any hardcore socialising could be enjoyed at another venue. You can vouch for your own cleanliness but can you vouch for that of the gate crashers? Even sociable gatherings may incur the accidental and randomly spilled drink here or there on a pale carpet. These can and will stain forever if not cleaned immediately. Getting carpets or wooden floors professionally cleaned a few weeks before departure will assist the final clean you do too. Clean floors not only look good but they also smell fresh too which helps immensely with the landlords need to secure new tenants. This may not be your top concern but you were once excited to move in and the next tenant is likely to be as well, so leave it how you found it.
Remain on good terms with your landlord all the way through the entirety of the tenancy. Showing what a reasonable tenant you are goes a long way in securing the trust of your landlord. Even your behaviour during the inspections can be a helpful hint for the landlord in ascertaining the kind of state you may leave the property upon departure. Be the best tenant your landlord has ever dealt with.
When you first moved in, along with other paperwork you signed the inventory. Ensure that everything on it is still there on departure. If it isn’t, replace the item. While there is an inventory, it never hurts for both parties to photograph everything by way of an added piece of security. Should any disputes occur, at least you have photographic evidence to back up your claim.
All bills from services and utilities that you incurred should be paid by you. Any outstanding bills require payment by you so ensure this is completed before departure.
Taking on board these hints and tips will help to ensure your deposit is returned in full. Even if you paid it to your letting agency in the beginning, the landlord is responsible for its return. Furthermore, providing all these points have been adhered to and you hand back the keys of a beautifully pristine property, your deposit should be returned within 28 days of the end of the tenancy agreement.