To a tenant getting a full deposit returned is one of the most important things to think about when leaving a property. Chances are you’ve already had to pay for a new deposit upfront to the property you are moving to and are currently out of pocket.
To ensure to get your full deposit returned to you when you leave a rental property make sure you consider the following points:
Cleanliness is one of the most preventable ways of protecting your deposit, all it takes is a bit of elbow grease. Even if the property wasn’t in the best state of cleanliness when you moved in that doesn’t mean you should leave it the same way. Always make sure you leave the property spotless. Landlords/Letting Agents aren’t expecting it to be cleaned to an unreachable, professional standard. However, if they can see you have made the effort it will go a long way when they complete a check out inspection.
Make sure you aren’t using cleaning products that are going to cause you extra charges by damaging any of the surfaces/fixtures in the property. Check out our recent post about Eco-Friendly cleaning for tips that you can use for cheap, effective cleaning that doesn’t cost the world (Literally!).
2. Unreported Damages
Just because you are leaving a property in a few months' time, don’t make the mistake of thinking that you don’t need to report any damages anymore. If you are aware of any maintenance issues that need attention at the property make sure you are still reporting them as normal. If you don’t, upon leaving this could be seen as neglect of the property and you could be charged for the damage if it extends the time the property will need to be vacant whilst it is repaired.
This also stands for damage that was there before you moved in. Ensure that you have evidence of any existing damage in the form of an inventory or just photos from when you moved in with a clear date visible. This will avoid any disagreements when you leave and ensure you get your deposit back as soon as possible.
3. Unagreed Changes
Have you painted any walls since you moved in? Hung up pictures or shelves on a wall? Well if you didn’t get permission from your Landlord to do this you will need to restore the property to how it was originally or you will be charged out of your deposit for someone else to do it.
Always make sure you have permission from your Landlord before you make changes to any property, as future tenants may not always have the same decor taste that you do. Read our recent blog post for the advice on the best way to do this.
Whether you are paying for your bills as a package deal with your rent or paying for them separately, keep an eye on the meter during your last few months there. The last thing you want when you’re waiting on your deposit is for your Landlord/Letting Agent to send you a bill for overused Utilities. This is something that cannot be negotiated as the money will be owed to a third-party Utility provider so there is no room for error here. Be more mindful of the Utilities you are using than you normally would be and turn everything off once you leave. Also, make sure you have cancelled any subscriptions you have registered to the property. You don’t want to forget about those, or you could end up with a ridiculously high, unpayable bill later down the line.
5. You Didn’t Read Your Tenancy Agreement
Probably the most important of any of these points and something you must be mindful of from the very beginning. Different Landlords/Estate Agents have different definitions of terms such as ‘wear and tear’ and different notice periods you need to give when leaving a property.
Make yourself aware of this from the beginning so you are prepared for when you decide it is time to move on from the property. If you are unsure of anything don’t be afraid to ask and even better, always get the answers in writing. You’ll be surprised how useful they can be in a dispute further down the line!
To conclude, if you follow these rules, you shouldn’t lose out on your deposit. It’s simple, look after the property, communicate well with your Landlord/Letting Agent regarding any issues or changes, keep an eye on your Utility usage, and make sure you’re clued in on what legal documents, such as your Tenancy agreement, are really saying and you’ll have your full deposit back ready use to decorate your new home!
Disclaimer: Ezylet is not qualified to give legal or financial advice. Any information shared in the above blog is an opinion based on personal experiences within the property rental sector, and should never be construed as legal or professional advice.