Moving into your first rented property is an exciting adventure. You’ve made it. You’ve got your own home. It’s time to explore the local area, buy decorative items and invest in homely goods (some of which you may never use!).
However there is a sting at the end of your tenancy. The dreaded questions you ask to yourself – will I get my deposit back?
In the past there have been many issues between landlords, letting agents and their tenants about this question. The tenancy that you sign can come back to bite you. Before you jump into anything and sign the tenancy, read our advice to ensure that you can happily move into your next home without worry.
Before you move in
Take your landlord or letting agent around with you at the start of your tenancy. You can go through each point on the inventory, paying particular attention to damages. Only agree to the inventory when you are completely happy that everything is included. If however, they claim they will repair something that is broken and they do not include it in the inventory; send them an email to follow up the conversation. It is also worth checking and recording the meter reading.
Make sure you take photographs of all rooms before you unpack to show the state of the property when you received it. Try and opt for a camera that has a date on it so that you can prove when it was taken.
During your tenancy
If you notice anything broken or damaged that you cannot repair, take photographs of the damages and let your landlord or letting agents know as soon as possible. This can include damp or electrical faults. If you speak to them via the phone, follow it up with an email or a letter so that you have a paper trail.
Check out time
Before you get started on your move, get your contract and inventory out and read it thoroughly. If it states that you need to professionally clean the property, do so and retain the receipt. This way, if the landlord disputes the standard you have evidence that it was done. Stick to any other rules or conditions of the contract, such as defrosting the kitchen’s white goods etc.
Although you should try to leave the property in the same condition as when you moved in, it is implicit in your contract that ‘fair wear and tear’ is expected and acceptable, so don’t worry too much. Among the things that aren’t classed as ‘wear and tear’ include lime scale around the bathroom and general dirt and grime. They usually would be maintained throughout the tenancy but if not, they will need to be sorted out as they are not acceptable to leave behind.
Once you have moved out all your belongings, take photographs of all the rooms, as you did when you moved in. If there are any problems that you have already discussed with your landlord, make sure you take a picture of these too. Make sure you remove all rubbish and belongings from the property even if you’re not looking to keep them and check the meter again!
Another thing that is worth questing is going over the check-out inventory with the landlord or letting agent. It will enable you to look at any issues together and then you won’t stumble upon any nasty surprises and any unexpected reductions from your deposit.
If, after following this advice, you do have any problems with retrieving your deposit, you can log an issue with the tenancy deposit scheme that yours is registered to. They will be able to give you further advice and guidance and mediate a fair communication between yourself and the landlord/letting agent. Your paper trail that you have created will be perfect for this, as you will have evidence in writing and in photographs.
And also don’t forget – If you notice any structural issues or mysterious damp at your property feel free to give our surveyors a quick call for free friendly advice on: 0800 880 6024
Moving house is a busy enough time, but it is well worth it to take some time before, during and after to save the hassle and bad taste left after a dispute. This way you’ll be able to enjoy moving into your new home with your lovely deposit back in your hands. Don’t get stung!