Guard Against Losing Your Tenancy Deposit

Published: 28/01/2019

You’ve signed your tenancy agreement and are moving in to your new rental home, it’s an exciting time and you’ve no doubt worked hard to get there. It can be a quite a substantial sum of money that you have handed over so be smart about it and think about how you can be best placed to recoup that money at the end of your tenancy agreement.

Wild parties might not be your style but even if you do have people over for Saturday night drinks it’s important to understand that your property needs to be kept in good condition for when you pass it back at the end of your contract.

To give you an idea of how many people lose money, Deposit Protection Service says almost a quarter of students alone lost part of their tenancy deposit when they left their accommodation at the end of the last academic year. The service says that cleaning (63 per cent) is the common reason cited by agents and landlords claiming part of their tenants’ deposits, followed by damage to property (54 per cent), redecoration (37 per cent), rent arrears (23 per cent), gardening (16 per cent), replacing missing items (16 per cent) and paying outstanding bills (four per cent).

Obviously, students only make up a percentage of those that are renting in the UK, but it shows that you need to be vigilant as a tenant when renting a property so that you can reclaim that full deposit on checking out.

Drastically improve your chances of receiving your full deposit when leaving your property by taking certain steps and making sure that happens by being aware of your rights and responsibilities from the very start.

These are our helpful hints and tips for increasing your chances of reclaiming that full deposit:

  • Ensure the landlord or agent uses an authorised deposit protection scheme. (At Peter Woods we use the Tenancy Deposit Scheme)
  • Agree an inventory with other tenants and return it to the agent or landlord signed before you move in.
  • Always make sure that you read and understand your rights and any obligations set out on the tenancy agreement.
  • Record all communication with the agent or landlord in writing.
  • Keep copies of any documents, receipts and email correspondence relating to the tenancy.
  • Report defects with the property promptly and in writing, including the cause of the problem if known.
  • Make sure photos of problems in the property are date-stamped.
  • Remember tenants’ obligations, especially those known legally as “joint and several”: if one individual tenant does not accept personal responsibility when something goes wrong, such as a breakage, then it becomes the joint responsibility of all the tenants. It is always best to know the people that you are living with personally just for that level of trust. If you are in a situation where this isn’t possible (this happens a lot in London!) then meet prospective flatmates a couple of times to make sure they are the type of person that you want to live with.
  • Remember that most tenancy agreements stipulate that tenants are liable for damage to communal areas as well as within their own rooms.
  • Liability generally extends right until the end of the tenancy: if one person moves out before other tenants, they could remain jointly responsible for the property.
  • Attend the checkout inspection at the end of tenancy, that way you can go through any issues that may have arisen during the tenancy face to face.