Tips for Ensuring You Do Not Lose Your Deposit When Renting
More and more people in the UK are opting to rent properties rather than buying. This is perhaps due to prevailing economic circumstances where the availability of housing stock has kept property prices high and made renting a more viable option for many. Tenants in the UK on average stay within the same rented property for two and a half years before moving on. A recent survey of tenants conducted by the market research company BDRC Continental showed that three-quarters of those renting had been doing so for over four years, and only two-fifths had remained within the same rented property.
When renting a property the landlord will require a deposit payment to hold as a security against damage, theft, or unpaid rent at the end of the tenancy. Landlords have no right to make unreasonable deductions and though they can expect a clean property at the end of the tenancy, they must accept a reasonable degree of wear and tear in the carpets, furniture, and fittings. There are several things you must be sure to do to make sure you get back as much of your deposit as possible. Most obviously, you must take care of the property: whenever small repairs are required speak to your landlord as soon as possible and arrange to have it fixed before it gets any worse and ask for a copy of any receipts for remedial work done that may be deducted from your deposit.
There are two other key things to remember to ensure you do not lose your deposit. Firstly you should be aware that as a tenant on an assured short-hold lease you are protected by government deposit schemes that safeguard your deposit payment and provide a dispute resolution service if necessary. The schemes require landlords to hand over your deposit to a government-authorised protection company of their choice for the duration of the tenancy. Once you and your landlord have agreed on the extent of deductions the money will be released by the protecting company. If, however, you are in dispute with your landlord the money will not be released to your landlord or to you until the problem is resolved.
To ensure there are no disputes, being proactive about inventory taking at the start and end of your tenancy is vital. Your landlord should provide an inventory with the statement of tenancy terms listing a detailed record of the furniture, fittings, and appliances within the property and their condition. Make sure you check the list is correct and challenge any incorrect assessments and draw attention to pre-existing damage that has not been noted. Taking photos of the items is a useful approach. Then make a written agreement with your landlord with changes incorporated to the inventory. At the end of your tenancy repeat the process to document any wear and damage and use your records to compare with the assessment made by your landlord. This will be vital if disputes arise and allows you to present an accurate picture to mediators.