Get Those Elbows Working: Cleaning The Property
Cleaning is likely to be the last thing on your mind during a busy move but cleanliness is the most cited reason for tenants losing parts of their deposit. This means that rolling up your sleeves and giving the place a serious once-over can help you get back a large portion of your deposit. There is something of a distinction between domestically clean and professionally clean but most landlords simply don’t want the place left in a way that’s immediately unappealing to the next prospective tenants. Basic cleaning should include:
- Cleaning the bathroom thoroughly.
- Vacuuming all carpets.
- Clearing up any visible issues such as damp or mould.
Take note of which items of furniture came with the property and don’t leave any without permission. Your landlord may have to pay to have them removed, which you’ll be paying for.
Maintain What Your Can: Fair Wear and Tear
When landlords wish to replace items with your deposit, they must cite that the damage done was beyond fair wear and tear. There is no specific legislation that lays this out but there are many examples that can be given of a distinction between fair wear and tear and property damage:
- A carpet being faded and worn, even frayed are all signs that it’s been used, understandable for a tenant.
- Cigarette burns on a carpet are not reasonable signs of damage and also force the landlord to replace a carpet that might otherwise be in good working order.
Although it may seem too late to do any maintenance on your property just as you’re about to leave, you can still give the place a once-over and offset any changes that may need to be made.
- If you have painted your home a distinctive colour then get in touch with your landlord and see if they’d be willing to let you repaint yourself. This is a big job and should only be undertaken if a) you know your landlord will need to repaint because you opted for very distinct colours or b) you are able to perform it to a high standard. Most landlords will jump at the chance to avoid hiring painters and, if you have redecorated the place in colours that won’t attract potential tenants then this will also save them time.
- Clear out all gutters, lubricate all doors and windows and ensure that fittings are in good condition.
- Paint over scuffs and cracks where possible.
- Check your tenancy agreement and what it has to say about the garden (if there is one). Some contracts include that you will take care of the upkeep of said garden. If this is the case for you then trim back bushes and pull some weeds to make sure it’s presentable.
Your Rights and Your Deposit
If you’re afraid of your landlord simply withholding your deposit unfairly then it’s important to be aware of your rights. Since 2007 landlords are legally obligated to put deposits into protection schemes that have been approved by the government. This protects deposits from being spent in unfair ways before the tenancy is complete, thus offsetting landlords who attempt to use deposits as a “punishment” for behaviour such as noise. This is an illegal use of deposits, which are exclusively for the purpose of collecting rent when in arrears and using to pay for necessary repairs.
When leaving a property, get in contact with your landlord in advance and ask if they’re happy to arrange a walk-through to assess the state of the property. You should have been given a copy of the original walk-through when you moved in, which will be the comparison when working out costs. After this they should be able to give you an idea as to how much of your deposit will be returned to you. If you’re unhappy with the amount they quote then you can either complain to the deposit scheme where your money was placed or you can lodge a deposit dispute with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. They will assess the details for free and make a final decision on your case.
Once an amount has been agree then you should receive your deposit within 30 days of your leaving the property. This is a great nest-egg for any renovations you might have in mind for your next home so make sure you do everything you can to get as much of your deposit back as possible.