How to Get Your Tenancy Deposit Back

For the majority of tenants, the amount they pay as a tenancy deposit is a considerable sum, and one they could do with being returned to them in full.

Your landlord will view the tenancy deposit you pay them as their insurance policy that you will not destroy or wreak the property, or leave owing rent payments. In theory providing you leave the property as you found it and have paid all the rent in full there should be no problem in getting your money back. Yet some people have found out to their cost that not all landlords will give them or any of their money back.

Students are affected the most by dishonest landlords, According to figures from Student Tenant, 4 out of 10 students received a partial or no refund of their tenancy deposit in 2016, which amounted to a staggering £32 million in lost deposits.

With those scary figures in mind, we have put our top tips together to ensure you get all of your money back but there is a small downside that you will have to put in a little bit of legwork.

Take photos before you move in and after you move out…

While many tenants take photos when they move out they forget to take photos when they moved in (due to this it’s their word against the landlord) However if you have a photo from before you moved in that shows a stain was originally on a carpet then it’s harder for the landlord to make you accountable for something that was already done.

Check everything in the tenancy agreement…

We appreciate that the wording of most tenancy agreements is rather dull, yet it needs to be read thoroughly before you (and any potential housemates sign it) If you’re not sure about any of the contents seek advice from Citizens Advice. 

You will be expected to have read and to have understood every single clause in the contract, no matter how obscurely or badly written it is. Common mistakes include not noticing that the notice period is longer than the average period of one month and that the house needs to be cleaned by professional cleaners and not just by all of the tenants.

Ensure your deposit is with the TDP…

Since 2007 all landlords are supposed to place all tenancy deposits within the Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme. The purpose of this scheme is to make sure landlords only withhold part or all of deposits fairly. As soon as you have paid your deposit check that your landlord has paid into the scheme. If there are doubts that the deposit has been put into TDP then you can write to confirm that they have received. your landlord has 30 days to put the deposit in the scheme and you could be due compensation if they fail to do so.

Request an inventory list…

Most landlords will have a full inventory of what is in the property, request a copy so you know everything that should still be in the house when you leave. Having the list means you know what to replace or repair before you move out.

Consider replacing any breakages…

Accidents will always happen, so if anything gets broken that is on the inventory consider replacing it. Make a note of whatever gets replaced and try to get an exact replacement for whatever got broken.

If it cannot be replaced let your landlord know in plenty of time and pay for any repairs as soon as you can.

Pay all of the bills…

Make sure that you pay all of the bills between you before leaving. If there are any outstanding after you leave then it could affect your credit rating and the landlord would be entitled to recuperate anything they had to pay out of your deposit.

The best thing to do is ask for finals, pay them and show the landlord the receipts so they know everything has been paid for.

Invite the landlord over…

A week before you are due to leave the property ask the landlord to have a look around. The idea is that they can point out anything they are not happy with so you have time to put it right. You can bring the photographs taken before you moved if there are any disagreements.

Leave at the same time…

If at possible coordinate so that all of the tenants leave at the same time (especially if your a student) That way you can all share in the clean-up and split any extra costs in making sure that the house is fine to leave.

Get scrubbing…

Before you leave make sure that the house is spotlessly clean and tidied up. Landlords prefer to be handed back a clean and orderly property. Also if they find a dirty house they will charge if they need to hire professional cleaners.

Make sure you don’t lose the keys…

All the tenants need to make sure they have their keys to hand in, Replacing keys is expensive, and if the landlord has to replace locks then you would all lose your deposits (this includes keys to  Garages, Conservatories, Sheds etc).

Double check everything…

Before leaving and locking up the property double or triple check everything. Make sure that everything is as it should be, take photographs of the house after everything is as it should be.

Take all the rubbish with you…

Plenty of tenants clean the house but do not remove the rubbish from the property. Put rubbish in the bins outside, and make sure those bins are emptied prior to leaving the house. You may have to take rubbish to the nearest dump if you are unable to be there for the last collection date.

Make sure your legal rights are respected…

As part of their agreement with the TDP landlords have to notify you if they are deducting anything from your deposit and explain those deductions. Without any explanation for deductions will not be made by the TDP.

You can contest any deductions proposed and present evidence to the TDP. Their decision is final and landlords have to repay deposits within 10 days.

We hope this guide has helped you, check out our other money-saving guides here https://www.extremecouponing.co.uk/category/guides/

About the author

Holly Smith


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