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When renting a home, you can lose your deposit if you do not keep to the terms of the tenancy agreement. (View sample tenancy agreement)
To make sure that your deposit is dealt with fairly, your landlord or agent must protect the money with a government approved scheme. If you and your landlord can’t agree
on what are reasonable deductions from your deposit, you can refer your dispute to
an independent adjudicator who will decide.
You don’t want to lose your deposit and nobody wants a dispute so here are some top tips for tenants…
Tenancy Deposit Scheme
Before you part with your cash Is your landlord or agent a member of a tenancy deposit scheme? Make sure you receive a certificate and other paperwork (known as Prescribed Information) which tells you who is protecting it. You must get this within 30 days of paying the deposit – if you don’t, ask for it!
Read your AST
Know what you’re agreeing to! Read your tenancy agreement. It tells you what you can (and can’t) do during your tenancy, and may contain special clauses. Can you smoke? Can you keep pets? Are you responsible for gardening? Try to attend the check in and check out inspections – and keep the reports. This means you can agree with the landlord on the contents and condition of the property and will avoid disagreements later on.
How clean is your house? More than half of deposit disputes are about cleaning – or lack of! Clean regularly, and at the end of the tenancy use a reputable professional cleaning company to carry out end of tenancy cleaning.
Paint with restraint! If you want to do any redecorating always ask permission in writing. Be clear on what you can do and what condition to leave it in at the end. There’s no accounting for taste so if your landlord wants to change it back again, it may be your deposit that pays!
Report damage straight away! And do it in writing. Even if it wasn’t your fault, seemingly small problems like leaks can lead to serious damage if not fixed, and by failing to tell the landlord you may become responsible for the cost of repair.
If at the end of your tenancy you disagree with charges on your deposit, always negotiate with your landlord first before referring your dispute to a tenancy deposit scheme.
Disputes can be a lengthy process and you will require to submit any evidence in the form of emails and photos. Make sure you store all this information during your tenancy.