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10 Ways to Make Sure You Get Your Deposit Back After Your Tenancy is Over

At the start of your tenancy, you’ll have been asked to leave a deposit with your landlord – who would then have put it within a Secure Tenancy Deposit Scheme as they are legally obliged to do (we use MyDepositScotland) – to cover any damage you cause during your stay. You’ve been careful throughout your tenancy; so you’re sure to get the full amount back, right?

Sadly, this isn’t always the case. The Deposit Protection Service suggests that just 60% of tenants in the UK get 90% or more of their deposit back when they move out. For students, this figure is even lower – a mere 27.5%!

If you’re about to move out, and want to ensure you get back as much of your deposit as possible, here’s some steps you’ll need to take.

10 Ways to Get Your Deposit Back

  1. Repair any minor damage. Major problems, such as fixing the plumbing or mending the roof, are your landlord’s responsibility. However, minor damage, like holes in the walls, blocked toilets or stained carpets, are your responsibility as the tenant. It’s a good idea to repair things as best as you can, otherwise the costs will be deducted from your deposit.
  2. Keep it clean. A quick run-around with the vacuum cleaner isn’t adequate, we’re afraid! It’s generally expected that you should leave the property in a relatively pristine condition, which means a thorough spring-clean is required.
  3. Check the inventory. At the start of your tenancy, you will have been given an inventory. Go through it carefully, and check that everything listed is still in the property. If you’ve lost or broken something, you’ll need to replace it.
  4. Get rid of rubbish. It might be tempting to leave bags of refuse outside the property, but if your landlord has to remove these for you, they’ll charge you for the privilege. It’s your responsibility to ensure all rubbish is removed from the premises before you move out.
  5. Clean the appliances. A thorough clean doesn’t just mean all visible surfaces. Your landlord will expect appliances, such as the fridge and oven, to be left as clean as you found them.
  6. Return your keys. If you fail to return your keys, complete with the fob, to the landlord or letting agent, you could have money deducted from your deposit.
  7. Sort out your bills. All bills must be settled up before you leave. Failure to do so might not only mean that you lose some of your deposit – it might also mean that the new tenants continue to use your services, and you’ll get charged for their usage.
  8. Look at the paintwork. You might not consider a few scuff-marks to be major damage, but your landlord won’t thank you for them, and they’ll deduct money from your deposit to cover the costs of having the surfaces repainted. It’s much cheaper to take on the task yourself.
  9. Get up to date with rent. You must ensure that your rent is fully paid by the time you leave. Failure to do so will mean you’re unlikely to receive any of your deposit until you pay up!
  10. Invite your landlord round. Before you move out, invite your landlord over to inspect the property. This is a great chance for them to voice any concerns they might have, and it puts you in a stronger position to obtain 100% of your deposit.

Protect Your Deposit

Once you’ve cleaned the property and repaired anything that was broken, take photos. These will protect you, in the event that a dispute does arise. Getting the deposit back is not at the sole discretion of the landlord, as it is legally held with a Secure Tenancy Deposit Scheme as mentioned earlier. Remember that you are legally protected as a tenant, and that your landlord has a responsibility to return the deposit, providing you haven’t broken any of the terms of the tenancy. If you have been a good tenant and looked after the property, then there should be no issues.

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