How to avoid losing your rental deposit

A large portion of people do not have their deposit returned to them after moving out of a rented property.

Don’t fret, though. There are a myriad of ways to avoid losing your much-needed money.

Know your rights

You are actually entitled to have your deposit returned to you after moving out. All being well, you should get your deposit back within 28 days of your tenancy ending.

However, sometimes the worst happens, and you only receive a portion of your deposit, or none at all. Here are some reasons why this would occur/ the only reasons that this should occur:

Damage has been caused to the property. Be it by yourself or a guest, accidental or malicious, any damage or state of dilapidation that is still around when your landlord inspects your property will cause a deduction on your deposit to occur.

The landlord has suffered a genuine financial loss as a result of something you’ve done/ failed to do. This could be the aforementioned damage, or failing to repair/ replace something. It could also be due to the property not being looked after to a high enough standard.

Bills or rent hasn’t been paid. Make sure to keep proof that all of your bills and rent have been paid, even if you don’t think you’ll need it.

Items are missing. Your landlord will know if anything has gone missing, as they can easily check against the inventory.

Your property is unclean. Before the landlord carries out a final inspection of the property, give everything a good deep clean. It’s a pain, but if the property is left in a state, your deposit can easily be deducted from, or taken away entirely.

You’ve left the property before your tenancy has officially ended. If you do decide to leave early, your landlord can deduct money from your deposit for advertising or to cover agency fees when re-letting the property.

Some landlords may try and withhold a deposit for other reasons, including:

Disturbances. Your landlord cannot legally keep your deposit for having a noisy party in the property.

Wear and tear. Normal wear and tear is no reason for you to lose your deposit. If a carpet becomes worn naturally, this is fine. If it were burned with a cigarette, this would be classed as damage. The amount of wear and tear that should be allowed depends on the condition of the property when you first moved in and the length of time that you lived there. Make sure to complete an inventory as soon as possible, and keep records of communicated with your landlord in regard to disrepair or damage.

Ultimately, unless financial loss has occurred for the landlord, your deposit cannot be withheld. It is actually illegal for your landlord to withhold your deposit for any other reasons than genuine financial loss.

So, what do I do if my landlord is attempting to withhold money from me?

Your deposit doesn’t have to be lost!

A range of options are available if your landlord is threatening to keep your deposit/ is keeping your deposit when you move property. Although it may not seem like it, there is a little bit of leeway before the decision is made as to whether you lose your deposit or not.

Ultimately, preparation is key. Keep all of your receipts and records of paying rent and bills in a safe place. These can be vital if any disputes do occur. Also, make sure to give yourself enough time before the final inspection to do a deep clean, and ensure that you try your hardest to leave your property the way you first found it.

If any disputes should arise, which they hopefully won’t, make sure to seek advice and help from a property solicitor, or a solicitor for property disputes.

With all of this knowledge and help at hand, you don’t have to join the portion of people who do have their deposits snatched from them.

Dilapidations can be a confusing subject, however experts in the field are available to provide advice that will make it simple and easy to understand. There are a number of law firms in America that can provide the advice and expertise that you need. If you are still confused about dilapidations, Whitehead Monckton has provided all the information you need before taking the next steps: just take a look at the following page on dilapidations explained.

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