When it comes to removals and storage blogs, they tend to be homeowner-centric in their approach and to who they cater. Renters are all-too-often excluded from advice for no good reason other than their situation. Not here – Move, Store & More consider renters a vital part of the landscape in the UK. We’re also not fond of how some landlords treat their tenants, especially where deposits are concerned.
That’s why we’re dedicating this article to renters, a topic most will relate to. Getting your deposit back links to your rights as a tenant and the share of responsibilities. As always, we’ll be adding a sprinkle of our good and bad experiences here. Let’s dive straight into the action to get to the route of the issue.
Your Rental Deposit: Know Your Rights
We’ll be the first to admit it – this won’t be the most colourful topic to cover and will feel a bit dry. It’s also not the most pleasant subject to approach, as it taps into a core issue at the heart of the housing market. Less scrupulous property owners benefit from a lack of accountability, which isn’t available to tenants. That’s why we think this topic is vital for all renters to understand.
We’ll look at rental leases, who’s responsible for what, how to report maintenance and damage issues and getting your deposit back. We’ll only be able to scratch the surface of each point, but the idea is to give tenants a starting point where they can find further research and resources. The aim is clear: we’re here to help you claw back most, if not all, of the upfront deposit payment.
And we also want to make something clear from the start – we’re not demonising landlords who lead with ethical standards. In fact, we think a rating system that links to the current deposit scheme would benefit the ones who play the game properly. The introduction of deposit protection was a crucial first step, but there are many more opportunities to enact equity in this industry.
That’s the aim we should all work towards and lobby our MPs to take seriously. Until then, the best we can do is share best practices and some relevant tips. We hope this will help everyone, regardless of when their current lease ends. As always, we’ll try and locate further additional sources if we don’t cover what you’re looking for.
Consider Hiring a Professional Cleaning Company
This might sound counter-intuitive – outlaying more expenditure when trying to reclaim a deposit. The first thing we’ll need you to consider is your current landlord or letting agent relationship. If you’re both on good terms, then it’s likely you’ll be able to mediate any issues with reclaiming your full deposit payment. However, there are always things you should be mindful of to cover all bases.
Your lease will give you some clues on how the homeowner wants you to report any issues. Additionally, they’ll indicate what state of repair and cleanliness they expect, both during and at the end of your tenancy. Please pay close attention to this, regardless of when your lease runs out. It would be best if you never second-guessed your landlord’s intentions – judge them by their lease.
Many owners will request a professionally clean property, especially if that’s the state it was in before you moved in. That’s why it’s worth thinking proactively and making sure everything is spotless before the final inspection. If you have the equipment to steam clean the carpets, remove limescale and general grime, save money and do it yourself. However, some landlords only accept a professional cleaning company’s job and request an invoice or receipt.
There’s a legal way of considering wear and tear; you can read more here. For example, things like carpets and flooring will anticipate some damage. Therefore, a certain level of degradation for frequently used objects can be considered when returning the leaser’s deposit. We advise people to read up on this and discuss it openly with their landlord.
Best Cleaning Products for End of Tenancy
The Move, Store & More team are sticklers for more options. There’s no such thing as the best single way of approaching a task. We’ve pondered this at length and curated the following list of products you can buy from Amazon. Alternatively, look for local suppliers or stores that have reasonable prices and stock.
Move, Store & More’s Best Cleaning Products List:
- X3 Flat Floor Mop and Bucket Set
- Rubbermaid Reveal Power Scrubber
- ProHomTex Microfiber Cleaning Towels
- Rubbermaid Quick Cart Mobile/Travel Cleaning Cart
- P&G PROFESSIONAL Cleaning Pack
List all Damage and Maintenance Issues
The best time to go through your rental property to put together a list of small repairs and maintenance issues is straight away. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t do this later down the line if you initially forgot to take action. It’s better late than never, especially if you have problems that surface towards the backend of your rental period.
You’ll need to note everything down physically, including aesthetic or non-urgent things you don’t necessarily need them to fix. This will cover you when it comes to the end of your tenancy. Additionally, you’ll be able to request repairs for anything you consider essential and set up a dialogue with the owner.
This is where you can establish a confident and diplomatic relationship with the homeowner. Doing so early will set a friendly but firm tone for how things will go for the duration of your tenancy. Let them know you’ll take care of their house or flat like your own, but you expect priority repairs to happen on time. There will need to be some level of compromise for non-essential work from both sides.
Your list is a record of everything, providing you with legal cover in the event of a dispute. Using photo and video footage to accompany the inventory is also an excellent idea, which gives you further reassurance. If the worst happens and your landlord is unreasonable, you have plenty of evidence to safeguard your deposit.
Minor Repairs and Handyman Services
Using the same maintenance inventory from the last section, we’ll discuss what sort of minor repairs you should perform. Please remember to rule out any major alterations to the building or outside areas without consultation. You might think the garden needs a serious upgrade, and you’re doing the owner a favour. Then you end up doing something which violates the lease agreement, and you’re subject to deductions.
Also, remember that you’re only responsible for issues you cause during your tenancy. If you make a list with details on a specific repair, it’s your landlord’s obligation to fix it. You can also remind them of any outstanding maintenance problems every month or quarter. Always do so via email or message so you have a receipt of the discussion. A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.
The sort of things you should mend before you leave is any hooks, nails, or Blu Tack from the walls. Hanging posters or photo frames will most likely cause some minor paint removal, even if you do it correctly. In some instances, however, the plaster comes away from the wall. In this situation, you might be able to use Polyfilla if you’re confident enough to take it on.
Tools for DIY End of Tenancy Repairs
Before we launch into this – tread carefully. It’s not the best idea to start doing repair work if you’re new to this. You might try and save a few pounds/dollars by doing it yourself, only to pay with your deposit. For example, I once tried to remove a board attached to a wall with double-sided tape. It didn’t end well, is all I’m going to admit to.
Move, Store & More’s Best DIY Tools List:
- LETTON 37 Piece Tool Set Home Repair Hand Tool Kit
- SEISSO Wall Repair Kit
- NADAMOO Ceramic Repair Kit
- Moxweyeni Hinge Repair Brackets
- DEWALT 20V Max Cordless Drill Combo Kit, 10-Tool
The Deposit Stipulations and Deduction Process
If this article had a hierarchy of importance, you could put this section at the top. This is your one and possibly only accurate protective measure for your deposit. And the best part? It’s a legal requirement for your landlady to participate in the DPS – Deposit Protection Service. The property owner has thirty days to do this and provide information on the protection and payment of the deposit.
There are strict guidelines that all landlords must adhere to, including fines for non-compliance and other legal apparatus in place to keep their actions honest and transparent. Neither party can withdraw the money from this protection scheme during the tenancy. When the tenancy ends, you will request the full deposit back from the owner.
Then they’ll have the opportunity to state if they want to deduct any amounts from the deposit. They need to produce evidence and clarification on each request for a deduction. You can then dispute any claims they lodge for deductions, including providing any evidence to counter their claim. Remember when we mentioned photographic and video footage?
There are many reasons why you can lose part of the total amount of your deposit. You need to study the small print of your lease in detail before signing it. There will be specific clauses about the responsibilities of the tenant. This includes any unpaid rent or bill at the end of the tenancy, stolen or missing belongings, direct damage to the building and its contents, indirect damage due to negligence and lack of maintenance.
Remember to go over your lease and pay attention to any unusual clauses before signing. Stand your ground and understand your rights as a tenant. If the homeowner negates this process, they might be liable to pay a fine of up to one or three times the amount of the deposit!
Open and Honest Communication with Landlords –
Now for the part about personal experience. Over the years, I’ve been a tenant for landlords and landladies from every walk of life. My favourite was an older gentleman who lived across the road during my stint at university. He was always accommodating for things like delays in student loans. I repaid this favour by paying in advance whenever I could afford to. Other than one incident when he turned up to inspect without notice, I can’t remember any other issues.
However, on the other side of the spectrum, I had a landlady who initially seemed nice but would later turn into the worst tenancy of my life. The property was ridden with mould; she rarely responded to requests for repair work. And when the boiler broke, it took nearly three weeks to get someone out, and there were serious concerns she hired a handyman to do the work (FYI – that’s illegal! Only qualified engineers should repair boilers).
At the moment, it’s not possible to gauge how good or bad a landlord or landlady will be. We sincerely hope this will change and some form of rating system becomes commonplace, like Trustpilot or Google Reviews. The best advice we can offer now is to treat the owner like you expect to be treated. Be respectful but let them know you understand your tenancy rights. Request confirmation that your deposit is in a protection scheme and send them an inventory or maintenance issue asap.
And to reiterate one final point: send them everything by email or a message you can easily download.
Move Store & More – Helping Renters Claim their Full Rental Deposits –
And much like a rental tenancy, we’re now handing the keys back as we close out this article. As always, we strive to continue our mission, which will see us wade through Google searching for answers. We’ll read, compare, compile, and assess everything before deciding which bits we like. By balancing this online advice with our own professional and personal experiences, we hope to provide you with credible information.
Renters often get the rough end of the stick, whether that’s from unwarranted deposit deductions or a lack of useful information. We hope this blog will go some way to assisting anyone worried about their rental deposit. Unfortunately, things still benefit landlords regarding disputes, but a few legal protections are in place.
If you still have questions regarding this topic we haven’t covered, please get in touch or leave a comment, and we’ll do some additional digging. Wherever possible, we’ll seek answers and will revert.
We’ll be back with a new blog shortly. Until then, go well, and we hope you’ll Move, Store & More with us soon.