At the end of a smooth, problem free tenancy the deposit return can end up being a time consuming process for both tenants and landlords.
The property needs to be returned in the same standard it was when you started the tenancy – taking into account fair wear and tear. The House of Lords defined wear and tear as “reasonable use of the premises by the tenant and the ordinary operation of natural forces”. This essentially means it will not consider anything which happens just through day to day use of the property. We hold our deposits in the TDS (Tenancy deposit Scheme) who have a full guide on how to classify wear and tear.
I advise looking through your check in report in the first instance to familiarise yourself with how the property was at the start of your tenancy.
Here are 10 things you can do before moving out that can help speed up getting your deposit back.
- Professional cleaning – this is one of the most common issues at check out, and the largest source of disputes sent to the TDS. If the check in report states the property was professionally cleaned when you moved in this will need to be done when you move out. If the inventory clerk notes that the clean is not to a professional standard then cleaners will have to be sent back in before the new tenancy starts in order to bring the clean up to a professional standard. It is unlikely at the end of the tenancy your cleaners will be allowed to return for insurance purposes, and after check out the landlord has the right to use a company of their choice.
- Appliances – the fridge, oven, dishwasher and washing machines all need to left clean – a good professional clean will cover this.
- Light bulbs – make sure they are all left working. If we have to replace after check out, then it might be necessary to send a contractor to do this – and they charge a call out, not just the cost of the bulbs.
- Garden – this needs to be left in the same seasonal condition it was when you moved in. We can recommend gardeners for you to help with this if you aren’t green fingered!
- Rubbish – dispose of this all correctly making sure not to leave any rubbish outside the property that may not be collected by the council.
- Unwanted items – try not to leave any unwanted items in the property even if you think these will be useful for the next tenants.
- Picture hooks and holes – Make good on any damage to the walls – be aware that if this is not carried out to a good standard a contactor might have to attend and rectify. It is maybe easier to seek advice from your agent or landlord first to see how they wish you to proceed, this way you do not run the risk of making these look worse!
- Mattresses – If stained you may need to cover the cost of having this professional cleaned.
- Cancel all utilities (and council tax) - Obtain copies of final bills, we will not be able to release your deposit back to you without these.
- Returning all keys – if all the keys are not returned at the time of check out you may need to cover the cost of having all of the locks changed. This can be very costly, so make sure all tenants have returned their keys to the property on time.
At Paramount we visit our properties prior to check out – so we can advise tenants of any problem areas they need to address prior to check out which are obvious. We also have our maintenance team on hand to sort any smaller jobs for you prior to vacation.
If you have any questions at all regarding a check out or deposit return, then feel free to contact our management department on 0207 3720202.
By Property Manager – Amber Murray.