Top tips for keeping your rental deposit

The biggest worry for you when entering a new tenancy agreement is probably the prospect of handing over vast sums of money as a deposit. Then comes the worry of how much of it will arrive back in your bank account at the end of the agreement!

Tenancy deposit schemes have come a long way when adding a level of security for both tenants and landlords but you can do your bit to ensure you receive a satisfactory amount back when checking out of your rental property.

Start as you mean to go on

The only way to do that is to be fully aware of your responsibilities and obligations from day one – and that means reading every word of your tenancy agreement.

You’d probably be surprised how many tenants either don’t read or don’t fully absorb the print in their rental contracts. This can lead to big problems further down the line.

Your tenancy agreement will clearly state what is expected of you during the tenancy and what your obligations are. Read it and take it in before using an adhesive to stick your childrens’ posters to the wall – it may be that your landlord has stipulated that Blu Tack is a big no-no.

Pay on time

One of the biggest reasons for landlords withholding deposits is rent arrears.

If you enter into agreement on a rental property, it is your responsibility to pay in full and on time - and that includes bills such as council tax, electric and gas if they are not included in the rent.

Your landlord could tear up your tenancy agreement if you are consistently late or do not pay your rent in full and that is likely to end up costing you some or all of your deposit.

If you do start to have problems paying your rent or bills, approach your landlord and be honest. Being up front early on is far more likely to result in a sympathetic landlord than battening down the hatches and staying silent.

Read the inventory, too

This is another safeguarding document aimed as protecting you as a tenant as much as your landlord, so take it all in and study the pictures.

Ensure everything is in the inventory that should be and if you find something that isn’t, flag it up with your landlord or managing agent as quickly as you can.

Keep it clean and tidy

Simple in theory, but not so much in practice. Life can get in the way, we all know that, but an ‘as you go along’ approach is the best tactic here.

Your inventory will state how the property appeared on moving-in day and this is the condition your landlord will expect it to be in when you hand it back at check-out.

A frantic deep clean at the end of the tenancy is costly if you bring in a cleaner to do it for you. If you do it yourself, chances are you will never get the property to the same kind of standard.

A weekly clean to remove dirt and grime from hotspots like kitchens and bathrooms is the way to go and will ensure you have the best chance of keeping the property looking spick and span.

Report problems quickly

Few tenants get to the end of their agreement without experiencing a few issues, but it is how you deal with these problems that could affect your deposit.

Report problems with plumbing, heating or glazing quickly, either directly to your landlord or via a managing agent.

If such issues are left to fester, there could be blame attached to you at the end of the agreement, risking your deposit.

Look after the carpets

Carpet cleaning is one of the biggest reasons landlords will withhold part of tenant deposits.

While your landlord will take into account fair wear and tear, damaged, torn or excessively filthy carpets will almost certainly be deemed unacceptable.

If the carpets are damage beyond repair, replacements will be sought and your deposit could be used to pay for them – a considerable expense.

Have them cleaned quarterly if your property experiences hefty traffic and particularly if you have children. That expense could be worthwhile when it comes to checking out at the end of your agreement.

How does your garden grow

Quickly! And if it becomes overgrown and unmanageable, you could be looking at losing some of your deposit.

Again, read the tenancy agreement, which will outline if you are responsible for the upkeep of the garden. If you are, look after it and keep it tidy.

Your landlord won’t expect you to be Alan Titchmarsh, but keeping the lawn mowed and the hedges trimmed is not too much to ask.

Go the extra mile

Even if the tenancy agreement states you aren’t responsible for keeping things like the garden or property exterior up together, do it anyway.

One of the best ways to ensure your landlord gives you a glowing reference at the end of the tenancy, not to mention handing over your full deposit, is to be a great tenant.

Keep the garden pruned and the property’s exterior clean, particularly after a wet or cold winter. Your landlord will love you!

Use a resolution service for disputes

Tenancy deposit schemes generally offer a free resolution service – if you do get into a dispute with your landlord over your deposit, make use of it.

These services can take the emotional aspect away from the dispute and will often result in an agreement being reached quickly and mutually.

It's all about respect

Essentially, as a tenant you should respect your landlord’s property and treat it as if it were your own. If you do that, and pay on time, there should be no reason for you to lose any of your deposit.

If you have any questions regarding your tenancy, please refer to your Terms of Business document. Alternatively, please contact your local Parkers branch.

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Your responsibilities as a tenant

Failing to meet your obligations as a tenant can result in an unhappy tenancy for all concerned and could cost you some or all of your deposit. Follow our guide which lists the responsibilities expected of our tenants.

Simple transparent fees

You’ll know where you stand with our simple fees. If it’s not listed, you don’t pay it. That’s our guarantee to you.

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