Support, Advice and Experience within the Property Market

How to ensure you get your deposit back

From Robert Ulph on October 3, 2019

Last month I looked at tips for those thinking about selling their home this Autumn and how they can ensure they give the best first impressions. This week I thought I’d look at something similar, but around the condition that tenants are expected to leave homes in when they move on to ensure they are the very best position to have their deposit returned.

At Pennington we can give advice to tenants if they are not sure about the condition of their home and for those whose landlords make use of our fully-managed service, inspections will show any issues that need resolving before they become major problems.

With a property being managed by an agent, regular inspections should be part of the service and an ARLA Propertymark agent should be carrying these out as part of their terms of business and at least every six months. These inspections are to see just how the property is being looked after and will highlight any jobs that may need addressing. A good agent will always send on inspection reports with accompanying photos.

A further advantage of an agent managing your property is they can give 24-hour maintenance support. All agents should be offering this as part of full management. This 24-hour maintenance support could be the difference between having to deal with a leaking boiler in the middle of the night or not.

But time and time again cleaning is shown to the most common reason for landlords making deposit deductions. In a 12-month period, nearly two-thirds (63%) of landlords using the dispute resolution service, managed by the Deposit Protection Scheme, claimed cleaning as the reason for deductions. Over half (53%) claimed damage to the contents of the property, 37% redecoration, 23% rent arrears, gardening 16% and missing items 16%. Outstanding bills were cited in 4% of dispute resolution cases.

Many disputes can be easily avoided through inspections and communication between the tenants and letting agent or landlord, but when you might not be sure of what is expected, here are the top issues with regard to the cleaning of a property:

• The most common cleaning job is often cited to be the oven.
• Next up is extractors, with tenants not cleaning them or replacing the filters.
• Toilets are the third most common cleaning task at the end of a tenancy.
• Then kitchen sinks – mainly dirt and discolouration that builds up over time.
• Skirting boards and light switches are also areas which often get overlooked.

Fortunately, disputes are generally rare – especially in managed properties due to the inspections and reports – and most tenancies end without any issues, but it is important when there is a problem that a process is gone through to ensure a fair outcome is achieved.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like any further information on this or anything else on the local property market.