Moving into rented property normally means paying four to six weeks’ rent up front in the form of a deposit, as insurance against any issues at the end of your tenancy. Unfortunately, some landlords and letting agencies can be known to withhold part or all of your deposit for seemingly petty or even absurd reasons.
With a significant sum of money at stake, you’ll want to do everything you can to keep your deposit. Here are six ways that inaction can lead to losing all or part of this investment:
Missing a rent payment
Any missed rent will be deducted from your deposit. If the amount you owe exceeds your deposit, you could even be taken to court. Don’t rely on paying cash-in-hand or remembering to transfer your rent each time it’s owed; set up a direct debit with your bank to ensure the full rental amount is payed every month without fail.
Not checking your inventory
Your landlord or letting agency should provide a list of furniture and features within the property when you move in, which you will be expected to sign. Before you do, read this inventory carefully and note anything that doesn’t match with what’s actually in the property. Also highlight any existing damage or wear-and-tear to ensure you don’t get charged for them upon leaving.
Forgetting to take photos
Another way to protect yourself against false damage claims is to take photos of any existing damage on the day you move in. Any photos taken on a smartphone or digital camera should be automatically time-stamped so you can prove they were taken before your tenancy began.
Neglecting to read the contact
Failing to give the contract your full attention is a risky move, as this will explain exactly what is expected of you regarding the return of your deposit. Make sure you read the entire contract carefully to reduce the chance of any nasty surprises when you move out.
Putting off highlighting issues
Notify your landlord or letting agency as soon as anything stops working or is accidentally damaged. If you put off letting them know, they are more likely to interpret the issue as deliberate damage on your part and deduct the cost of repair from your deposit.
Avoiding the cleaning
Unless the property is spotless at the end of your tenancy, cleaning costs may be deducted from your deposit. But waiting until the last week to do one big clean is a recipe for failure. Make an effort to clean your property regularly so you will have much less to do before you leave.