How to Ensure You Get Your Tenancy Deposit Back

Renting a home has numerous advantages over owning a house outright, particularly for people in certain stages of their life. It is cheaper in the short term, making it much more affordable for those early on in their career, or in a lower income bracket. It is also a non-permanent solution, allowing you to pack up and move into a new place without too much difficulty. When you are still deciding on your life plan and career goals, renting affords you the much-needed flexibility to figure out what you want from the future. But although it is more affordable on a month-by-month basis, it can ultimately be more costly in the long run. When you own a house, you have an asset in your possession, and once you’ve paid off the mortgage the monthly expenses will be minimal. But with a rental property, the rent you pay each month goes straight to a landlord, and by the time you leave the apartment you accrued no capital gains or financial assets. You also have the deposit to think about. 

A tenancy deposit is a large payment, usually equating to one or two months rent that the landlord will hold onto. This is a form of security, enabling them to recoup their losses if you cause significant damage to the property or fail to pay your rent. This payment is not insignificant, particularly as there is no guarantee you will get it back at the end. Although most landlords are reasonable, there are some who will make it their business to try and keep as much of this deposit as possible. They might try to claim for damage you didn’t cause, or overcharge for minor scuffs and scrapes. As a tenant, you have legal rights when it comes to your deposit, but that doesn’t always guarantee you will get the full amount back. To prevent any unnecessary financial loss, here are some tips to ensure you get your deposit back at the end of your tenancy period.

Check where your deposit is being held
Your landlord must put your deposit in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) if you rent your home on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007. In England and Wales your deposit can be registered with:
This ensures you're protected by law and means you're less likely to be ripped off by dodgy landlords trying to make claims that aren't justified. 

Take photos when you move in
As soon as you first move in, you should conduct a thorough inspection of the entire property, looking for any pre-existing damage or disrepair, including scuff marks, stains, faulty appliances, or mould. Take photos of anything you find and send them to your landlord. This way, there is no chance they can pin the blame on you when you move out. Your landlord is responsible for keeping the property in a liveable condition, so if there is excessive damage you may need to consider disrepair claims.

Keep the property in good condition
If you have caused any damage to your property, your landlord will be well within the rights to take some money from the deposit. This will go towards essential repairs and redecoration. If the damage was your fault, there is little you can do to avoid this. The best course of action is to take good care of the apartment throughout your tenancy, making sure it remains in good condition. Clean the property on a regular basis, and ensure appliances are well-maintained.