A cleaning company’s view take on getting your deposit back
Signing a tenant’s agreement is not a step one takes lightly, especially in the current state of affairs in London. Tenancy deposits have grown to serious amounts of money, usually in the region of 1500-2000 pounds, which is quite the lump sum, so one doesn’t lightly part ways with it. Everyone is looking to protect their money in the long run, which is why most people renting in London would normally be thinking about ways of getting the deposit back at the end of the lease, before they hand over the deposit to the letting agent.
As a cleaning company that specializes in end of tenancy cleaning, we have a certain point of view and we’ve seen many cases throughout the years, when landlords basically blackmail their way out of giving the deposit back in full, when letting agents have crazy requirements about the condition the property is returned back in as well as cases in which tenants are vacating the house or apartment leaving it in a dare condition.
Everyone has a point of view, but there are certain things you could do to ensure you claim your money back with as little hassle as possible.
Before we get to those bullet points, it’s good that you get familiar with the laws that protect you as a tenant and the ones that protect the landlord’s property.
The UK deposit scheme
There is a government approved scheme that helps both parties get along with their life without stressing, when the day comes in which they part ways. It’s a government-approved scheme, which you can find more about here. Landlords must follow the scheme’s requirements and tenants must obey the requirements as well, if they are to reclaim their tenancy deposit back. Obviously the scheme is in place to ensure everyone is protected and here’s what it requires.
-The terms of the tenancy agreement are adhered to
– There isn’t any damage to the property and everything is in place
– All bills are paid on time and there aren’t any outstanding invoices on the date on which the agreement ends.
An example of approved schemes is a company by the name of MyDeposits, which many letting agents and landlords are using nowadays and the deposit should be put in such a company within 30 days of the agreement. On the end day, when the tenant vacates the property in case everything is fine, a period of 10 days begins in which the full deposit needs to be returned back in the tenant’s bank account. In case of a dispute, such government approved agencies can easily resolve it once they get all the facts about the case right.
Now let’s get to the proper list on things you can do to ensure you’re on the right side of the deal.
Create an inventory of things in the property and their condition.
First and foremost it’s important to ensure you and the letting agency are on the same page. Certain companies can do that for you, but not all estate agencies nor landlords take the time to do this right. An inventory is crucial for you as a tenant at the end of the agreement, because a scratch on a microwave can be used to without the full microwave’s price from your deposit (which is obviously unfair)
If such an inventory list does exist, it’s really important that you read it thoroughly before signing. Such documents are often used by letting agents, especially by ones that don’t care whether you use them again in the future. The same goes for landlords that simply want to squeeze the most out of you.
Often times, the letting agency creates a photographic report, much like an insurance company would for your car or property and they refer to it at the end of the tenancy agreement to compare before/after photos. Photographic reports are an indisputable fact, which is why more and more agencies refer to this type of work. At Royal Cleaning, we do the same, but for our end of tenancy cleaning service. We create photos of the property before and after the session has been conducted to ensure that the client sees the value the service offers.
Reporting issues as soon as they occur
Property owners don’t like surprises. Tenants don’t like them either of course. Nobody doesn’t, at least if it’s nasty surprises, such as a broken door, a faulty boiler or something similar. It’s much better for tenants to advise their landlords on such things on the day when this happens (at least if you don’t decide to fix things yourself at your own expense), because this not only saves them the “surprise”, but it also shows that you are a responsible tenant, that takes care of the property as if it’s your own.
There are certain letting agencies that have an online portal, where you can log in such issues, so they can pass them to the landlord.
Make sure you keep your documents at hand
Tenancy agreements are obviously important documents. All expenses that you make during the tenancy are just as important, so it’s crucial that you keep everything organized once the day for the handover comes. It’s totally fine if you simply put everything in one cabinet or in your nightstand, just make sure every bill is paid and stored somewhere(even if that’ somewhere is simply online)
Online invoices are fine and all websites offer a way to print it in case the landlord or letting agent likes to do things the old school way and requires paperwork.
Make sure the property is clean
Obviously as a cleaning company operating in London, we have a certain view on the subject. Keeping a property clean is not for everyone and that’s fine. Not everyone is super tidy and can keep a home clean at all times. We get it, life gets in the way of pretty much everything, so that’s why you should rely on professional cleaners when necessary. At the end of the tenancy though, this is much more important. We can guarantee that even if there isn’t a clause in your agreement about the property’s cleanliness, you will still have to hand over the keys to a clea(ish) place to ensure the deposit back is returned in full. Think about it from the letting agent’s perspective or the one of the landlord him/herself. If you don’t clean the place, they’ll have to do it, or hire someone else to do it, for a certain amount of money. Where would the money come from, you’d ask? The deposit is the best guess.
Scheduling an end of tenancy cleaning could be a bit hard, especially if you want a reputable cleaning company to do it for you and ensure you don’t get in trouble with the landlord/estate agency. During the summer it’s a good idea to call and book such a cleaning about a week before the checkout and ensure you have at least a couple days left until the agreement expires, so in case of any issues, the cleaners have time to return and re-clean any problematic areas.
Make sure you’re ready for the day of the handover
Did we mention it’s important to be organized? Well that’s because it really is. In this day of age, when life is fast paced and everyone is moving as quickly as possible, you don’t want to deal with the unnecessary stress of having missing paperwork, or not having the keys to the apartment with you during the handover. You’ll need to go through the meter readings in case the day the agreement ends isn’t the same day as the one on which the utility company takes the readings, so give yourself time for that as well.