The Renter’s Guide to Getting Your Security Deposit Back
Often, rental deposits are high; they are usually equivalent to a month’s rent, if not more. Unfortunately, landlords aren’t really known for their scruples, and they don’t always make it easy to get your money back. Most people are not in the position to forfeit hundreds of pounds for bogus charges and fees, which is why we have put together the following guide. Read on to learn more.
Document Existing Damage
Realistically, one of the first things you should have done upon moving in is to document any existing damage. You should have taken photos of any marks or wear and tear within the home so that you have something to refer back to prove that you didn’t cause that damage. You can’t necessarily argue this point if you did not take photos or document the damage upon arriving.
Review Your Tenancy Agreement
You should go back through your tenancy agreement. It should have all of the information you need within it in terms of the notice that you need to give your landlord but also all of the security deposit information too. It should set out how damages will be charged and any other move-out requirements that you need to follow.
Ask your Landlord for an Evaluation
Before you move out, you should ask your landlord if they would consider doing a walkthrough of the property. This way, they can point out any potential issues that would come out of your security deposit, and it gives you enough time to rectify them. In addition, it provides you with areas to focus on instead of wasting your time sorting things out that aren’t even on your landlord’s radar.
After your landlord has pointed out any issues that need addressing, it is time to get to repairing. Take the last couple of weeks in your home as an opportunity to make the repairs necessary. Most of the time, you will be able to do them yourself, although some of the damage might require a professional.
A dirty house is never going to get you your full security deposit back. You need to do a deep clean in the weeks before your departure. Clean and scrub everything as thoroughly as possible. Again, you can do most of the cleaning yourself, but there are some instances when it would make sense to hire a professional. For example, if the house is carpeted, you might want to consider a professional carpet cleaning from a company like Vapor Clean – if you are in the Bristol area.
The Final Walkthrough
After you have moved out all of your stuff, you should do a final walkthrough of the empty house. You can either do this yourself or have a friend or family member do it for the impartial perspective that they offer. You need to make sure that all repairs have been done and there is no cleaning left, which has been revealed by removing the furniture. During the final walkthrough, you should also take photos to prove that you left the property in good condition.
Sort Out Key Returns
You need to have had a conversation with your landlord about what is going to happen with the keys upon your departure. Some landlords will meet you at the property to pick them up, others have spares and encourage you to post them through the door, or you might be asked to drop them at an estate agent or property management company.
Request Your Deposit
A lot of landlords hold deposits online today; you need to access the website, log in and request your deposit back in order to get the ball rolling. Rules on returning the deposit can vary depending on the tenancy agreement, but most landlords will aim to review your request and give you back your deposit – or however much you are entitled to within a month.
Read Up on Your Rights
Tenants have rights, and you need to make an effort to read up on yours. You have the right to request your money back. You should really keep a record of when you asked for the money back.
Remember, if you are hit with charges that you think are unfair, you are well within your rights to dispute them. This is why having photographic evidence to refer back to is advised, you can back up your claims, and you are more likely to win the case and get your money back.
The Bottom Line
For most people, their security deposit represents a large sum of money that they simply cannot walk away from. Therefore, it is important that you do everything you can to get that money back.
Above represents a step-by-step guide to help you through the moving out process and requesting your security deposit back, be sure to bear it in mind and refer back to it. The most important thing is that you know your rights and you aren’t afraid to exercise them.