28th December 2017

How can I get my Landlord to return my deposit?

How long does a landlord have to return a deposit?

10 Days is the maximum time that a landlord has to return your deposit once you have both agreed how much you will get back.

Make sure your agent or landlord has a note of your contact details, forwarding address and bank account details if the money is to be transferred.

Getting a tenancy deposit returned with no dispute

Prospective tenants should consider from the outset: How can I get my Landlord to return my deposit?

All deposits paid from April 2007 onwards must be placed in a government backed tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme. The schemes available are:

Matthew’s use the DPS which means we send your deposit off to them for safekeeping. A deposit has to be registered within 30 days of being paid.

These government-backed schemes ensure you will get your deposit back if you:

  • meet the terms of your tenancy agreement
  • don’t damage the property
  • pay the rent and bills

Money cannot be deducted from your deposit without your agreement and, in case of a dispute; the matter has to be referred to the scheme provider for adjudication.

What you can do to ensure you get your full deposit back

  1. Check the inventory

When you first move in to a property, make sure you carefully check the inventory and note any damage which hasn’t been itemised, taking photographs as evidence. Your agent or Landlord should take meter readings but you should also make a note of the meter readings yourself as this will help with any utility disputes which may arise.

  1. Report any repairs or damage

Report any damage or repairs needed as they occur during the tenancy and make a note of them. If you don’t report repairs and they go on to cause more damage, you could be liable for the cost of the damage (eg. a leaking gutter causing damp on a wall).

  1. Be aware of damage caused by condensation

Damage caused by condensation is a common problem in rental properties, especially student houseshares. If you dry you washing inside the house, leave pans of water boiling or don’t open the window after a bath or shower, then condensation can form on the external walls of the house if it is not heated and ventilated sufficiently. Black mold will start to form at the top of the walls or behind furniture placed against the walls and any damage caused by this will be the tenant’s responsibility. This can be avoided by making sure any extractor fans are switched on and working properly, opening windows to let the water vapour out and wiping down any walls affected with a weak concentration of bleach.

  1. Keep on top of the gardening

If there is a garden, make sure you keep on top of the weeds and mow the lawn regularly as it can easily get out of control and become a big job to get it back to the correct standard.

Vacating the property

We deal with deposit returns on a daily basis and have years of experience of dealing with various issues arising. We will visit the properties we manage a week before you are due to leave to provide you with advice on anything which may result in a deduction from your deposit. This gives you chance to get the work done yourself rather than being charged for a contractor to go in.

 Common areas of dispute include:

  • Whether carpet cleaning is required
  • Standard of oven cleaning
  • Washing machine soap drawer and door seal
  • Damage to fixtures and fittings or decoration
  • Standard of gardening
  • Clearance of tenant items left behind in the property.

On the day you are due to vacate, your agent or landlord with visit the property to check the inventory and schedule of condition. An allowance must be made for ‘fair wear and tear’ depending on how long you have been living at the property and the landlord is not entitled to ‘betterment when claiming for damages. This means they cannot claim for the cost of a new replacement for items such as carpets , only for a level of compensation towards the cost.

A good agent will know exactly how much compensation is reasonable for any damage, but if you dispute the amount you can refer to the DPS (or whichever scheme is looking after your deposit) for a judgement.

If you would like further information or have any questions, contact us and we would be glad to advise. Take a look round our website to see more about our properties to let or houseshares.

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