As a tenant you will probably have paid a considerable sum of money as a security deposit, usually equivalent to one and a half times the monthly rent, and you’ll want to make sure this is protected and dealt with fairly.
All deposits have to be protected in one of the Government backed schemes. Some schemes require the agent to hold the deposit as a ‘stakeholder’ and others require the agent to hand the deposit over to a custodial scheme. Either way, you should be given specific information on how your deposit is protected and how it will be dealt with at the end of a tenancy.
In addition to how the deposit is held and dealt with, it is imperative that tenants are offered an inventory check-in at the start of a tenancy and a check-out at the end, if possible this should be carried out by an independent inventory company. This way, if there is any dispute about deductions from the deposit at the end of the tenancy, you have documentary evidence that details the condition of the property at the start and end of the tenancy, that is both unbiased and a record of fact.
Here at Mackenzie Smith, we use an online independent inventory company called Eventory. They produce detailed inventories that combine text and photos to illustrate the condition of the property. In the very few cases where there has been a dispute at the end of a tenancy, The Tenancy Deposit Scheme have commented on the thoroughness of the inventories, which helped to make the process of coming to a resolution a much simpler process.
Eventory are an established company having been trading for over 12 years, completing tens of thousands of reports. Mark Dann, Owner and Director of Eventory, has worked in the property industry since the early 1980’s and knows the importance of setting tenants expectations at the point of check-in. Mark ensures his team of Clerks, who have combined experience of over 100 years in the property industry, are all trained to very high levels.
According to Eventory, these are the most Frequently Asked Questions from tenants…
Q. Can I add picture pins/hooks/screws to walls?
A. You should only do so with written permission from your Landlord/Agent. This should include how many, and what type, are allowed. Also, avoid the use of blue tac, it leaves a stain and can peel paint.
Q. Am I allowed to redecorate any part of the property?
A. You should only do so with written permission from your Landlord/Agent. This should confirm the colours, type of re-decoration being allowed and whether a professional should carry it out.
Q. Can I add anything to the property, which would be considered an attachment, and as such would be left behind by us at the end of the tenancy?
A. You should only do so with written permission from your Landlord/Agent. This should confirm what the items are and where they are to be located. This also applies to the installation of satellite or cable services.
Q. What should I do if I break anything, or if an appliance or fitting within the property breaks down?
A. If the item you have broken can be replaced, please do so before the end of your tenancy at your cost. If any appliance or some type of functional fitting breaks down, you should report it immediately to your Agent/Landlord in writing.
Q. What should I do if I spill something on a carpet that could stain?
A. After immediately clearing it up the best you can, report this to your Agent/Landlord and ask for details of their recommended professional carpet cleaner and call them out straight away. The quicker you act, the less likely it is that the carpet will stain, which in turn could reduce the chance of an expensive compensation claim being made against you. A couple of other things to remember with carpets are to always use a nonporous dish underneath plant pots on carpets, and not to use them as an ironing board.
Q. I don’t have particularly ‘green fingers’, what garden maintenance should I do?
A. You don’t need ‘green fingers’ to look after the basics of a garden, which is usually your responsibility. You must keep the grass cut, borders weed free and during the summer ensure you water the gardens to ensure the plants and grass do not die. We would suggest you do not prune shrubs, trees and bushes as this can be a specialist task. We recommend you ask the Agent/Landlord to arrange such cutting and pruning as and when required, checking with them who would bear this cost depending on your particular tenancy agreement.
These FAQ’s can go a long way in ensuring your deposit is returned, and by using a quality agent you can be confident that your deposit is being treated with care and consideration.
As a trusted lettings agent we regularly update our landlords and tenants with simple tips and advice on maintaining your property. If you require any additional advice or are considering putting your property up for let, why not pop into our offices in Fleet, or contact us on 01252 514000, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.