Renting is becoming increasingly popular across the UK – with the challenge of saving a sizeable deposit to buy a home proving a step too far for many.
But becoming a tenant is no walk in the park either. It brings with it a whole host of obstacles, from finding the right property to negotiating with your new landlord or letting agent. And then there is the deposit.
In theory, your landlord must return this money at the end of the tenancy – but this is not always the case. It very much depends on the condition of the property when you leave it. But even if you’ve been a model custodian of the home, you may still fall foul of a savvy landlord, who will likely find a reason for withholding some or all of your cash.
Rob Dolbear is managing director of HCR – a relocation specialist also offering a bespoke service, called MYTAS, for those seeking corporate accommodation within the UK: “Checking the original state of the property when you move in is absolutely crucial,” he says.
“When we arrange homes for our clients, we make sure every tenant understands their responsibilities before they move in. Equally, we agree with the landlord exactly where we all stand at the beginning of the agreement.
“Check-in is the time to prepare for dilapidations – and making sure this is done right could prove absolutely crucial when the lease ends. The devil really is in the detail. You are taking a property on at an agreed standard and you should be giving that property back to the same standard.
“However, it’s a given that the condition of every property will deteriorate to some degree during the lease – whether it’s over the course of six months or longer. And that’s called Fair Wear and Tear. But any damage must be made good when the tenant moves out.
“Checking the condition of property at the very beginning of the tenancy is key to saving lots of time and money at the end. Getting this right can save between 40% to 65% of typical landlord claims for damages, so it is worthwhile spending time on this at right the start of the occupation.
“There are some important things tenants should bear in mind whilst they’re renting a property. Top of the list is to keep their home clean. Landlords often have homes professionally cleaned before the lease begins – so leaving it dirty or messy at the end is a bad move.To avoid any disputes, it’s worth taking pictures at the start and end of the tenancy.
“Checking with the landlord before making cosmetic changes indoors is also worthwhile. Even hanging pictures on the walls can cause direct damage, so be careful what you use. And make right any blemishes before you move out.
“Put yourself in your landlord’s shoes. They want a tenant who will take great care of their property – but they also know a savvy tenant is aware of their rights when it comes to Wear and Tear. It’s all about communication – before, during and after the move. Make sure you know what is expected of you as a tenant, and then you’re on the right track to getting your deposit back.”