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Guide for Renters: How to protect your deposit at every stage of renting

Tiffany Vitti

Tiffany Vitti

a month ago - 2 minute read

Cleaning and unlogged maintenance issues make up 50% of disputes around deposits. In this short guide we will give you some practical tips to make sure you keep your rental deposit.

First let’s define ‘normal wear and tear’

Whether you moved into your dream place that’s private landlord let or are renting a room you found through Facebook, you’ll sign an assured short term agreement. You’ll probably have seen the words ‘wear and tear’ and that you as a tenant are responsible for anything outside of ‘ordinary’ wear and tear. So what is ‘ordinary wear and tear’?

There are slightly differing definitions depending on where you look.

Consumer advocacy group Shelter outlines it as normal day-to-day living. “You must look after your home, but your landlord can't expect it to be returned in exactly the same state as it was when you moved in”. They cite examples like peeling paint, faded curtains or new carpet having signs of use.

However the National Landlords Association say that "wear and tear is a topic that is open to interpretation" and comes down to “common sense”.

Put yourself at ease by following these steps.

Here’s how to protect your deposit whether you are currently renting or yet to sign a contract.

Before you sign your rental contract

You and your landlord can work together to decide what normal wear and tear looks like. Outline what you consider to be reasonable damage, and ask them to do the same.

It’s worth asking if they have had problems with returning deposits previously, and if so why. This will mean you get the clearest picture of their expectations.

When you move in

Take your inventory check seriously and document that property like you are making a David Attenborough documentary.

After you’ve emailed any photos or documentation to your landlord, create an inbox folder labelled with your rental address. File the sent email for your records. Access to these documents will save you a lot of hassle later.

While you rent

We are more likely to report ‘large damage’ but some issues start small and get worse and worse over time. Catching things like water damage or carpet wear early stops them from becoming larger (deposit deductible) issues later. When something you think is bordering the lines of normal wear and tear, take pics, send emails or texts and log the incident.

This sets you up better with your landlord and if there are any ongoing issues you will have a paper trail. Remember, filing is your friend, if you are taking screenshots of texts add it to the inbox folder we mentioned early. Help future you not have any problems on move out day.

When in doubt, reach out.

If you feel uncomfortable, communicate. If you are nervous about going to your landlord, we recommend renter first groups including Shelter and Tenants Union UK.

Need to sound it out? Our team are available on our community page to listen to what you have to say.

Looking to move soon or want to set yourself up better for your next deposit?

We can help - sign up for Fronted here. You'll be the first to know how to better approach your deposit.

Tiffany Vitti

Tiffany Vitti

a month ago - 2 minute read

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