When it comes to moving out of your rental property, the question that every tenant wants answered is simple: when will I get my deposit back? Unfortunately, it is not as simple as moving out and getting your money back the next day. A good landlord or lettings agent should have provided an inventory at the beginning of your tenancy, so before your deposit can be returned to you, your property must be inspected for damage against this document. In order to receive the full amount of your deposit back at the end of your tenancy, you must leave the property as you found it when you first moved in – at the very minimum, this includes being in a clean state!
Since Tenancy Deposit Schemes (TDS) were introduced in 2007, cleaning has been the number one cause of disputes. In an annual review published by the TDS last year, it was revealed that the majority (56%) of deposit disputes between landlords and tenants in 2012/2013 were about cleaning, increasing from 49% in 2009 and reaching their highest levels since 2007. According to leading inventory service provider, My Property Inventories, the biggest problem is the fact that landlords and tenants both believe that the property was handed over fully cleaned.
Danny Zane, director of My Property Inventories, argues that discrepancies as to what is considered ‘clean’ between landlords and tenants are due to differing standards of living. In many cases, tenants are unaware that cleaning is a key part of leaving the property in its original state. As a result, they overlook fundamental areas that need cleaning, such as dirty windows and skirting boards or the gas extractor fan above the hob. If this is the case, the landlord must cover the cost of having the property professionally cleaned, which can often come as a shock to tenants.
For a landlord to justify professional cleaning fees being charged to tenants, they must complete a check-in report and then, at the end of the tenancy, identify any discrepancies by cross-referencing said original document with a check-out report. To help tenants, My Property Inventories compiled a list of the five dirt hotspots in rentals that often get overlooked in the post-tenancy cleaning routine. Ovens came in at number one, followed by toilets, carpets/floor coverings (rugs, for example), showers and finally windows and/or doors. To ensure that you avoid any deposit disputes further down the line, it is advisory to leave the aforementioned areas in the same or better state as itemised in your check-in report.
At CPS Homes, we carry out accompanied check-ins and check-outs with all of our tenants. This means that we are with you when you first see the property, as well as there to document the condition of the property when you move out. We also agree your deposit repayment with you in person so that you can be secure in the knowledge that there won’t be any hidden charges, and that the price of any deductions has been decided upon fairly.
The best advice we can give tenants on moving into a new property is to take dated photographs. Not only do they serve as a reference point for your end-of-tenancy cleaning plans, but you will also have evidence to show the landlord if a dispute occurs. Remember, the deposit is the tenant’s money and if a landlord feels the need to claim any of it for a particular reason, it is very much their responsibility to justify the cost.
If you’re looking to rent a new property in the Cardiff area, our team of experienced lettings agents are here to help. Contact us at our Woodville Road or James Street branches today to speak to one of our experienced and friendly agents who will be happy to provide you with any assistance you may need in the search for your new home.