When your tenancy is coming to an end, there are some important things for you to remember as you prepare to leave. The following advice is designed to answer some frequently asked questions, which will hopefully ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible for you.
Moving home is a busy, exciting and sometimes stressful time, and with you understandably focussed on your new home it is all too easy to forget something important that could prove costly in terms of time, and a potential claim on your deposit. This guide also looks at the return of your deposit and what happens if there is a problem in reaching agreement on its apportionment.
No two tenancies are exactly the same, so please make reference to your own tenancy agreement as the following advice is general; we will however point out any areas which are particularly important.
What happens on the day I leave?
TRC will arrange for you to meet with an Inventory Clerk or the agent/ Landlord, to check the condition of the property against the check-in document, which was prepared at the start of the tenancy. Their report, known as the ‘Check-out Report’, will note any differences which, fair wear and tear aside, will form the basis of apportionment of the deposit.
You should have been given a copy of the ‘Check-in Report’ shortly after your tenancy started. TRC generally have an additional copy on file and, if required, can send you one in advance of your check out. In preparing to leave we advise that you check this document, to ensure that you
are returning the property in the same condition as you found it and do not for instance,inadvertently remove any of your landlords belongings.
Points to remember include:
Have any missing or broken items been replaced?
Have any blown light bulbs been replaced?
Have you reported any electrical items not in working order?
Have furniture/items been returned to their original position?
Have ALL your possessions been removed?
Has the property been professionally cleaned?
These are all things that you can put in hand easily and fairly cheaply prior to leaving, but could be expensive to rectify later. For example, under current health and safety legislation your landlord might have to use a contractor to replace any blown light bulbs, so a 50p light bulb you could have changed yourself, will turn into a costly call out charge against your deposit.
What happens to the keys?
Unless alternative arrangements have been made prior to check out, the Inventory Clerk will collect these at the check-out, after which you will be unable to re-enter the property to carry out further cleaning or to remove your belongings. With this in mind, ensure that you have vacated and cleaned the property (see below) prior to your appointment with the Inventory Clerk. Clerks are unable to check you out of a property that is not empty of your belongings or in the process of being cleaned; you will be responsible for the cancelled appointment and associated costs.
You must return all keys for the property, including those for post boxes and windows as well as security fobs and access remote controls; a list of those issued should be noted in the check-in document. Failure to return these on the day could result in the locks being changed at your
expense. Don’t leave checking this to the last minute and remember any keys held by a friend, neighbour or cleaner.
Should I have the property cleaned?
Yes - fair wear and tear aside, the property should be returned in the same condition as when it was handed over to you. Your landlord would normally have had the property professionally cleaned, and you should do the same. Please remember that cleaning to a good domestic standard is NOT the same as a professional clean. As there are more landlord and tenant disputes regarding cleaning than any other issue, we have included below a list of what you need to consider. A good professional cleaning company should know the standard that is expected.
What about the garden?
If you have a garden, patio, terrace or balcony with your property this will need to be cleaned, tidied and returned in seasonal order.
What about the transfer of utilities and forwarding post?
The Inventory Clerk will take meter readings at the end of the tenancy and either TRC , yourself or the managing agent will advise all your utility providers (Gas, Electric, Water) and the local authority of your last contractual day at the property. Please ensure you provide TRC with details of your utility providers and reference numbers, along with a forwarding address to which the final bills can be posted to.
Unfortunately BT (and other telephone and internet companies) tend not to accept third party instructions so they will have to be notified by you. Whilst advising them that you no longer require the line, it should not be disconnected as this will incur a re connection charge that will be
your responsibility.Please ensure that any cable, satellite and internet hardware not provided by your landlord is removed or collected prior to your departure, and any damage from installation or removal repaired.
If the property has oil, Calor Gas or septic tank drainage, please make reference to the Tenancy Agreement for your obligations to refill and empty.
Your managing agents, landlord and the new tenant will be unlikely to forward post to you so you may wish to arrange for your post to be redirected by the Royal Mail on http://www.royalmail.comfor periods of 1, 3, 6 and 12 months.
Do they automatically stop collecting rent?
No, it is therefore important that you cancel your Standing Order once your final rental payment has been made. Your letting agents or landlord will not be held responsible for any delay in recovering your money if you forget.
Can my landlord make deductions from the deposit without my approval?
Please check your Tenancy Agreement, but with the majority of tenancies this will not be possible.Letting agents usually hold any deposit as stakeholder so they cannot release the deposit to either you or your landlord, until you have both reached agreement on how it is to be apportioned. The majority of deposits are also registered with a government approved tenancy deposit scheme which stipulate how any deductions can be made.
How soon will I get my deposit back?
TRC will negotiate with your landlord to agree how the deposit is to be apportioned. Once agreement has been reached the stakeholders can usually arrange for payment to your nominated account within a few days. Please provide TRC with your bank details prior to your departure to ensure there are no unnecessary delays.
As a general guide, you will be advised within approximately ten days of the end of the tenancy, whether or not your landlord proposes to make any deductions from your deposit. As mentioned earlier, this figure is arrived at by using the Check-in and Check-out reports. Once both parties
have agreed the deductions in writing the stakeholders can arrange for funds to be released to your nominated account.
What if we cannot agree?
Under normal circumstances the amount not in dispute can be refunded in accordance with your joint instructions, leaving the stakeholders holding only the amount in dispute.Whilst you should make reference to your Tenancy Agreement, in the majority of cases your deposit will be protected under Tenancy Deposit Protection by a government-approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS).The Tenancy Agreement will confirm how you should proceed if you are disputing your landlord’s claim for damages, and TRC will offer help and advice. If agreement cannot be reached then either you or your landlord are free to refer the matter to the TDS - in most cases TRC will do this on your behalf. Once referred to the TDS, they will ask the stakeholders to transfer the disputed amount to them for the duration of the arbitration process or keep it separately. Once the TDS has concluded its investigations it will apportion the deposit accordingly. Both yours and your landlords statutory obligations to take legal action through the County Court is unaffected, but you should be aware that judges often take a dim view of a landlord or tenant
who chooses to breach the terms of the agreement by not using the independent arbitration provided by the TDS.
How much does the TDS charge me?
Providing the amount in dispute is not over £5,000 there is no charge. For amounts over £5,000, then providing both you and your landlord agree in writing, the TDS may accept the dispute for formal arbitration, the costs of which will be split between you depending on the award made by
Can TRC refer the matter to the TDS on my behalf?
Yes – TRC are happy to refer the matter to the TDS on your behalf and to provide you with advice and guidance as you go through the dispute process.
Where can I get advice?
If your deposit is protected by the TDS (The Dispute Service) further information is available on http://www.thedisputeservice.co.uk or by contacting them on 0300 037 1000 . Otherwise your local Citizens Advice Bureau will be able to assist.
If your deposit is protected by DPS (Deposit Protection scheme) further information is available on http://www.depositprotection.com or by contacting them on 0330 303 0030
If your deposit is protected by MyDeposits further information is available on http://www.mydeposits.co.uk or by contacting them on 0333 321 9401
TRC are well versed in this procedure, so are on hand to offer free advice at any time.
What if my deposit isn’t protected by the TDS? Please refer to your Tenancy Agreement as this should confirm your options in the event of a
dispute arising; this will normally be by another form of arbitration. TRC can provide you with any help and advice required.
Are disputes common?
The number of disputes referred to the TDS and the courts is low in comparison to those agreed
amicably. If followed, the steps outlined in this guide should help to reduce the chances of
problems arising and speed up the process of returning your deposit. TRC are experienced
negotiators and on the vast majority of occasions are able to agree a settlement acceptable to
Fair wear and tear aside, the property should be returned in the same condition it was handed
over to you, which includes having the property professionally cleaned. Remember to ensure that
all your belongings are removed from the property, including refuse, garden waste, unwanted
clothes and redundant furniture; otherwise you will be charged for their removal and disposal.
To help avoid problems later on, we have provided this checklist to confirm the areas which need
particular attention, all of which will be taken for granted by any reputable professional cleaner.
Please remember that cleaning to a good domestic standard is NOT the same as a professional
Light Bulbs - Replace all blown bulbs and lamps, including those illuminating work surfaces
Carpets - Vacuum and professionally clean, paying particular attention to edges and
Vinyl & Tiled Floors - Wash, polish and clean
Walls, Sockets & Light Switches - Dust and clean to remove scuffs, finger marks and
Coving - Remove cobwebs
Ceiling - Remove cobwebs
Paintwork - Clean and dust: skirting boards, architraves, picture rails, dado rails, door frames,
window frames and sills
Furniture - Clean and polish, including the inside of drawers and cabinets and return to its
Soft Furnishings - Wash/clean all covers and vacuum, including beneath cushions. For leather
upholstery wipe with a clean damp cloth and treat using leather nourishing cream, and NOT
Curtains, Pelmets, Blinds & Net Curtains - Vacuum, professionally launder/clean, press and rehang
Linen -Launder, press and fold neatly
Windows - Clean and polish inside and out, including between secondary glazing
Ceiling & Wall Lights - Clean, remove cobwebs (including shades) and replace blown bulbs
Units - Clean inside and out, including drawers and cupboards
Work Surfaces - Clean and polish
Sink Unit, Taps and Faucets - Remove all lime scale and water marks, clean and buff
Cooker/Stove - Clean and degrease including any grill pan & oven racks
Fridge & Freezer - Defrost, clean inside and out and deodorise. Switch off at mains and leave
Dishwasher/Washing Machine - Clean inside and out including: soap and fabric softener
drawer, filters and rubber seal. Run cleaning cycle to remove lime scale
Tumble Dryer - Clean inside and out ensuring filters and hoses are cleaned thoroughly
Microwave - Clean inside and out including turntable and grill (where applicable)
Extractor Fans & Cooker Hoods - Clean, degrease, replace filters and check operation of
working light, replacing the bulb if required
Crockery, China, Glassware & Utensils - Clean and have accessible for inventory check
Bath, WC, Bidet & Shower Cubicle - Remove all lime scale and water marks, clean and buff
Taps, Faucets & Fittings - Remove all lime scale and water marks, clean and buff
Visible Pipes - Clean, dust and polish where accessible
Shower Screens & Tiles - Remove all lime scale, mould and water marks and then polish
Mirrors & Glass - Clean and polish
Extractor Fans - Vacuum and wipe
Garage & Parking Space
These should be left clear of your possessions, cleaned and swept.
Garden, Patio, Terrace & Balcony
These should be cleaned, tidied and left in seasonal order.
Swimming Pool, Hot Tub & Sauna
Please refer to your Tenancy Agreement for your obligations.